Toyota: Discontinued Regular Cabs Equals Missed Opportunity

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 7.48.54 AM IIToyota recently announced it would discontinue offering the regular-cab option for the current-generation Tundra pickup truck for the 2018 model year. Toyota can always change course, but this decision looks like it was a no-brainer. According our sources at Toyota, the take rate for regular cabs through the first five months of 2017 was just 0.4 percent of the total Tundra sales mix; double-cab sales accounted for 34.1 percent and CrewMax for 65.5 percent.

Let that sink in for a minute.

That means that so far this year, Toyota has sold less than 200 regular-cab pickups. Of course, for the last several years (since 2013) Toyota has only offered a long-bed work truck with its regular cabs for price-conscious fleet buyers. Although it's easy to understand this as a strictly financial decision, we think this is a huge missed opportunity. We understand every manufacturer must deal with keeping or eliminating their low-profit regular cabs — we've even shared our thoughts over the years about the issue here — but we're still sad to see this version of the Tundra go.

Although it has not been offered for a while, the regular-cab two-wheel-drive standard-bed Tundra with the all-aluminum, 32-valve 5.7-liter V-8 was a perfect platform for a street-friendly TRD-dressed sport truck, ready to crush Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and the entire lineup of Subarus.

If TRD can put massive sway bars, and big wheels and tires on a 2018 Tundra and call it a "TRD Sport," then it certainly could have created a better, more clearly defined street player on the smaller 126-inch wheelbase Tundra when available. But instead, now we will have the Tundra TRD Sport that will likely sell well and be a weird hybrid between a stout street performer and a pretend off-roader.

Everywhere else in the Toyota truck lineup, TRD connotes strong 4x4 off-roading credentials. With the advent of the 2018 Tundra TRD Sport, that's no longer so.

At best, this is a mixed message. We think Toyota should do better. We admit our minds could change once we get some seat time behind the wheel of the new Tundra TRD Sport, but until then we're fine noting what we saw at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. More to come.

Manufacturer images

 

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Comments

Not sure who wrote this, but this article is flawed. First, as a Tundra fan, a RCSB 5.7 Tundra will not smoke newer Mustang/Camaro's or the STI Subaru's.

Secondly, the Toyota Texas truck plant is running over 100% capacity running overtime to keep up with demand. From a business perspective, why would I waste resources and time building a model that has a 0.4% take rate?

This is another lazy article and a cheap shot at the Tundra... The article as it is written makes zero sense. Toyota should make a poor business decision simply to produce a RCSB TRD Sport performance truck that will probably sell 250 units annually? Seems pretty stupid.

Maybe if the plant wasn't running at full capacity with overtime they would build these low volume models.

@Jim

Disagree, but I take your point.

Instead I ask, why has Toyota been so passively engaged with the North American truck market for so damned long. Their Tacoma sales numbers are fine, but the Tundra is a joke.

The Tacoma also has bigger challenges coming in the mid size space once Ford and RAM re-enter that market.

In the meantime, I'm not expecting much from Toyota in regard to pickups of any kind. I'm not sure they were ever expecing big things; their whole approach to pickups seems to be a strategy of simply responding exclusively to dealer demand.

Tap...Tap...Tap... discontinued SC program, discontinued TRD Pro..waning sales year over year...Same drive train since '07...

I get the impression that Toyota wants to appeal to the non-truck users...

Tap...Tap...Tap... discontinued SC program, discontinued TRD Pro..waning sales year over year...Same drive train since '07...

I get the impression that Toyota wants to appeal to the non-truck users...

This proves that the Japanese truck manufacturers can't crack the nut that is the American commercial truck market.

An interesting conundrum indeed. The Tundra faithful see this model as a logical answer to the US trucks based on their notions about brand [i.e., they think it's a better vehicle]. Yet, it's not a practical answer [i.e., nobody buys Tundras for fleet use]. A niche such as this will never sell more than 125k units per year [and that's a good year].

What is the answer? Do what Ford does well: focus on work-performance-oriented marketing. Quantify why the Tundra is a smart business choice.

It's a missed opportunity because the Tundra was supposed to be the truck that changed it all but Toyota couldn't figure out how to do a proper work truck. The 100% capacity and selling out line usually comes from people trying to excuse low sales while other truck sales are surging. I remember when Toyota had a goal of selling 200k of these a year.

@papajim Well from a business perspective, if I am selling every truck I produce from a plant, running over capacity already, I have no incentive to do upgrades to the truck(s) being produced that will interrupt the assembly line.

Retooling a plant would require production to stop, which now has reduced the amount of truck(s) I can produce.

I guess Toyota could move the Tacoma production back to Mexico while they retool the San Antonio Plant, but the San Antonio is the only plant that produces the Tundra.

