The Toyota Tacoma is losing market share to the Chevy Colorado and Honda Ridgeline. This isn’t happening because people are losing interest in the venerable Toyota, but because Toyota can’t build them fast enough.
There’s a shortage of Tacomas at dealerships around the country, and buyers are turning to some very worthy competition instead of waiting for Toyota to catch up and deliver more trucks. This is a problem that’s new to Toyota, as decent competition in the midsize truck market hasn’t been a concern since… well… ever.
What’s Toyota’s plan to prevent more buyers from crossing over to competing brands?
Ask Mazda for help.
Automotive News (sub required) said,
The Japanese automaker has struggled to crank out enough of the segment-leading midsize pickup at its Texas and Mexico factories, even with years of overtime. Now, thanks to the partnership announced last week with Mazda, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz is prepared to turn on the spigot to fend off midsize pickup challengers.
Toyota will build a $1.6 billion U.S. auto plant at a site to be chosen in a 50-50 partnership with Mazda that nets each of them 150,000 vehicles a year in additional capacity. Production at the plant is to start in 2021.
Toyota has taken a 5 percent stake in Mazda as part of the deal to build the plant. The new U.S. plant, though, won’t build Tacomas. Instead, Toyota will move some Corolla production from Mexico to the new Mazda/Toyota plant and use the freed-up capacity in Mexico to build more Tacoma trucks for import into the United States.
The Tacoma production problem is indicative of a larger trend in which buyers are abandoning compact sedans for trucks and SUVs. Toyota has already had to figure out how to increase production of the Highlander, RAV4, and C-HR to meet demand while decreasing output of sedans.
A higher volume of Tacomas won’t start rolling into dealerships until 2019 or 2020, which is a lot of time for competing trucks to continue making up lost ground.
What truck would you buy instead of a Toyota Tacoma?
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