Toyota Trucks Are About to Get More Competitive

Toyota is even exploring the option of a hybrid truck.

JANUARY 5, 2009; ORLANDO, FL -- Toyota Tundra full size trucks sit on the lot at the Toyota of Orlando car dealership in Orlando, Florida, January 5, 2009. (photo by Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg News)
Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Toyota is making a big show of its trucks at the Texas State Fair. Having just built a new headquarters in the Dallas area, Toyota decided the fair would be a good opportunity to market trucks in the country’s biggest truck market.

Toyota vice president of marketing Ed Laukes told Automotive News that the company sold almost 43,000 RAV4 crossovers and sees ongoing momentum for trucks and SUVs.

Something Toyota can’t ignore is the competition getting stronger in the truck market. When even the Nissan Titan is starting to gain on your market share, it’s time to consider refreshing your full size truck. The Toyota Tundra, which is built in San Antonio, Texas, is overdue for a refresh and Laukes vaguely confirmed that a new Tundra was in the works. The Toyota Sequoia full-size SUV and the Toyota 4Runner off-roader are also showing their age and will also see new generations sometime in the near future.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the Automotive News interview was the brief mention of a hybrid truck. 

“There's absolutely no reason we couldn't have a hybrid truck,” said Laukes when asked if that was a possibility. “All those options, we're exploring. When you're trying to raise you [corporate average fuel economy] limits for the entire brand, there's no option that isn't on the table.”

A hybrid truck would put Toyota ahead of the curve in truck competition. We know there’s a hybrid Ford F-150 scheduled to arrive by 2020 and if Toyota can bring one to market around the same time it would be some surprise competition for the long-reigning king of truck sales.



Not that we’re expecting hybrid trucks to make a big dent in total pickup truck market share. Traditional gas engines should continue to reign supreme in that segment for a long time, but to see something different and innovative come out of Toyota’s truck segment would make a strong statement that the brand is still in the game.