- The next major redesign of the Toyota Tundra is due sometime after 2018 and will put a premium on fuel efficiency.
- Fuel efficiency will be a major factor in determining which power plants will be used in the future Tundra.
- Toyota is also considering increasing the payload capacity of the current-generation Tundra.
MINNEAPOLIS — The next major redesign of the Toyota Tundra is due sometime after 2018 and will put a premium on fuel efficiency.
"We are working real hard trying to figure out what the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations for 2018 are going to be because that will have a huge determination on what power plants (and) what alternative power plants we might have to put in the truck to participate in half-, 3/4 and the 1-ton truck market," Paul Holdrige, Toyota Division vice president of sales, told Edmunds in an interview here.
The Tundra currently is available only as a half-ton pickup.
The base 2014 Toyota Tundra with a 4.0-liter V6 engine returns 16 mpg in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.
Toyota's full-sized, light-duty Tundra pickup has been largely untouched since its debut in 2007. Tundra received minor exterior and interior styling enhancements for the 2014 model year, giving it a fresh appearance.
However, the powertrain, chassis and the components under the sheet metal remain unchanged. A redesign or significant re-engineering had been expected by now but was delayed due to several factors, including the tsunami in 2011 that destroyed portions of Japan, the recession and other factors.
By contrast, Detroit automakers have spent considerable time and money upgrading their light-duty pickup lines.
The Ram 1500 was redesigned last year. The redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 debuted for the 2014 model year, and the redesigned Ford F-150 goes on sale next year. Nissan's redesigned Titan pickup will arrive at dealerships in 2014. Both Ram and Nissan plan to offer diesel-engine options, a first for light-duty pickups.
Holdrige said the powertrain offerings and the decision to increase the capability of the redesigned Tundra are being debated.
"I would not tell you that larger GVW (gross vehicle weight) trucks are completely off the drawing board," he said. "There is lots of discussion and it is a very fluid situation asking about Tundra at Toyota as we sit here today. It is probably the most fluid platform decision that we are looking at here in the United States today."
Asked what he meant by the word "fluid," Holdrige said: "What changes we either make or don't make as we move forward. We have a pretty good idea about subcompact, about midsize, about near luxury (cars). It is the pickup truck market that is the one that we are actively engaged in trying to make decisions strategically on where to go."
Specifically, at issue is building "the right truck with the right power plant that meets government CAFE regulations" beginning in 2018, he said.
Holdrige said the current-generation Tundra won't be ignored. The Tundra will receive upgrades and will evolve until the redesigned pickup arrives sometime after 2018. For example, under study is increasing the payload capacity of the current generation pickup, he said.
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