The Lengths Toyota Goes To Keep Up With Truck Demand Is Extraordinary

Industry News / 12 Comments

Make no mistake, it's seriously impressive.

The old saying goes that every stereotype has some element of truth to it, and there's probably no better example of this in the motoring landscape than the US pick-up truck market. A quick look at the sales figures reveals Americans still hold the traditional flat bed dear to their hearts. Bar a few blips, trucks have consistently outsold cars in the States since the turn of the century. With this knowledge in hand, it's not too surprising to hear that Toyota's doing all it can to keep up with Tacoma and Tunda demand.

The lengths Toyota is going to at its San Antonio plant in order to ensure at least one completed Tundra or Tacoma rolls off the production line every minute are staggering. Along with the obligatory shift workaround schedules and having 23 suppliers situated nearby the factory, Toyota is also employing some rather drastic measures in order to streamline production down. For instance, sun roofs can only be fitted on every third Tacoma that passes through the bay, as attaching them ad hoc would slow production too much. The delay itself would only be a few seconds, but that's a setback that can't be tolerated when you're producing a vehicle that's in such high demand.

It also doesn't help matters that the San Antonio plant is pretty much operating at full capacity. For sure, more trucks could be squeezed out by updating the machinery, but Toyota would have to pretty much overhaul the entire assembly line in order to prevent bottlenecks from forming. Plus, Toyota would also have to consider the output limits of the suppliers - there's no point in accelerating the production procedure, if you'll just be left with a train of trucks waiting to have their seats and instrument panels installed. With dealers demanding more trucks than the 250,000+ units the plant is producing per year, though, we'd imagine the factory will be attempting to up Tundra and Tacoma output sooner rather than later.

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