By on September 17, 2019

Image: Toyota

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas is slated to receive a $391 million investment earmarked for streamlined pickup production. The manufacturer wants to merge the Tacoma and Tundra models onto a common platform, something we’ve mentioned in the past, and Toyota’s Tuesday announcement solidifies those rumors.

The new platform is meant to make hybridization easier and provide the basis for the entirety of the automaker’s global truck line — including SUVs like the Sequoia.

As part of Toyota’s civil commitment to San Antonio, the manufacturer also announced Alamo Promise will receive a $500,000 donation over a five-year period. Alamo Promise’s stated mission is to end poverty, improve economic and social mobility, and meet workforce demands throughout the city by paying for local residents to attend colleges and trade schools.

Including the most recent investment promise, Toyota Motor North America says it has spent over $3 billion on its San Antonio truck plant. The manufacturer believes the changes will help minimize complexity for trucks and make the facility more flexible, allowing it to adapt production to better suit consumer demand. Utilization of the new platform (internally dubbed F1) is anticipated to begin with the 2022 Toyota Tundra, starting in 2021. Tacoma is supposed to follow suit a year or so afterward.

It’s probably a wise move for the now-ancient Tundra but what it means for Toyota’s fleet as a whole is unclear. Presumably more hybridization, though that’s about the only thing we can count on with such limited details. Expect more info to trickle out over the next twelve months, with the Tundra gradually assuming its new shape for the 2022 model year.

[Image: Toyota]

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41 Comments on “Toyota Sets Aside $391 Million for Texas-made Pickups...”


  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    “Including the most recent investment promise, Toyota Motor North America says it has spent over $3 billion on its San Antonio truck plant.”

    This isn’t just a ‘good’ thing, it’s a GREAT thing!

    And I hope that Toyota will keep that magnificent all-aluminum 32-valve DOHC 5.7L V8 around for a long, long time.

    But again, politics could rear its ugly head, depending on the outcome of next year’s national election. As great as things are now, all that can change at the ballot box in a New York minute.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    When I read the headline, I expected the article to be about setting aside money for a recall….. but then I realized this is Toyota we’re talking about.

    “As part of Toyota’s civil commitment to San Antonio, the manufacturer also announced Alamo Promise will receive a $500,000 donation over a five-year period. Alamo Promise’s stated mission is to end poverty, improve economic and social mobility, and meet workforce demands throughout the city by paying for local residents to attend colleges and trade schools.”

    This is a nice touch too, I thought. Toyota really makes an effort to be good for the communities they’re located in.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Both the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma have glaring problems.

    1st pricing is screwed up on the Tacoma, I’d tried my hardest to find a near base Tacoma, only options I wanted were 4WD and rear jump seats in the half cab… $30k. What in the hell?

    Toyota needs an updated V8 stat, the Tacoma’s 3.5L is a huge let down from the 4.0L and the 5.7L has cost them some sales from fuel economy concerns. The idea of no V8 is ridiculous, a huge percent of trucks in this country sell based on how good of a V8 they have. Losing the V8 has essentially destroyed the LS series reputation, I’m expecting similar results if some I’ll-advised decision was made to drop it.

    Quality issues in the Tacoma are unacceptable, paint quality, engine issues, plastic bumpers!!!!, and other issues are a real turn off.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      I think a lot more truck folks would consider a Tundra with the 5.7 and identical power levels if it gained a few highway and city mpg’s. Maybe a new eight speed, higher gearing and some engine tuning will solve the MPG problem.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Jon, people who choose to buy Tundra don’t care about fuel economy. I have owned three of those 5.7L V8s, put a lot of miles on all three, and never gave a second thought to fuel economy or mpg.

        Tundra and Titan exist for buyers who simply will not go back to Ford, GM or RAM.

        And every Tundra or Titan sold is one sale lost to Ford, or GM or RAM.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          It would be super easy to improve the 5.7’s fuel economy by grafting on some of the tech from the closely related 4.6 and 5.0 V8s used in Lexus passenger cars. They have dual injection and VVT, and I can confirm from personal experience owning both that the 4.6 is a good deal thriftier than the 5.7 even under similar heavy load.

          But Toyota seems to agree with you that the buyers don’t care enough to justify the cost.

        • 0 avatar
          scottcom36

          You may be right that buyers don’t care about the MPGs, but plenty of people who DON’T buy Tundras list fuel economy as a reason. It’s one of the reasons the Tundra is an also-ran in the market.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          @ Mr. Cat
          Agree 100%. Ill add that some folks who choose NOT to buy the tundra MAY care about fuel economy in trucks (whether that’s right or wrong is a different debate). Maybe Toyota could win a few of those folks over by improving the mpg’s.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Jon, I’m being selfish when I advocate for a continued Tundra and Sequoia with the 5.7L.

