Toyota Creates a Triple Threat to Keep Tacoma on Top

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Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Toyota Tacoma has been crushing the mid-size pickup truck class — for several years — in monthly and year-to-date sales. In fact, Toyota is on track to sell more than 200,000 Tacomas by year end, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

In 2017 the Tacoma was the class leader with a 44 percent market share grab and for 2018, so far, that number is 45 percent in a mid-size field that's likely to grow and certain to receive a lot of attention during the next 12 months as more trucks join the class.

According to Automotive News (subscription required), Toyota has big sales plans for the new 2020 Tacoma, using three factories to supply the almost-unquenchable consumer demand for the truck. So far this year, Toyota is selling an average of 20,000 mid-size pickups every month, that's a little less than double the Chevrolet Colorado, its nearest competitor. Toyota has been doing this by squeezing as much capacity as possible out of its main U.S. truck plant in San Antonio and making incremental upgrades during the last few years to its secondary plant in Tijuana, Mexico. But by next year, Toyota will bring online a whole new plant with a capacity to build about 100,000 pickups in the Mexican state of Guanajuato.

Astute readers of our sales reports will notice that the Toyota Tundra, also produced at the San Antonio plant, is not selling as well as its mid-size sibling. That's due to a conscious decision by Toyota to produce as many Tacomas in San Antonio as possible, which comes at the expense of Tundra production. With the decision to turn the new Guanajuato Corolla plant into a Tacoma plant, Toyota seems to be setting itself up to compete with the coming wave of new mid-size pickups: Think Ford Ranger, Jeep Scrambler and possibly something from Hyundai or China. If you're an optimist, you might hope that more Tacomas means Toyota will drop the prices a little bit. However, from the data we've seen that seems unlikely since Tacomas have highest average transaction prices along with the highest used-vehicle residual values.

The only risk posed by Toyota's three-plant strategy is placing two of them in Mexico, with higher import tariffs a possibility, looming North American Free Trade Agreement issues, a new Mexican president and U.S.-Mexico political tensions created by illegal immigration. Regardless, it seems like Toyota is making a long-term play and the Tacoma (and possibly its buyers) could reap the benefits.

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Ford, Chevy - Are you listening????

The reason people are snatching up Tacoma's as fast as possible is that they easily last 300,000 miles with little fuss, maintenance, and repairs........and they hold their resale value.

Why can't Ford and Chevy duplicate this????

@PapaJim--Agree, I had reservations about the GM and Chrysler bailouts but both are doing well. Not sure about FCA in the long run--Sergio has been trying to find a merger partner. I doubt most of the taxpayers have the stomach for another bailout but GM has been holding on their own.

@nip--I see a lot of old S-10s and Rangers around where I live with a couple of hundred thousand miles, both are durable trucks. Maybe at one time that was true about Toyota trucks but then there were a lot of Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Isuzu trucks running around with a couple of hundred thousand mile. In the North and Midwest it is the tin worm that does most vehicles in not that they wear out.

Better than that BUTT UGLY Ford Ranger any day of the week!!!


@ papjim and Jeff S,

Nice to know you could care about our laws in this nation. Which laws do you not follow?

We have a bankruptcy court system for a reason. When a business fails like GM did, the law states they must go through this court system. By GM getting a free ride shows they are privileged and can be above the law.

How is that fair to other businesses?

Other failed businesses should file a lawsuit against the federal government for showing a bias and favoritism. This only proves once again justice in this nation is not about our laws, but who has the $$$ and that is reckless and dangerous.

Obama allowed this unfair degradation of our justice system, Obama is the true traitor!

There's only one American-branded truck that looks halfway decent--and its interior looks as cheap as an Atari 2400. Of the Japanese brands, one looks decent, one looks okay and one is trying too hard to look American. I'd have to put a good customizing shop on that Toyota before I'd willingly own one. At least with the Nissan a bit of work from a skinning shop would cover up its flaws.

Upcoming mid-sizers? Overpriced. The Ford looks okay but I simply don't trust the brand (after 40 years of experience driving Fords and owning three of them) and the Jeep is overkill at the price.

I'm in the market for a new truck and honestly I STILL don't know what I'll eventually choose. The choices are simply too limited.

" but the reality is, the Ranger dominated in prior to 2004, which was about the time Ford decided to ax the Ranger."

--- And I expect the new Ranger will have the exact effect they were fearing.

@oxi: "This only proves once again justice in this nation is not about our laws, but who has the $$$ and that is reckless and dangerous."

--- The fallacy in your argument is that GM did NOT have the $$$, so by your reasoning the government should have let them die twice over.

Oh, I agree GM made many mistakes. They dropped popular models and started importing from their European and Asian subsidiaries rather than designing and building at home. They later dropped entire, popular, brands in their effort to reduce costs, rather than paying attention to what their customers really wanted and would have been willing to pay for. No, GM deserved to die but if it had, hundreds of thousands more people would have been unemployed and unlikely to find jobs in a region that was already job-starved. I don't consider GM any better today but at least now they're listening... somewhat.

No, GM deserved to die but if it had, hundreds of thousands more people would have been unemployed and unlikely to find jobs in a region that was already job-starved. I don't consider GM any better today but at least now they're listening... somewhat.
Posted by: Vulpine | Jul 20, 2018


Unreal! GM today is light-years better than the company it replaced. Ditto for Chrysler. Neither company would have survived the bailouts and restructuring.

Your assessment of the old GM is ludicrous. GM, Ford and Chrysler all suffered from the exact same disease. These firms all made labor deals in the 1980s that were unsustainable. That's the whole story.

@Mark Lewis

How long have you been under that rock?

Toyota has been building Tacomas in Tijuana Mexico since the early 2000's.

I've had both a taco and a tundra. I can tell you that after having a tundra, I cannot go back to a taco unless they re-engineer the seating position. So uncomfortable. But until they begin losing market share... Why would they fix it?

I’ll buy a new Tacoma when my 6’1 and all torso can fit inside without my hair scraping the roof. Can’t even think about wearing a cap inside 1. That and a loaded Tacoma I looked at cost $43k, and I bought a full size GMC Sierra 1500 crew can SLT 4x4 with 6.2L for $42k after $16k in discounts. That was a no brainer.


completely agree. Great deal on your new truck by the way. I can wear a cowboy hat in mine.

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