Toyota unveils 2007 Tundra, sets sights on full-size truck market

It's bigger, tougher, more user friendly, capable of slogging through mud or climbing rough mountain roads. It's an office on wheels with cleverly designed storage capacity. It's a smart looking truck designed to help its driver work smarter and more efficiently. Toyota's 2007 Tundra bears very little resemblance to previous Tundra models.

This March, Toyota is launching its intensely researched, totally revamped answer to the American truck driver's dream, and company management is pulling out all the stops to make sure it puts more than a dent into the domestic competition.

This Tundra is a true full-size pickup available in 31 model configurations and a choice between 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains. It has a towing capacity of up to 10,800 pounds depending on the model and drivetrain. Buyers can choose among three cab styles, three wheelbases, three bed lengths, three engines and three trim levels.

“Tundra brings proven Toyota engineering, quality and durability to an intensely competitive full-size pickup market,” says Brian Smith, Toyota Motor Sales corporate manager for truck operations. “The all-new Tundra is a historical launch for Toyota, because we are significantly increasing our production potential and presence in the full-size pickup truck category.”

This one comes with a punch to back it up. It has an available new 381-horsepower 5.7-liter iForce V8 engine teamed to a new six-speed automatic transmission. The 2007 Tundra is built on a new frame that is optimized for vigorous work duty, impact safety and ride quality. Compared to the previous Tundra, the new model features more reinforced areas, increased high strength steel, increased steel gauge and higher-rigidity suspension mounts.

An Automatic Limited-slip Differential (A-LSD) provides computer-controlled cross-axle torque management that allows some wheel spin necessary on some surfaces.

Compared to a conventional mechanical limited slip differential, the A-LSD system provides better acceleration in deep sand or mud and on low or mixed-friction surfaces.

All models also include Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) as standard equipment. VSC detects front-wheel slide and rear-wheel slide during cornering and attempts to control either condition with throttle intervention and/or by braking individual wheels.

From a functionality standpoint, the new Tundra has been designed to make life easier or at least more compatible for the truck driver.

Details such as large door handles and oversized control knobs in the interior are functional even while wearing work gloves.

The roomy interiors of all models can accommodate a “full-sized” man or even an over-sized one. The head and leg room on the 2007 Tundra has been significantly upgraded compared to the older models.

The truck is backed by a 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle limited warranty that applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional warranties cover the powertrain for 60 months/60,000 miles and corrosion perforation for 60 months with no mileage limitation.

“This is a very different Tundra that will attract different buyers,” Smith says. “Truck drivers use, punish and demand a lot out of their trucks. This Tundra was designed to meet that demand.”

The 2007 Tundra will hit the showrooms in March where it will undoubtedly face stiff competition from the existing full-size truck marketers that often retain fiercely loyal customers.

Toyota is counting on converting truckers to its brand with a massive advertising campaign, a hands-on marketing approach and an emphasis on “American-made.”

The new Tundra concept was conceived, tested and will be produced almost entirely in the U.S. rather than abroad. Tundra's V6 and V8 engines will be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Huntsville, Ala. while its transmission will be built at a production facility in North Carolina.

The Tundra itself will be manufactured at two production facilities in Princeton, Ind. and a new plant in San Antonio, Texas.

“This will be the single most important launch in Toyota's 50-year history,” says Brian Smith, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., corporate manager for truck operations. “It's by far the most American project in our company's history.”

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