Toyota may be expanding its pickup truck production at its San Antonio, TX factory following calls from dealers for more Tacoma and Tundra models, according to a new report from Automotive News.
The San Antonio plant is currently able to produce 250,000 trucks on two shifts with overtime, while a secondary facility in Tijuana, Mexico can build an extra 50,000 Tacomas. Despite this capacity, and the fact that Tundra is a slow seller relative to the full-size trucks from Ford, Ram and Chevrolet/GMC (not to mention the Tacoma being part of a segment with diminishing sales), Toyota franchisees apparently can't get enough of the trucks.
"Dealers are telling us they could sell more Tacomas and Tundras," said Bill Fay, the general manager of the Toyota Division. "We are evaluating our footprint and capacity." According to AN, Toyota has moved over 248,000 trucks through November.
Whether the Japanese brand will expand, though, remains an open question. "We have 2008 and 2009 fresh in our minds, when the pickup market dropped from 2.5 million to 1.1 million," Fay told AN. "But we also need to be flexible for three years down the road from now."
With the launch of the restyled Tundra resulting in 101,744 units sold so far in 2013 and Fay predicting 137,000 Tundras finding a home in 2014, Toyota faces a difficult decision – short dealers who are aching for more trucks or make a big investment and risk a low return.