Last week Toyota decided to invest $150 million in its Tijuana plant. This will result in improving its production capacities there. One model is specifically in question. The number of made Toyota Tacoma models will increase from this year’s planned 100,000 to 160,000, how much is predicted for 2018 in this factory. Japanese company did manage to produce more Tacoma pickups with some production maneuvers, but that was not enough. The major investment is needed, and it has finally been promised.
According to Dave Sullivan, who is an analyst at AutoPacific, consulting company, “They probably should have done this a while ago. It’s a really unique market because it’s not driven by fleet sales. These are real consumers paying basically MSRP for these trucks.”
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Explaining and announcing the Mexico investment, Jim Lentz, who is the CEO of Toyota Motor North America, stated that the demand for trucks had grown exponentially. “By leveraging our manufacturing facilities’ availability and expertise, we can be nimbler and better adjust to market needs in a just-in-time manner,” Lentz said. Last week Toyota acknowledged that it could do better in the pickup market. And Toyota Tacoma is a pickup model. The midsize one.
Chevy Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, and GMC Canyon are now coming back to the market. There are more contestants in the midsize pickup market now than before. Even the Ranger, Ford’s model is about to relaunched.
The numbers for Toyota are both good and bad. As for this, midsize pickup segment, Tacoma sales are 4 percent up this year until August. On the other hand, the total share of Tacoma in the midsize trucks segment dropped down from 51 to 43 percent in a year. Good competition is the reason. Now, Toyota wants to get these numbers back to and above those we saw earlier by investing in the factory’s capacity.
As for the investment, there is still the other side of the medal. While adding these 60,000 cars in the predicted production of the plant in Tijuana, Mexico, Toyota will have to make an adjustment in one other factory. At this moment, Toyota’s San Antonio plant is producing pickups as well. Tundra, the full-size model, and Tacoma, the mid-size, are being made in San Antonio. San Antonio plant is running at approximately 125 percent of capacities. The overtime Saturday shift is being used, but it could be discontinued.
Furthermore, Tacoma is a bit different than the other pickups made by the competition. Cushy, easy-driving pickups are now a problem for Toyota. After all, they feel like modern SUVs, and the drivers love it.
According to Dave Sullivan’s words, Toyota Tacoma is a bit of a stereotypical pickup, “very much a truck guy’s truck.” He added, “They’ve come up with an alternative that works for them, and consumers are willing to pay for it.”
After moving the Tacoma’s production from San Antonio to Tijuana, another chance might be given. It wouldn’t be bad if they decide to increase the number of Tundra models there. Since both Tacoma and Tundra use the same assembly line, this would be a cheap switch. Even though the full-size pickup segment in the USA is rising (2.8 %), the number of sold Tundra’s is 7.7 percent down, compared to the last year through August. The vice president of administration and production control at the Toyota’s plant in San Antonio, David Crouch, explained it simply with supply being the big reason – Toyota dealers don’t have enough vehicles in inventory on the lot in order to tempt shoppers to buy them.