Motor Corp. says it will reduce production of its largest models, the Tundra fullsize pickup truck and Sequoia SUV, this spring at its Princeton, IN, and San Antonio plants.
The Tundra is the sole model built in San Antonio, while Princeton makes both the Tundra and Sequoia.
Contrary to reports, company spokeswoman Carri Chandler sayshas no plans to shift all Tundra production to San Antonio.
“There are currently no such plans,” she says. “We have not made any decisions to shift or consolidate production (of the Tundra).”
Ward’s data shows Tundra sales rose 65.6% in the year’s first two months, compared with year-ago, while Sequoia sales grew14.3% in the timeframe.
Industry-wide deliveries of large pickups are off 12% to date, and large SUVs are down 21%, Ward’s segmentation data shows.
Toyota’s sales have been down or flat for the past eight months in the U.S.
“The reason for this is due to market demand,” Chandler says. “Adjustments in the rate of production aren’t unusual. We’re just adjusting to the current business condition.” Toyota doesn’t “keep inventory.”
Toyota launched the current-generation Tundra in early February 2007 in hopes of making a bigger dent in the highly competitive fullsize pickup segment, long dominated by the Detroit Three.
Last year, Toyota targeted 200,000 annual sales, but the Tundra ended 2007 a bit short, at 196,555, albeit a 57.9% increase from 2006’s tally, Ward’s data shows.
The Sequoia is all new for ’08, and Toyota had planned on the model to boost sales of its larger SUVs, which slumped last year. The auto maker last fall predicted deliveries of 65,000-66,000 Sequoias in 2008, triple 2007’s tally.
Toyota is not specifying the reduction in output at the two plants but says there will be no layoffs.
Ward’s production data shows Tundra builds rose 20.4% last month vs. year-ago, down 6.5% from January. Sequoia output surged 161.6% in February, compared with year-ago, but slipped 6.2% vs. January.
The slowdown in production of the two models reportedly will result in a decrease in engine production at Toyota’s Huntsville, AL, plant, home of the Tundra and Sequoia’s largest mill, the 5.7L V-8. Last year, the engine was the most popular choice among Tundra customers, Toyota said.