Cautiously Optimistic About Truck Sales, Toyota Bumps Production

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In a move that signals optimism about the U.S. pickup truck and SUV market, Toyota (and by extension Lexus and Scion) plans to change its production levels of cars and trucks to reflect changes in consumer demand.

According to Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, Toyota's overall truck ratio was about 7 percent below the industry average five years ago, but it has climbed since then and now sits behind the industry average by only two points.

For some added perspective, Toyota Motor Corp. reported total U.S. sales of 2,499,313 vehicles in 2015, with cars representing 51 percent of that total versus 49 percent for light trucks. However, in December, truck share jumped to 53 percent according to Automotive News. In response to this trend, Toyota has decided to bump up its light-truck output for 2016 to 54 percent of the total vehicle mix, up from a flat 50 percent last year.

This means more shifts at the Texas assembly plant to build more pickups, as well as calling in more RAV4 crossovers from Canada and expanding the Indiana plant so it can produce 30,000 more Highlander SUVs. In fact, the percentage increase in Tacoma production when compared to 2012 sales data is up 21 percent year over year (2012 vs 2015); likewise, Tundra production (solely from the San Antonio plant) is up 15 percent in the same time period. 

And it's not just Toyota — Lexus is coming along for the ride as well, targeting an even larger truck mix than Toyota (55 percent to 54 percent).

Lentz cited a fear of the financial crises and potentially rising fuel prices as reasons for Toyota to be wary of this shift, but barring unforeseen circumstances it looks like Toyota is making the smart play here to meet an uptick in consumer desire for pickups and SUVs.

Cars.com image by Evan Sears

 

Comments

Still waiting for that beautiful Toyota diesel engine in the tundra, at least for the Canadian market where we are still paying 3.50 for gas!

Sure would be nice if they made the effort to make the rear of it have a smoother ride. I test drove a 2010 for 50 or so miles, it just kept bouncing.

After all, the Tundra is now the oldest truck in it's class, same thing since 2007. Sure, they changed the grille, the tailgate, the dash, and a small change to the engine, or engine control, to let it make it'start max torque 200 rpm sooner, or so.

Now that the Titan has been redone, time for Tundra to get redone.

Maybe they will consider something to make a 4x4 Tundra get 20 mpg. I don'the buy a truck for mileage, but if you look at all the competition....

Interesting how manufacturers still classify CUV's and SUV's as trucks. Goes to show how there are odd conflicting definitions of "trucks" in USA law.

Most of the shift has been in the CUV/SUV ranks. People are favouring small to midsized SUV/CUV over small to mid-sized cars.
The small truck class has seen a resurgence but that may be more a reflection of the increased interest in SUV's/CUV's. We haven't seen a drop in large truck sales to offset small truck sales.
I do suspect that many aren't expecting fuel prices to stay low. (Not that most small trucks offer a significant MPG advantage over larger trucks.)

They are only seeing a suv/cuv sales increase the trucks only increased .3% from 2014.

Great news for the people building these trucks. Bad news for Ford and Ram. Sure, the new F-150 is a success- but it has to be the most expensive truck to build because of the aluminum body. Meanwhile mid-size sales indicate an underserved U.S. market that only GM and Toyota are profiting from. I highly doubt that the F-150 sales increase from '14 to'15 made Ford as much money as 110k+ Colorado/Canyon sales made GM. What I don't understand is why Ford doesn't bring the Global Ranger here NOW. It would sell.

@ TRX-4 Tom:
I agree. Much like the RAM, only much worse; they need to update the truck, especially under the hood. I would actually look at a Tundra, if it would go on a diet and get better mileage. 15 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway is terrible now days. C'mon Toyota - get with it. RAM's guts are good, but an update to the exterior design and HEMI engine is due. As for the Titan, the non-XD version still hasn't been revealed, but it will be interesting to see what the V-6 and V-8 produce for efficiency in them.

@Andre
Where do you live in Canada? The price here in Ontario for gas is 086.9 per litre.

Toyota needs to get on board with a more relevant design i.e. lighter/stronger and less ugly if they want to compete anytime soon.

The problem confronting Toyota is similar or even marginally worse than that of Nissan.

The Big 2 and FCA have a larger range of vehicles to fit V8s into, even though the V8s are slowly dying off.

I wonder if the new 3.5 Tacoma V6 is able to manage a turbocharger? If so, it would be probably move a Tundra along.

It wouldn't be hard for Toyota to build a more efficient turbo engine than the Ford EcoThirst range either.

I do hear some comments regarding relatively thirsty Toyota V8. But do the Tundra's get 15.6mpg like the 2.7 EcoBoost?

