So Toyota will keep cranking them out.
Just two months into 2019, Toyota has already launched an onslaught of new truck and SUV models. At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show alone, Toyota revealed new TRD Pro versions of the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra as well as an all-new TRD Pro variant of the Sequoia. Toyota also released a new TRD Off-Road version of its best-selling RAV4.
This product onslaught is all part of Toyota's plan to capitalize on the growing demand for trucks and SUVs. Automotive News reports that this onslaught won't just come from the product side, but from the manufacturing side as well.
Toyota will now be able to produce more Tundras at its San Antonio plant because an additional plant has been added in Mexico to build more Tacomas. "It gives us a chance to push Tundra a little harder," said Bill Fay, senior vice president for operations at Toyota Motor North America. "In the past, if we did that, we had to take it out of Tacoma, and now, we don't have to do that."
The Japanese automaker will continue to focus on specialty models like the TRD Pro family and the recently-revealed Land Cruiser Heritage Edition. Jack Hollis, head of the Toyota Division for Toyota Motor North America, says more than 40% of all Tacoma, Tundra, Sequoia, and 4Runner sales are TRD packages.
"On the truck side, our TRD Pro has really been stuff that we've been working on over the years that we've continuously improved over the years to make those products better," Hollis said. "Having a performance brand really allows us to experiment and innovate, and that's what I get excited about, whether it's cars or trucks. I see it lifting our brand through performance."
Just looking at the sales figures for Toyota's trucks and SUVs in 2018 gives a clear indication of their popularity. RAV4 sales were up 4.8%, Tacoma sales were up 24%, Highlander was up 13%, 4Runner up 8.9%, and Tundra up 1.7%. Don't expect this growth to slow down any time soon unless gas goes back to costing $4 per gallon.