            But the harsh reality is that future pickup trucks are going to go the way of the Ford F150 and Expedion MAX, lighter, smaller more fuel efficient engines, and more modern electronic engine management.

            Several things are driving this even though President Trump has announced today that he is revoking California’s waiver to set their own emissions standards; a good thing for new car buyers in America.

            Car sales in Europe for Aug 2019 have taken a dump, down 8.4%, and EVs down more than that.

            Our traveling schedule doesn’t allow for me buying our ‘last’ vehicles at this time because we want to travel while we still can.

            But when I finally do stay “close to home” so to speak and limit traveling to distances within reasonable driving range, I hope I still am able to purchase the vehicles we want.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            @ cat
            Maybe you can advise me since you have owned several tundras. I am looking for a used tundra for a friend. He needs it for camping (towing 6000lbs) and for work around the house. I found a used fleet 2007 tundra at auction with 70k. Anything i should know this model year? Anything i should look out for or avoid on the latest model (07-current)?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Jon, my experiences with buying anything used have been bad experiences, so I only buy new, since 1988, which included my 2011 Tundra DoubleCab SR5 2WD LongBed, 2016 4dr 4×4 SR5 ShortBed with TRD pkg, and my wife’s 2016 Sequoia 4×4 Limited.

            But essentially the Tundra of today is unchanged from their 2007 Tundra, same engine, same tranny, same brakes, same 10.5″ ring gear – much of it from Hino. Beefy for its day, copied by all me-toos.

            People I met who owned a Tundra told me that their Tundra actually increased in value while they owned it because Toyota raised the price of the Tundra with each successive year, without playing the bling game like Ford, GM or RAM.

            Downside is, Tundra is expensive, without much money on the hood, new. Like that pizza commercial, “Better ingredients, better pizza!”

            Several contractors in my area took a gamble and walked away from Ford, GM and RAM, and put their money on a Tundra – like I did in 2011 as a contractor.

            I have not heard one bad thing from any of them. But then again, these buyers, like thousands of others who buy or have bought a Tundra are not concerned with fuel efficiency or mpg.

            Tundra is one thirsty critter – I was lucky to get 6mpg towing a flatbed trailer loaded with bricks and construction materials, and 12mpg without, empty.

            There are several Tundra online communities you can visit to get more ownership experience commentary; try MSN-Auto, Yahoo-Auto, Pickup trucks dot com, Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, cars dot com, etc.

            One noteworthy observation is that during my ownership of the 5.7L Tundra/Sequoia, I never went back to the dealership for warranty repair or maintenance once I drove off the lot.

            For me, owning the Tundra-line was a great ownership experience, especially after my 1988 Silverado, 1996 RAM Cummins, and 2006 F150.

            I ain’t ever goin’ back there again…..

            I may buy a Rivian to scoot around in locally, but for long distance driving it will be another 5.7L Sequoia. For sure.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “I’d tried my hardest to find a near base Tacoma, only options I wanted were 4WD and rear jump seats in the half cab… $30k.”

      I don’t know how you feel about the Nissan Frontier, but I know a couple of old codgers who recently bought them one each instead of a new Tacoma. Price and availability was what drove them away from Tacoma.

      If you’re interested, visit

      nissanoflascruces.com

      Both guys bought a 4-door Frontier SV Longbed, but the dealership had “near-base” with 4wd in KingCab as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Can’t get the Frontier with 4wd and a 4 cylinder, that’s where I looked first since it would be replacing a 99 Frontier that’s been in and out of my hands for most of its life. Ideally I would want a 4wd 4 cylinder extended cab with rear jump seats and manual trans. Apparently that combo is not offered anywhere though.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I understand. Maybe Nissan has dropped/discontinued previous offerings.

          I don’t know enough about Nissan to remember what they were offering in the past.

          I do remember a Navy Corpsman telling me he had an 80’s or 90’s KingCab with a gutsy I4 that had 8 plugs, like the Mazda/Ford B2300.

          When he had worn the truck out commuting to/from work he found out that Nissan had replaced it with some gutless V6 that wheezed when he got on the go-pedal.

          He ended up switching to a Tacoma V6 4dr 4×4 very similar to the one my son owned at that time.

