Forbes columnist of all things automotive Jerry Flint has checked out the 2007 Toyota Tundra. His pronouncement? It's a good pickup, but it won't become America's best-selling big truck.
According to Flint, this is Toyota’s third attempt to enter the full-sized pickup market. While he acknowledges this latest entry is competitive against, for example, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, he sees Americans as quite happy with their domestic-built trucks (Check out our poll on what readers thought of the new Tundra and its impact among truck buyers).
Toyota will have a hard time attracting buyers based on quality and price, continued Flint. Domestic trucks, for example, don’t have the same quality perception issues that have plagued Ford and GM's other vehicles. And the remaining full domestic automakers' truck manufacturing capacity is three times larger than Toyota's own facilities, making it easy for them to keep prices down. There’s also the strong loyalty many truck owners feel towards Ford and GM as well.
Flint did suggest several strategies Toyota could use to garner market share but they would all have detrimental consequences to the world’s second largest automaker.
But Toyota and other foreign automakers have faced similar hurdles in the past, and Flint's words echo others who once assumed the Camry and Corolla would remain niche players. Flint isn't one to shy away from controversial opinions, either-- earlier this month he restated his belief that GM wouldn't declare bankrupcy, a development that looks more and more likely every day. What do you think?