Toyota's Scion brand pursues buyers who are young and urbane, but marketers of a new-generation '05 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck will target a different youth group: boys who like their toys.
“Tacoma is the prime source of bringing young male buyers into the Toyota family,” says Robert Carter, vice president of sales for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s Toyota Div.
He says the Tacoma is an “extremely important” vehicle for Toyota. It accounts for 10% of the auto maker's total sales in the U.S. Toyota expects to sell 170,000 Tacomas a year. Made in California, the eighth-generation first-borns arrive at dealerships next month. Pricing is to be announced.
The new truck's size follows a trend of the compact pickup segment in that it's “larger in every metric comparison,” Carter says. It comes in 18 model configurations based on three cab types.
One in four Tacoma buyers is under age 35. The vehicle's “tough and fun” marketing message will aim mainly at two age groups.
The first, which Carter deems as the most important, consists of young male buyers who are enthusiasts.
“These men are at an age where they believe they are invincible,” he says. “To them, a great truck represents a great sense of freedom and independence. They typically play with the trucks, more than any other compact truck buyer, along with an assortment of toys such as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), dirt bikes and jet skis.”
The second targeted group is an outgrowth of the first.
Says Carter: “Of course at some point all men grow up and move on to bigger and better toys. That's the focus of our second marketing strategy. It's called ‘Young Guy Grows Up.’”
The model that Toyota will pitch to that consumer is a 4-door Tacoma Double Cab, introduced two years ago and accounting for 35% of total Tacoma sales.
“Although our guy is grown up, married and has a couple of kids he still is deeply rooted in this guy culture,” says Carter.