Toyota was able to sell 200k units because production for the Tundra was done in Indiana and Texas before they consolidated the production to solely Texas.

I'm not arguing that the Tundra has not changed much, it just seems silly for any manufacture to produce low take rate vehicles when a plant is running at full capacity.

I would make this same argument for any brand (not just Toyota), if the big 3 are running over 100% production why would you waste space on the assembly line to produce a vehicle with a 0.4% take rate and a low profit-margin truck at that?

They are not selling all the trucks they can. This is a lie.

@Don has no clue

It amazes me the amount of people that hate on the Tundra.

But what truly is more amazing, is the fact that Toyota can sell 120k 10+ year old trucks with little to no cash on the hood.

Tundras are $10k off near me.

, 32-valve 5.7-liter V-8 was a perfect platform for a street-friendly TRD-dressed sport truck, ready to crush Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and the entire lineup of Subarus.
/QUOTE

Now thats damn funny,dood!!!
only silly riceboy could post such nonsense

http://riceboypage.com

@Jim

When the current generation Tundra hit the market (2006? 2007?) it was the class of the field. Awesome 5.7 V8 power and six speed auto. GM and Ford had nothing on the Tundra back then.

Then they sat on their laurels for ten years. Huh?

They pay a lot to run in the Nascar Cup series. For what?

Is it that they made very few, hince did not sell many or they made a lot and they sat on the lot?
Best looking truck is a regular cab short bed, no matter what the make.

Is it that they made very few, hince did not sell many or they made a lot and they sat on the lot?
Best looking truck is a regular cab short bed, no matter what the make.

What is the answer? Do what Ford does well: focus on work-performance-oriented marketing. Quantify why the Tundra is a smart business choice.

Posted by: redbloodedxy | Jun 19, 2017 3:38:11 PM

Agreed, Ford's marketing is second to none, if only they could spend more money on engineering a better product.

Tundra isn't all that. If they could sell 100k+ more they would and if production was an issue they would fix it. Period.

Regular cab pickups are the domain of single guys or old guys and fleets. The Tundra does not stand a hope in hell of competing with Ford, GM, or FCA in the fleet market. That leaves single guys and old guys. The domestics easily undercut Toyota with discounts so it is a forgone conclusion that the continuation of this product is a waste of Toyota's time.

@Lou_BC,

Toyota competes plenty in the fleet market, this isn’t the 70’s!

Any contractor worth his salt isn’t driving a regular cab!

People who want quality will get a Toyota!

And the people who don’t know any better can continue to be delusional and continue with the big 3!

Get that through your thick scull!

I agree with off-road king...

Lou doesn't have a clue!

About the comment that the TRD sport is some kind of weird in between model that uses the nomenclature incorrectly, I just want to point out that it actually now better matches the Tacoma lineup. They now both have a TRD Off road model and a TRD Sport model. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe both Sport models come with more street oriented tires and suspension. Plus the Tundra will include the sway bars.

Toy makers move makes sense although I agree single cab trucks are better looking than cab & crew.

Agreed, Ford's marketing is second to none,

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Jun 19, 2017 4:49:41 PM

@ GMSUCKS; for once I agree with you - so I suppose now you're wishing shaky GOVT motors copy/learn from Ford's marketing strategies too??!!:-))...hey they mind as well, they've being copying Ford for the next shaky twins...LOL!!

Keep following the leader....for 41 yrs & counting...HHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

"Any contractor worth his salt isn’t driving a regular cab!"

Thanks for proving my point.

Toyota always seems to make careful decisions, not bold or radical, in this case they found their niche and are sticking with it and it's paying off for them. However fleet buyers consist of a large portion of truck buyers and Toyota could easily capitalize on their reputation for build quality and longevity (real or perceived) if they really wanted to. Like it or not, and whether or not you agree that Toyotas are well-built and run forever, you can't deny that a lot of other people believe it and are loyal brand customers because of it. I'm personally not that impressed with Toyotas and don't think they are the be-all-end-all unbreakable vehicles that others claim, but the perception is real for many.

I don't know whether or not the San Antonio plant is at full-capacity. Quite frankly I don't care. However if Toyota did have the capacity to build more trucks they could easily crank out work trucks with the next model update that hopefully has a little better economy, toss in better springs for more payload and a few accessories that make for good soundbites and they would practically sell themselves with a half-hearted ad campaign. Don't even bother making the price competitive, people already gladly fork over money for them so quickly they hardly stay on the lot.

@BD - Toyota needs to build a 3/4 ton and/or 1 ton pickup. I've talked to quite a few guys who sold their Tundra's because they wanted or needed a HD pickup.

