Toyota Eyes Cummins Diesel Engine for Tundra

Just the Facts:
  • Toyota may offer a Cummins turbocharged diesel engine in its Tundra pickup truck line, Edmunds has learned.
  • Toyota said Cummins would bring "instant name recognition" to the table.
  • A diesel engine in the Tundra would help to boost fuel economy.

WALLAND, Tennessee — Toyota is eyeing a play from Nissan's product book and may also offer a Cummins turbocharged diesel engine in its Tundra pickup truck line.

Earlier this month, Nissan announced it would offer a turbocharged Cummins V8 diesel engine in its redesigned 2015 Nissan Titan pickup. It is an effort by the Japanese automaker to attract new buyers by boosting the fuel economy and power of its full-size pickup.

"I think Cummins would bring instant name recognition and obviously they are a leader in diesel engine technology," Toyota's Rick LoFaso told Edmunds. "That is not the first time we would have a tie up with somebody else," citing working relationships with Tesla and BMW.

LoFaso is the corporate manager for light trucks at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

Toyota is looking at two powertrains to boost the fuel economy of its full-size Tundra pickup.

The base 2014 Toyota Tundra with a 4.0-liter V6 and five-speed automatic transmission returns 16 mpg in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. The 2014 Tundra with a 5.7-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission returns 13 mpg in city driving and 18 mpg on the highway.

"The diesel engine is something that is on our evaluation list," LoFaso said during an interview at a press event here. "Hybrid technology is something that is on our evaluation list. Either one of those alternatives could deliver some pretty good real world fuel economy."

No timetable was given as to when a decision would be made.

Earlier this month, at a Nissan press event announcing the diesel engine for the Titan, a Cummins executive told Edmunds the engine maker would have enough capacity to sell its engine to Nissan and another vehicle maker. He would not say if Cummins was in negotiations with Toyota or another vehicle maker.

Until the 2014 model year, no automaker had offered a diesel engine in a light-duty pickup. Chevrolet, Ford and GMC have been silent on the subject.

However, with rising gasoline prices, pickup truck owners and operators are looking for engines that are more efficient such as those operating on diesel fuel. Federal regulations also require vehicle manufacturers to boost the fuel economy of their vehicles.

An added benefit of a diesel engine over gasoline is that it provides more torque, as in power, for transporting or pulling heavier loads.

Chrysler Group announced in June that a turbocharged 240-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine would be offered in its 2014 Ram pickup. Italy's VM Motori developed the engine. The company is owned 50-50 by Fiat and General Motors.

Then, earlier this month, Nissan announced that the redesigned 2015 Titan pickup would be available with a 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 engine. Final specifications for the diesel engine have not been released. Nissan estimates the diesel engine will have over 300 horsepower and a torque rating in the mid-500s (pound-feet).

Edmunds says: Toyota appears to be yet another truck maker that is anxious to cash in on the Cummins name.

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