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The Saga of The Diesel Toyota Tundra – The Truck That Never Was

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Toyota Tundra

The Saga of The Diesel Toyota Tundra – The Truck That Never Was

Jason Lancaster
April 6, 2012


Toyota Tundra Dually
Toyota Tundra fans have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the diesel Tundra. A project that has been in the works for several years, the company will not be releasing a diesel Tundra anytime in the near future. As a result of slow sales and a sluggish economy, Toyota has delayed this project indefinitely.

The Beginning

It all started in August of 2006 when Toyota informed dealers that they could look for a 3/4 –ton HD version of the Tundra to come out the following model year. Excitement for this new version was high, and it continued to grow the following year when the vice president of Toyota said that the Tundra would be the first Toyota vehicle offered in the United States to have a diesel option. Unfortunately, the vehicle never actually made it into production.

The Excitement

The anticipation continued to grow throughout the first half of 2008. In January, the President of Sales for Toyota USA announced that the company would focus on building a diesel Tundra. Edmunds.com reported in May that consumers should watch for a light-duty Tundra to be released with the 2010 model year.

The Disappointment

Consumers and auto groups were shocked and disappointed in September of 2008 when Toyota announced that the light duty diesel Tundra was being delayed indefinitely.

The Truck Market Crash of 2008

2008 saw a significant increase in gas prices and the housing collapse, both of which led to a general decline in vehicle demand. With truck sales at an all-time low in December of 2008, Toyota and other manufacturers backed away from making major changes until the market could recover.

Wishful Thinking

In August 2009, the industry seemed geared to start making a switch to diesel trucks. Indian auto company Mahindra unveiled plans to offer a mid-sized pickup featuring a diesel engine, and consumers once again hoped that Toyota would do the same. However, the company announced at the Texas State Fair in September, 2009, that a diesel Tundra was at least three years away.

News for 2012

Although consumers are still anxiously awaiting a diesel Tundra, there is nothing to indicate that Toyota is preparing to offer this particular version of the Tundra. Although there are rumors that Toyota is working on a half-ton diesel, there has not been any confirmation from the company. In the light of pending emission changes from the Obama administration, it is likely that Toyota will wait to see what the new fuel economy expectations from the government will be.

Rumors of Collaboration

Toyota has limited funding to invest in R&D, but there are rumors that Toyota and Ford may work together on a hybrid F150/ hybrid Tundra. While this is great news for pickup lovers who are concerned about gas prices, it does cast further doubt on the likelihood of a diesel Tundra.

If you have been holding off on buying a truck because you are pining for a diesel Toyota Tundra, you might want to accept that it won’t be arriving anytime soon. A diesel Tundra would be a great choice for most pickup lovers, but it might be time to start considering some other models.

Author Jason Lancaster is the founder of TundraHeadquarters.com, a website dedicated to providing accessory information, news, and more to the Tundra owner community.



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