During the 1932 World Series at Wrigley Field, New York Yankee Babe Ruth pointed to the center field bleachers while at bat during the fifth inning. He then knocked one out of the park directly where his finger was pointing. The Babe's famous called shot reminds us of recent comments made by Jim Lentz, executive vice president of Toyota's U.S. sales, about the Toyota Tundra. Last Thursday Lentz said, "We're spending the incentives necessary, given the economics, given a down market, to sell that 200,000 vehicles."

While not as glamorous or direct as Babe Ruth's pointed index finger, in our eyes Lentz effectively pointed to the center field bleachers and called it: Toyota will reach its goal of selling 200,000 Tundra's in 2007, the new full-size pickup's first year of sales. About 97,290 2007 MY Tundras were sold in the first six months of 2007, so 200,000 certainly seems reachable, but by no means in the bag. Just like the Big 3, Toyota has been laying both dealer and customer incentives on the hood of 2007 Tundras to encourage sales, and marketing for the truck has been omnipresent on TV and the web. Toyota disputes, however, the Edmunds.com estimate that incentives for the Tundra amounted to $6,861 per truck last month when 23,150 units were sold.

[Source: The Detroit News]

The pickup market in general is shrinking, about 4.9% so far this year, which means many of the Tundra's sales are conquests, or sales taken away from the other half-ton pickups on the market. We've already concluded the 2007 half-ton Sierra 1500 has been passed in sales by the Tundra, and the entire Sierra line, including heavy-duty models, as well as the Dodge Ram, could both be surpassed by the end of the year.

Still, calling your shot is a dangerous game that could backfire. Ruth hit the homerun, but if the Tundra fails to reach 200,000 in sales for 2007, Toyota will be fielding questions on why its truck isn't selling.

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