I had a gen1 Tundra regular cab- great truck for light work. Paid less than 15 grand, new off the lot. Drove WAY better than the contemporary domestics, but those came a long way soon after. The rear springs were useless for a long box.
@redboodedxy- The Japanese are coming into the American commercial market via the MD segment. Isuzu and NPR have been here forever and recently, I see Hino trucks everywhere. I think you're onto something with marketing- convincing the American fleet buyer that their trucks offer value (in longer life cycle, more uptime, safety features yielding lower insurance... whatever they can come up with) has been a missed opportunity. MB beats that drum with their vans, making it clear that there are difference deyond the sticker price.

@off-road king- fleet =/= contractor.

I had a gen1 Tundra regular cab- great truck for light work. Paid less than 15 grand, new off the lot. Drove WAY better than the contemporary domestics, but those came a long way soon after. The rear springs were useless for a long box.
@redboodedxy- The Japanese are coming into the American commercial market via the MD segment. Isuzu and NPR have been here forever and recently, I see Hino trucks everywhere. I think you're onto something with marketing- convincing the American fleet buyer that their trucks offer value (in longer life cycle, more uptime, safety features yielding lower insurance... whatever they can come up with) has been a missed opportunity. MB beats that drum with their vans, making it clear that there are difference deyond the sticker price.

@off-road king- fleet =/= contractor.

Pickups aren't everything to Toyota like they are to Ford. They are simply another vehicle. If the F150 were to go away Ford would be out of business not so for Toyota so they don't spend as much money on redesigns and gadgets. They simply build a reliable truck.

Pickup trucks are the best selling vehicle class in the USA, hands down. Toyota had every intent to aggressively competing back in '07. What happened Toyota? Why the change Toyota? It would be good to see an article explaining why.

Yes, get rid of the single cab and bring the crew max with a 6.5' box instead!

Yes, get rid of the single cab and bring the crew max with a 6.5' box instead!

@NoQDRTundra- I think upper management at Toyota got burned in 09 and ordered a much more conservative (small capacity, limited investment) approach.
@PainfulWhale- agree completely. At least when it gets overhauled in a few years, they need to add that configuration, along with a small bump in GVW- no 3/4 ton wannabe, but an honest 2000#, so you can split it between tongue weight and cargo.

Toyota doesn't even need the Tundra, and every Tundra sold is lost sale for the big 3 minus 1. Toyota always plays slow, and long term. Their strategies are global, cautious and plodding. Toy has cash reserves the big 3 minus 1 dream of. Toy doesn't boom and bust... it chugs along... through good and more importantly the always coming and sometimes happening bad times. They do this not with the Tundra but with consistent excellence in small and midsized cars sold at a profit. Toy doesn't sink when CAFE rises, the dollar gets weaker or stronger, the US economy falls. Central to that theme/focus is not being dependent upon the extremely competitive extremely volatile and extremely vulnerable full size truck market. The beauty of the Tundra is that Toy doesn't even need it. If it makes money that's fine. If it keeps a toe hold and inches its way into the full size market that's fine. If that takes decades, that's fine. If its nothing but a catcher/alternative for the numerous people burned by the big 3 minus 1 through they years who actually learn from their mistakes and seek out a viable alternative that's fine. Toy doesn't care about fleet sales. Businesses, Old and young men are the only ones interested in regular cab pickups. Sounds like the right decision to me. As far as making excitement? Well toy does fine without anything really exciting. No 2 door high performance sports cars for decades, no halo car (yea they got some lexus stuff but you wont find anything in a toy store), no Rator... Just solid real world stuff for everyone that sells in good and bad times.

Here's are my reasons for why the Tundra TRD Pro and Regular cab are no longer.
1) Simply assembly to raise QDR. It's no secret that both trucks have had the share of problems.
The most expensive being multi-generational frame rust that has cost a few billion.
The new Tacoma has new problems, and the Tundra has had the greatest share of problems for any Toyota vehicle.

2) Toyota no longer cares to attract true truck users. Look at the change in marketing between '07 and the last several years.
Remember Killer Heat, Pendulum, etc.? Do a google search for '2007 Toyota Tundra Television Ads' and follow the like to Youtube;
Take note of the publisher--blast from the past!

3) Akio is a car guy. When the Lexus was described as being boring, he took it personally; here's the quote from a Forbes article:
“you had some very good questions and candid comments for me about Lexus,” he told the overflow crowd in Detroit.
“Actually, I happen to have a few with me. Here’s a good one: ‘My impression is that Lexus cars are well made but boring to drive.’
Here’s another: ‘Lexus should clearly define their brand.’
And finally: ‘Lexus is at a crossroads.’”
Toyoda, grandson of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda, said he took direct responsibility for the brand after that.
Peering at the audience from behind black-rimmed glasses that are quickly becoming his signature (despite protests from the people who manage his wardrobe), he said,
“I was determined to make sure we became a more emotional brand and that the words ‘boring’ and ‘Lexus’ never showed up in the same sentence again.”

