Texas State Fair goers were granted an exclusive look at two new Toyota Tundra pickups on Tuesday, where the automaker sought to show its wares in a venue perfectly suited to make the most of the Tundra's work-inspired physique and powerplant.
The new pickups will be assembled down the road at ToMoCo's brand new billion-dollar assembly plant in San Antonio, which has grown beyond Toyota's expectations. Initially, the facility was only to cost around $600m and create jobs for approximately 2,000 workers. Those figures have now grown substantially, costing Toyota over a billion green backs and employing 4,100 Texans.
It's a huge undertaking and is expected to establish Toyota as a major player in the full size truck market, as long as demand for full-sized pickups doesn't tank as some analysts expect.
The full press release is available after the jump.
As New Truck Comes to Market, Texas Region's Sales for Toyota Counter Industry-Wide Trends
DALLAS, Sept. 28 -- At the State Fair of Texas preview today, Toyota rolled out for the first time two prototypes of its 2007 Tundra pickup truck, which will be assembled in its new billion-dollar truck plant in San Antonio.
To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/toyota/25630 /
"The State Fair is a true icon of Texas, which just happens to be the epicenter of the U.S. light truck market. It's easy to illustrate just how important Texas is to us," said Ernest Bastien, vice president of vehicle operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.
"If you need more proof of how important Texas is to Toyota, all you have to do is take a look in San Antonio at our new truck plant there," he said.
Toyota has constructed a new truck plant in San Antonio to produce the 2007 Tundra. Its original projections were that the plant would amount to an investment of $850 million and create 2,000 new jobs. The plant has attracted more suppliers than anticipated from other states to build facilities on Toyota's site, and as a result, the total investment on the site has grown to well more than $1 billion and 4,100 new jobs.
Toby Hynes, president of Gulf States Toyota, the distributor in the five- state region, pointed out, "Dealers in the region are currently investing $600 million to bring their facilities up to the new Toyota standards. At GST, we are investing $70 million in a greatly expanded Vehicle Processing Center in Houston and other facilities ... so we can bring the highest levels of service to our customers."
"So, to put it mildly, Toyota, Gulf States Toyota and our dealers are expanding in Texas in just about every way you can imagine," Hynes said.
"When you add in the investments being made by Gulf States Toyota and our dealers, we are bringing nearly $2 billion worth of new facilities into the economy of Texas," Bastien said.
"The plant is impressive. Huge coils of steel roll into one end of the plant, and finished pickup trucks roll out the other. Inside, there's some of the largest pieces of manufacturing equipment in the state," he said.
Big Truck Fills True Truckers Needs
When it goes on sale next February, the new 2007 Toyota Tundra will be available in 31 different models, with three engine choices -- a fuel-sipping 4.0 liter V6, a 4.7 liter V8, and an all-new 5.7 liter V8. The truck boasts a towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds.
The new Double Cab long bed truck, which will be seen at the fair for the first time, has an eight-foot bed and a 165-inch wheelbase. The longest Tundra model, it is suitable for carrying a crew of six, plus cargo.
The Regular Cab long bed, also debuting at the fair, has extra storage space behind the driver's seat and what Toyota believes will be the largest interior volume in its class. The Regular Cab is available in a standard grade that includes heavy-duty vinyl flooring and content targeted specifically for work-related use.
"We think both of these trucks will have special appeal with true truckers, including a variety of hard-working commercial and ranch users," Bastien said. "We decided the new Tundra needed to be a truck built exclusively for the customer, not a truck that simply benchmarked the full- size competition."