          I don’t think there is anything on the US market today that would fit your requirements, probably because there’s not enough money in it to make it profitable for the OEM and the dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        A friend of mine is a fan of Nissan and the transmission in his Frontier grenaded at 40k miles. I’ll stick with a Tacoma, thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “the transmission in his Frontier grenaded”

          A problem if it happens after the factory warranty expires. Expensive, but most transmission places can rebuild it.

          Way back in 2011 a lady friend of ours had the CVT in her Murano become unresponsive for the second time, this time out of warranty. No one could rebuild it because Nissan was the only supplier of that JATCO CVT.

          She bought a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with the 5.7L V8 to replace it, and sold the Murano as-is to someone who parted it out.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      What exactly is the problem with the 3.5L? I rented a newish Tacoma with 3.5L for about a week on the trail and the engine seemed fine. I think it’s a corporate v6 that replaces the old thirsty 4.0L.

      • 0 avatar
        salmonmigration

        Pete, people seem to think the 3.5L auto drivetrain is poorly tuned. It does surge and lag a lot and at random times over the RPM range.

        It also doesn’t have as much power down low as the 4.0 did.

        Actually from seeing fuel maps posted on Tacoma forums it’s pretty obvious Toyota didn’t do a lot of development on the tuning for this motor for the Tacoma application. Kinda seems like they ripped it out of the Sienna and said “here’s a motor and two weeks, post a 2mpg gain on EPA testing”.

        With the manual transmission it’s a little odd but it has more power and is more efficient than the 4.0.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    So, the question is … Tuncoma or Tacondra?

  • avatar
    AVT

    I was surprised to see that a Toyota Sequoia was still on the table for a new model. But it makes sense considering they sell a lot of those in UAE and Africa and surprisingly in Russia. Toyota will have to address the engine issue. The question is, whatever they replace it with, will they be able to maintain the epic reputation of engine reliability these current models enjoy. While still trying to improve the MPG. That will determine just how many of these end up being sold.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I didn’t know the Sequoia sold outside of the US? Honestly I just wish they would offer a cheaper Land Cruiser with solid axles and drop the Sequoia altogether.

      • 0 avatar
        AVT

        Well they sell enough land cruiser’s overseas that the market in the US is really just a side thought. Toyota figures just keep selling them since even though its low volume, they only give us the premium version of it so they makes lot a money doing it. Though its a drop in the bucket compared to world wide sales. I do like the sequoia and I do hope they make an updated version that really competes well with the expedition and suburban. I think toyota could really gain a lot by doing that as their are lots of people in the market for big BOF suvs but don’t buy the sequoia due to how old and inefficient it is. Updating to a modern standard could really give them a good crack at the market.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    What about Toyota’s “civil commitment” to Tijuana? Merging the two is a great move, but it’ll obviously include lots of compromises. Don’t you remember the time you had to share clothes with your chubby younger brother? The spatial orientation of the steering, fuel tank, brake master, firewall, motor mounts, etc, will be shared.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Texas + Toyota pu truck = cowboy kamikaze

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    I think this is another very smart decision from Toyota and if a common truck platform enjoys half the success of their TNGA architecture they’ll be in good shape.

    I don’t believe for one second that Toyota ever expects to sell as many full sized pickups as Detroit. However I do believe they still want to make the Tundra (and Tacoma) a much better truck.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s not that Toyota doesn’t expect to, but they definitely don’t want to do what “Detroit” does. Like catering to fleets, offering virtually endless configurations/combinations, and with huge money on the hood.

      A lot of it would go against their core mission. Toyota is happy just to sell you a Tundra no different than they would a Camry, and I think they want to keep it that way.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        It would be interesting for someone to post a mathematical comparison of how many F150 configurations there are (cabs/beds/engines/4×2/4×4/trim packages) and how many Tundra configurations there are.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I think you can get a Camry in more configurations than the Tundra. First they’d offer models/engines/axle ratios with much improved fuel economy. Except even just offering those can’t be cheap, meaning they’d have to sell a lot of them just to break even.

          It appears they settled on the sweet-spot and it would take tremendous investing just to get to the next level.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Wait a moment, don’t Nissan already have a big and a small truck on the same platform? I do not see them enjoying a lot of success in this.

  • avatar
    cgeorgan

    Count me in as one who has held off on a Tundra due to fuel economy issues. I came off an ’08 LS with (basically) the same engine, returning about 24-25 mpg on mostly highway driving. Moved up to a GMC Sierra with the 6.2 and still manage 22 mpg (mostly highway). Both use premium. Losing 5-7 mpg for less power and about the same reliability isn’t really a value proposition IMHO, even when considering the differential between premium and regular fuel.


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