autonews.com is reporting that Toyota will create a new joint platform to underpin the next generation of the Tundra and Tacoma. And it will also be used in the global Hilux. In other words, a single building block set for all of Toyotas pickups, and undoubtedly the SUVs that are based on them (4Runner, Sequoia). I used quote marks in the title for “Platform” as that word has come to mean something rather different with time. And it’s not the first time this has been done, as Nissan’s Frontier and Titan do the same thing. And look to oters to go down this same route.
It needs to be said again: Toyota’s strategy with the Tundra was never to take on the Big Three head-on, with a full range of large pickups. It was always to offer an alternative in the 1/2 ton market to the Toyota faithful. And since the Tundra and Tacoma have shared the same factory in San Antonio, production was severely constrained. And Toyota has consistently favored the Tacoma, as it was vital to maintain its dominance in its category. Tacomas are also being made in Mexico now, and its sales continue to grow (up 13% in March) despite the new competition in the mid-size field.
Toyota has had great success with its Toyota New Global Architecture (“TNGA”) that underpins (or will soon) the Corolla, Prius, Camry Rav4, Highlander and various Lexus models. Whereas once upon a time, a “platform” was seen as something like a common floor/cowl unit, today the parameters are much more flexible, thanks to the ease of tooling and stamping greater varieties of body elements. But the suspension design, certain structural elements or their design, and many components and other building block elements can be shared to minimize costs per vehicle. This is what will happen with the BOF trucks. makes gobs of sense, and both of them are in bad need of a new generation.
These new generation of Toyota trucks will also have hybrid versions. Toyota has committed itself to offering hybrids in every size category, and this is the obvious time to introduce that to the trucks. Just what that will entail is unknown, but it would undoubtedly be fairly easy to adapt the RWD system that has been used by the Lexus LS for some years now, and is standard on the current LS 500. Whether there will be plug in variants or not is an unknown, but ti will undoubtedly improve mileage considerably, especially in city driving.