Toyota has expressed its pleasure to pick up the passenger car sales that the Big Three is willingly giving up by scuttling all of its sedans in the next few years to focus on utility and trucks sales. However, the Japanese automaker isn’t giving up truck sales either.
The company reconfirmed its plans to remain committed to truck sales by investing another $391 million at its truck plant in San Antonio, Texas to expand production. The company has spent more than $3 billion on the plant that produces its full-size Tundra and midsize Tacoma pickups.
“We’ve been in the U.S. for more than 60 years, creating a tremendous value chain in this country and creating an extensive footprint in the Alamo City since 2003,” said Chris Reynolds, Toyota Motor North America chief administrative officer of manufacturing and corporate resources.
“With 10 U.S. plants, 1,500-strong dealer network, an extensive supply chain and other operations, we directly and indirectly employ over 475,000 Americans and are committed to investing here.”
The plant, which opened in 2007, employs about 3,200 people. The company’s Tacoma is the top-selling midsize truck in the country. It’s held the crown for 13 straight years, and it appears ready to retain that title for 2019. In August, the truck enjoyed its best August ever with Toyota selling 27,010 trucks, an increase of 14.8%. Tacoma sales are up 4.7% year to date.
The company is giving the third-gen truck an update for the 2020 model year, including a new front grille, revised tail lights and a new, larger multimedia touchscreen includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
Meanwhile, the Tundra is attempting to make gains in the very competitive full-size pickup segment. In August, sales were up 12.4% and the company is enjoying a 2.2% jump through the end of the month. The Tundra and Tacoma will share a common architecture starting with the 2020 model year.
The common architecture is internally codenamed “F1,” according to a report in Automotive News and confirmed by TheDetroitBureau.com’s own sources. It is likely to be ready to go by late 2020.
The move would echo what Toyota is in the midst of doing in other areas of its line-up. The launch of the fourth-generation Prius hybrid brought with it the debut of the Toyota New Global Architecture, a flexible architecture that eventually will underpin a vast array of passenger cars and crossovers.