I would like to see a Tundra XD fitted with the Cummins. This with Nissan's diesel XD would reduce the stranglehold the Big 3 have on the lighter HD market.

Frod with the lighter end of the F-250 SuperDutys would be the hardest hit, due to their commanding position in the SuperDuty SUV horse float set market.

Toyota is so impressive not relying on the profits from non car sales (trucks/suvs/cuvs). Its a strategy that has served them so very very well. In both good and bad times when gas was cheap or expensive, when the economy was up or down, when new emissions standards are coming... all those (what amounts to) excuses the Big 3 minus 1 always use and blame for their bad times Toyota just floats on top of using a "raft" of well made best in class/selling small cars sold for a profit (unlike the big 3 minus 1 who have to sell their inferior small cars at a loss and only make/sell them at all to meet federal emissions/mpg standards so they can sell profitable trucks/suvs that are always subject to economic/fuel price influence. What Toyota does isn't cool, it isn't sexy, it isn't awesome... its smart, and profitable and WORKS. And when you bank more yearly profit than the Big 3 minus 1 combined and aren't asking for a bailout to me that's cool... Keep playing it smart Toy its working and yea the Tundra could use some more work but not at the expense of your bread and butter.

The reason Toyota truck sales jumped in November and December was cause they were discounting Taco'sand Tundra's tremendusly to make room for the 2016's....b uddy just this week bought a 2015 loaded Tundra, sticker was $51K, for $42K and the dealer added a lift and big wheels....

Whether toyota redesigns or update the perfectly fine 5.7, they are profiting on every sale vs gm, ford and ram which are losing on sales. You don't need to sell the most to be the most profitable. Take note ford, gm and ram.

Ford quotes its base price for the 2016 F-150 as $25,299 and Chevy's 2016 Silverado is $26,895.

In fact, Brave Controls of Windsor, Ont., developed technology that allows Ford to stamp the aluminum parts for its aluminum-body F-150 more cheaply.

Without Brave's software development, Ford would have had to change all its equipment at its stamping plant in New York State, at a cost of $30 million. Instead, Brave tweaked the existed equipment for a total cost of $1 million.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/ford-motor-co-launches-aluminum-f150-raptor-1.3402393

Ford quotes its base price for the 2016 F-150 as $25,299 and Chevy's 2016 Silverado is $26,895.

In fact, Brave Controls of Windsor, Ont., developed technology that allows Ford to stamp the aluminum parts for its aluminum-body F-150 more cheaply.

Without Brave's software development, Ford would have had to change all its equipment at its stamping plant in New York State, at a cost of $30 million. Instead, Brave tweaked the existed equipment for a total cost of $1 million.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/ford-motor-co-launches-aluminum-f150-raptor-1.3402393

@Dan - he was converting to gallons. $3.50 per US gallon would be 92.5 cents/litre.

That is fairly accurate. Fuel was around 90c where I live and is now down to 87c/litre.

Amen to making updates to the Tundra. It is a good truck. But 12 MPG around town with no load?? Really??

A small diesel is probably asking too much of Toyota-but how about an enhanced 4.6 V8 with 15% better MPG-Oh- and improve that suspension.

@Clint, uh huh. True. Toyota makes money off of everything they sell. For GM, Ford, and FCA small and midsized cars are just loss-leaders to get people into pickups and SUV's.

Is Toyota Tundra the only pickup without the hideous front air dams found on other pickup brands? Maybe they should put the front dams on to gain a couple MPG's to satisfy those people who complain about gas milage on paper.

My 2007 Tundra has been very reliable and I wouldn't hesitate buying a new one if they would make significant changes. They have the money and technology but I believe their smart business strategy is preventing them from making big changes to the Tundra.

I hope I'm wrong because I've been wanting a new pickup. Test drove the F150 and GMC 1500. Both are nice but again not much better than what I already have so patietntly waiting.

Is Toyota Tundra the only pickup without the hideous front air dams found on other pickup brands? Maybe they should put the front dams on to gain a couple MPG's to satisfy those people who complain about gas milage on paper.

My 2007 Tundra has been very reliable and I wouldn't hesitate buying a new one if they would make significant changes. They have the money and technology but I believe their smart business strategy is preventing them from making big changes to the Tundra.

I hope I'm wrong because I've been wanting a new pickup. Test drove the F150 and GMC 1500. Both are nice but again not much better than what I already have so patietntly waiting.

Those are some NICE trails to visit, I wonder where this picture was taken.

Beautiful!!

