Toyota hopes to catch the lucrative U.S. truck market with the 2014 Tundra

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 11, 2013

In anticipation of the growth in the truck market in the U.S., Toyota introduced a redesigned Tundra pickup truck last Thursday. Its highlights include a back-up camera, easier-to-use controls and other features. The Tundra was last given an overhaul in 2007 to enter a market for full-work trucks that’s ruled by General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group LLC.

Back then, Toyota officials described the Tundra as its most significant launch ever. However, the launch of the Tundra in 2007 took place at the same time as a slowdown in U.S. home construction that damaged truck sales that year. This prompted the Japanese automaker to increase incentives in order to attract buyers. This time, truck sales are on track to surpass the increases that the overall U.S. auto industry had experienced.

Analysts believe that this trend will continue this year as the housing market gets better and automakers launch a series of new models. TrueCar.com analyst Jesse Toprak said that Toyota’s timing was “off” last time. He explained that this time, Toyota has a “pretty good” timing when it comes to the housing market correlation. The 2014 Tundra, which is currently seen at the Chicago Auto Show, opens for media previews.

It faces a lot of competition. Last autumn, Chrysler launched a redesigned Ram 1500. Meanwhile, GM will launch redesigned versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra in the spring.

In 2014, Ford will release an overhauled F-150 truck, while the U.S. arm of Nissan Motor Co. will launch a redesigned Titan pickup truck. Toprak said that in addition, Toyota has to appeal to current consumers, who are less likely to be so-called lifestyle buyers, and those who like the truck's image but don’t need it for work. Consumers pay more attention to the truck's capability and power than its luxurious interior and visual appeal.

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