Toyota's Truck Growth Hinges on Suppliers

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Unless Toyota can figure out a way to make the Tacoma's and Tundra's on-site suppliers more efficient and productive at the San Antonio assembly plant, it's going to have a hard time keeping up with demand for its pickup trucks.

According to Automotive News, 15 suppliers producing components for the all-new 2016 Tacoma and carryover Tundra can't keep up with production. That means the assembly plant can't make enough Toyota pickups to satisfy the national dealership body, and that's not making Toyota happy.

Toyota is hoping to increase production at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas plant to accommodate the strong demand for the 2016 Tacoma. Although sales of the full-size Tundra have been flat for the last few months, the new Tacoma is a hot seller, with double-digit year-over-year sales increases.

Tacomas are built in two locations (Texas and Mexico), and the production lines are running at full speed. Toyota, however, has already announced a planned increase in production as a result of running three shifts at the Mexico plant and adding some Saturday shifts to the San Antonio site. One of the unique features of the San Antonio plant is that Toyota has as many as 20 of its truck suppliers on-site, where they’re able to make any quality and quantity adjustments in real time.

We're guessing the key to whether we'll see more Tacomas from the plant rests in the hands of the 15 or so suppliers that will need to step up their game and reduce, if not eliminate, the bottlenecks. In the meantime, the new Tacoma is likely to continue being one of the fastest-selling pickups on the market (not unusual for an all-new model), likely motivating Toyota to push these supporting companies hard to come up with a solution. Toyota is hoping to get another 10,000 units from its San Antonio plant with a planned $26 million investment, which will include 200 additional employees.

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Nice problem to have... especially at a USA plant.

I just wish they would REALLY increase capacity and give us a 3/4 ton or 1 ton Tundra.

Man our enemy in the middle east must be really stocking up on those yota

Good news. They will solve it its jut an issue of when and how but glad they are doing well.

Must be great when your biggest competitor just hands you more business than you can produce.

Ford needs to bring the Ranger back to the U.S. market. They are depriving their customers a vehicle in this segment. To say there isn't demand for smaller pickups is just not true.

If you have been reading the UAW news you would know the Ranger is coming in 2019, production will be at the Michigan plant.

Ford didn't say there wasn't demand, they said there wasn't as much as there once was and they had to do other things first. It has everything to do with making a business decision where to spend your limited resources. In order to build a new vehicle some other project/vehicle doesn't get funded. Resources are always always always limited and you have to pick and choose.

Ford chose to do Transit Connect vans, Transit, new CUVs, new F-150, SD, first. It's about the money not the product. Bringing Transit and Transit Connect to NA did not require any new vehicles or platforms.

Every sale and every dollar of profit is a net increase with very little additional investment. By contrast Canyorado was significantly more expensive with a heavily modified platform and 2 tophats, with up to 50% cannibalization of other GM products and the loss of van sales on top of it.

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As AKC mentioned. Bringing the Ranger back to the US was not about demand.

Ford admitted that there is a demand, but didn't want to cannibalize F150 sales.

The UAW basically said if you shut down the plant we will sue you for millions. Ford basically decided to build the Ranger and risk building a vehicle with a smaller profit margin rather than deal with an angry UAW and spend millions in lawsuits due to breaching of their contracts.

Interestingly, no one knows what kind of Ranger will be built.

Could be related to the F100 they already completed

Could be related to the current international platform

Could be related to the international next gen midsized platform due by 2020

I'm thinking 2.0-2.3 liter eco-boost motors are a given... everything else is conjecture.

@HemroidV8, nobody cares and nobody will buy that crap anyways.

The F150 is barely edging the Silverado in sales even though they include everything from F150 to F750 as one vehicle. Even if the ranger canibalised a bit of the fseries sales, that is unacceptable to Ford. They like saying number one selling truck for fifty years in their commercials. They don't want to risk that line.

@mackintire, @Steve - I'd be more inclined to side with mackintire. Ford did not say there was no demand, they said that it didn't make sense to them to bring in a truck that was 9/10 the size of an F150.
When Ford made that decision all indications pointed in the direction of a small truck market in a state of contracture. In many respects that was due to a lack of R&D in the segment.

The UAW/Ford contract indicates that Ford will bring the global Ranger to the USA and will most likely offer a yet to be named Wrangler fighter based on the Ranger platform. Bronco is the name that keeps popping up. That won't occur until 2019/20. It sounds like they will base it on the next gen global Ranger as the current platform will be outdated by then.

Why bring the Ranger to the US to placate the UAW? Why not just convert it over to F-150 production since the F-150 is more profitable and since it is the Number 1 selling truck. If the Ranger is less profitable and Ford said they would not produce another midsize truck for North America because it is 9/10s the size of an F-150 then this makes no sense unless the Ranger is profitable. Doesn't appear GM is losing any money on the Colorado/Canyon and who is to say that every midsize truck buyer would buy a van or crossover if the Colorado/Canyon were not available. Why do some of you assume that people would not buy a midsize trucks? Seems like a midsize truck buyer would still buy a Tacoma or Frontier if no GM or Ford midsize trucks were not available. I am a midsize truck owner and I am not going to buy a van or crossover instead of a midsize truck. I would buy a Tacoma or a Frontier if no other midsize trucks were not available and I would not buy a full size pickup unless I needed and wanted one. My masculinity is not wrapped up in the size of a truck. I buy what I need and use--no more and no less.

If Ford is going to be true to their beliefs they should not make any cars except the Mustang and they should only make F series trucks, Expeditions, and Explorers in order to maximize profits. Seems like Ford is stepping back from their previous statements and beliefs by stating that they will produce a Ranger and Bronco. The largest growth segment in all vehicle sales is full size pickups, suvs, and all sizes of crossovers.

regarding the Wrangler fighter

"It sounds like they will base it on the next gen global Ranger as the current platform will be outdated by then."


Why should Ford worry about the Ranger having a touch of gray hair? The Wrangler is the very definition of old tech. It's a Jeep.

If you are taking the fight to Fiat via the Wrangler, it wouldn't seem necessary to bring your latest designs to the discussion. The Jeep platform dates back to the 1930s in terms of style and dates to the 1990s in terms of technology.

@papa jim - rumours are that the global Ranger is scheduled for a big update around the time the "Bronco" and Ranger gets released in North America. If that is the case it makes no sense to base those 2 products on an outgoing model. My belief is that the global Ranger and the NA Ranger with the Bronco are all being engineered and developed concomitantly. it would make no sense not to do all the R&D separately.

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