Those are some NICE trails to visit, I wonder where this picture was taken.

Beautiful!!

Flashee,
It unfortunate that US pickups are needing the use of those airdams to improve mpg's.

I watched a video here by PUTC and it showed one of those new aluminium F-150's FX-4s on a muddy track. As soon as the mud reached the sidewalls the front airdam is bulldozing a path in front of the pickup.

I know someone will state you can remove the airdam, but what a horse's arse that would be.

blueman,
How much profit has Ford lost on each unit aluminium F-150 sold?

Just because Ford has reduced the cost of stamping (we don't even know how much per unit ie, 50c or $10?) doesn't mean lots is being made.

Don't forget the $10 billion Ford invested into these aluminium wonder trucks.

This is why the Ranger is not in the US yet and HDs are moving to aluminium with very little weight savings.

Ford need to recoup the massive resources it has invested into the aluminium F-150.

The end result is a pickup that is really no better than the competition as has been illustrated by a number of reviews now.

Even the oldest platformed 1/2 ton pickup, the Ram EcoDiesel has outperformed the aluminium EcoThirst F-150s.

This doesn't bode well to the consumer looking for a pickup.

Most pickups are car/SUV alternatives that never tow or load anywhere near their capability.

"but what a horse's arse that would be."

About the same as the one who made the comment. LOL

@ Big Al

Ford MGA F150 is still $1500 cheaper than Chevy. No Rocket science here. LOL


I do hear some comments regarding relatively thirsty Toyota V8. But do the Tundra's get 15.6mpg like the 2.7 EcoBoost?

Posted by: Big Al from Oz | Jan 21, 2016 12:10:48 PM

looks like you made it around 42 hours before you brought up the F150. Someone really has F150 on the brain. And I mean full time.

FYI the Tundra is in the low 14 mpg range. But I'm pretty sure you already knew that.


I know someone will state you can remove the airdam, but what a horse's arse that would be.

Posted by: Big Al from Oz | Jan 21, 2016 1:39:42 PM

I suppose it would be for someone that has no mechanical abilities. See statement above. Someone that cannot figure out lefty loosey, righty tightey. See statement above. Someone that gets offffff on kangaroo porne, see statement above. But for those with a small amount of mechanical ability they would easily grab an 8mm socket with a ratchet and remove the few bolts that hold the air dams on.

Lexus is mulling over building a Pickup based on the Toyota Hilux
http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/buy-lexus-pickup-truck-lexus-may-build-one/

I really can't see the US vehicle market, including the pickup market selling as many vehicles in 2016 as in 2015.

If Toyota ramp up Tundra production they might be sold at a more competitive price.

Toyota should be able to afford this, since the Tundra is getting on in age.

Toyota pick trucks are built for truck sissies, hence, men don't buy them.

Big Al,
I thinek the air dams make a difference with MPG gains. I don't think it was put on for cosmetics because most people will agree they look off in front of pickups unless you lower your pickup to make it a low rider.

My 5.7 V8 4x4 Crewmax used to get about 16mpg mixed driving stock. When I had a 2.5" spacer and 20" wheels with 305/55r20 E rated tires installed, my milage dropped to about 14.5mpg. It's does great towing my toyhauler with 2 full size 4wheelers and a small 250cc quad in the bed but my milage drops to 9mpg.

Towing our 20' Four Winns boat I get about 13mpg. With that said I have no complaints about mpg because my Tundra does what I need and with good power to keep at the speed limit pulling my toyhauler up the mountain pass to our camping destinations. When pulling the boat I hardly knew it was there.

Sure I would love for my pickup to get 20mpg+ and have the reliability and dependability to go with it. I'm an electrical engineer and we are always confronted with challenges in decision making of what we can and can not offer as far as features and performance in our product. Without ranting to much my point is no matter what people say here or anywhere else in other forums about Toyota they know how to make quality cars and pickups. Their business model is something other manufacturers are trying to emulate.

Flashee - agreed. Airdams are there for mpg. IIRC Ford found that they would save 0.5 mpg by adding a few inches to the front air dam.
I do agree that Toyota makes a great product. Unfortunately in BC where I live they tend not to flex on price and do not offer a crewcab 6.5 box.

@Lou

Oh ok makes sense now. Gas here now is 84.9 cents per litre. Should be alot less still with oil prices down so much

Think the big boys in Truckdom have little to fear from the bit players like Toyota ..
Many like me are still burned at the huge fail of suspension components that Toyota failed miserably at handling ..
Rust , broken leaf springs and crap mileage ....
I found my F-150 a much better truck than my two Toyolet trucks ...



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