Do you think he feels the same way about the US light truck market?

In addition to this, he likes to race cars.


@PUTC: With Toyota's change in direction for the Tundra, it's more fitting to state it's a blown opportunity.

"Yes, get rid of the single cab and bring the crew max with a 6.5' box instead!" -Painful Whale

I agree with the Crew Max 6.5' box option.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2483/3616979599_9c345060f6_b.jpg

"ready to crush Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and the entire lineup of Subarus."

Lol! What garbage. Content around here has been going down the tubes.

"ready to crush Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and the entire lineup of Subarus."

Lol! What garbage. Content around here has been going down the tubes.

@Liam: There's an interview with MS where he answers questions and one of them happens to be about the 6 1/2 ft bed for the crew max. Do a google search for "Q&A With Toyota Tundra Chief Engineer Mike Sweers – Video"

The video is about 12 1/2 minutes long.

Go BIG or go HOME!

"ready to crush Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and the entire lineup of Subarus."

Lol! What garbage. Content around here has been going down the tubes.


Posted by: lolwut | Jun 20, 2017 10:50:34 AM

I think their refering to the supercharged model. NOTICE they didn't mention DODGE. lol

Doesn't no fleet manager want to give hired drivers a brand new Tundra. Have you seen the way hired drivers treat their trucks? Just give them a Ford and let them trash it. It would be a shame to waste a new Tundra on hired drivers that only destroy trucks. A Tundra is a truck for private owners. You know those who use their trucks personally for commuting, hauling, towing. Not some dumb kid showing off for his buddies doing burnouts and jumps with his new company truck. That's what a Ford's for. Don't get me wrong. It is a shame to waste a perfectly good truck on fleet drivers but at least a Ford with it's high depreciation rate isn't even going to be worth anything by the time the warranty expires. Fords are built for fleets. They use them for a couple years and a hundred thousand miles. Then the companies lease a new fleet to destroy.
A trashed fleet Tundra is a huge loss for leasing companies because their resale value is a lot higher. They would too much money at the end of a lease cycle because they would be left with this high value truck that's worthless after a couple years of fleet use.
But hey at least the Fords are tough and durable enough to withstand the abuse and neglect.

With the short snub noise front engine compartment (see Liam's link above), bring the crew max 6.5', and make less than 235" for a garage. Discontinuing the regular cab, for a crew max 6.5', might be a very wise strategic move for the next 10years.

TundraQuad: 34.7” rear legroom, 6.5', 228.9” overall.
6" more rear legroom might still fit in a 235" garage.

Anything could crush a Ford Mustang, their slow and ways broke.

I would not have said the Tundra Sport is a pretend off roader when its more capable than a Z71 that this magazine rants and raves about in off road reviews. The Sport will more closely match the Ram lineup and GM lineup. This should be a full on praise of glory to this article considering the approval rate on GM trucks.

I do agree the Tundra has to do better but so does everyone else. Trucks have just been boring since 2002. Nothing has changed other than eco boost and air ride. What happened to 4 wheel steering and ride control. Where is battery assist. Where is the generator battery truck so we can get rid of rpm laden engines and get superior traction, ground clearance, mpg, and power from a superior powertrain like electric motors.

Its not just Toyota that is selling junk. Everyone is selling junk except Workhorse and Bollinger. These are true advancements. Not perfect but at least its progress and not the same crap thats fed to us tear in and year out.

@Papa Jim: "The Tacoma also has bigger challenges coming in the mid size space once Ford and RAM re-enter that market."

Speaking of that, while Ford has definitely stated they're bringing the Ranger back, all I can get from anyone at FCA is, "We can neither confirm nor deny that (x-sized) pickup is in the works."

@Papa Jim: "The Tacoma also has bigger challenges coming in the mid size space once Ford and RAM re-enter that market."

Speaking of that, while Ford has definitely stated they're bringing the Ranger back, all I can get from anyone at FCA is, "We can neither confirm nor deny that (x-sized) pickup is in the works."

"They are not selling all the trucks they can. This is a lie."
---- Posted by: Don | Jun 19, 2017 4:02:00 PM

There's a difference between "selling all the trucks they can," vs "selling all the trucks they build."

"They are not selling all the trucks they can. This is a lie."
---- Posted by: Don | Jun 19, 2017 4:02:00 PM

There's a difference between "selling all the trucks they can," vs "selling all the trucks they build."

Note to all: Do NOT hit 'Post' a second time just because it looks like it didn't take. That's what's causing the double-posting.



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