CHICAGO – Toyota sets a 2014 target of some 130,000 sales of the extensively refreshed Tundra fullsize pickup rolled out at the auto show here, Group Vice President Bill Fay tells WardsAuto.
Until last year's 101,621 deliveries, the current-generation Tundra had not surpassed the 6-digit mark since the 2008 tally of 137,249, WardsAuto data shows. The pickup’s high-water mark came the year it debuted, 2007, when 196,555 were sold.
"This year, we'll probably grow a little bit as the segment grows, but we're probably not going to start building (the refreshed '14 model) until the fall, and by the time we get it distributed its full impact really won't be until next year," Fay says in an interview.
While a full revision of the Tundra is more than a year away, Fay says Toyota wanted to revitalize its large pickup given all the activity in the segment, which includes new generations of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra this year and an all-new Ford F-Series next year.
"We feel we're much better-positioned in a recovering segment and much better-positioned with all the updates that are happening within the segment," Fay says. "We think when we get this truck out and about in the fourth quarter, it should do very well."
Many of the changes to the Tundra are cosmetic, prompted by owner feedback for a more aggressive exterior look and a more refined, higher-quality interior.
One thing owners don't complain about are the Tundra's powertrains, which Fay says is a key reason all three – a 4.0L V-6, 4.6L V-8 and 5.7L V-8 – go unchanged for '14.
"We didn't get a lot of input that the engine isn't good,” he says of the 5.7L V-8.
The largest Tundra mill has been highly reliable over its lifecycle, and its performance and fuel economy favorably compare with smaller V-8s or turbocharged V-6s, which are the going trend in the segment, Fay says.
Carrying over the '07 Tundra engines doesn't mean Toyota isn't exploring possibilities for the future full-model makeover. Fay cites hybrids, which the auto maker is exploring in a partnership with Ford, and diesels as two study points.
"Diesel isn't out of the question, although it's not imminent," he says.
Also not off the table is a possible heavy-duty version of the Tundra, although Fay says few owners surveyed have requested such a model.