- Toyota announced Tuesday it would invest $391 million into the San Antonio truck plant.
- Details are scarce as to where the money will go, but this is a large hint the company is gearing up for the new Tundra.
- It’s likely the new Tundra will debut sometime in the coming months as a 2021 model.
Toyota is gearing up for the next Tundra.
Right now, the oldest half-ton truck on the market is the Toyota Tundra. It’s over a decade old, but still manages to claw its own devout following in the face of stiff competition. Even as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 have all been completely redesigned, the Tundra still finds nearly 120,000 buyers each year. Now, Toyota is investing $391 million into its San Antonio truck plant — a good sign that the 2021 Toyota Tundra is in fact coming.
Toyota did not explicitly mention what that money will be used for. However, it is the largest investment in the plant since it officially started production back in 2006. Currently, the plant employs about 3,200 workers and builds both the Tundra and Tacoma. The plant also has 23 on-site suppliers, bringing the total employment in the area up to 7,200 people. In announcing the investment, Toyota said the following in their statement:
“Today’s announcement comes as part of a broader commitment from Toyota to invest $13 billion in its U.S. operations over five years through 2021. This new investment also comes with a commitment by Toyota Texas to continue funding local workforce development, a community need the company has long championed.”
New platform and powertrains?
Toyota has not officially announced any specs or other details on the new Tundra just yet. We have seen it a few times, and rumor has it the Tundra could pack an interesting new powertrain. Rumor has it the 2021 Toyota Tundra could get a hybrid powertrain anchored around a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine. That is just a rumor for now, although it’s plausible given Toyota’s current powertrain lineup. For instance, Toyota could base the Tundra’s powertrain around the current Lexus LC 500h, coupling the engine to an electric motor. The result would put the truck in the 450 horsepower range, on par with trucks with the Chevy Silverado 1500 with a 6.2-liter V8 and the Ford F-150 Limited and Raptor.
Not only that, a hybrid setup would also significantly boost fuel economy. That’s one area the aging Tundra seriously lacks against its more modern competition. The 5.7-liter 3UR-FE V8 engine has served the Tundra well, but it’s hardly efficient. Current fuel economy ratings peg the 2020 Toyota Tundra at just 13 City / 18 Highway / 15 Combined mpg for the two-wheel drive model. Toyota could improve that engine as well and put it on par with Ford, GM and Ram’s V8 offerings, as well.
At any rate, rumors on exactly what the 2021 Toyota Tundra has in store must be taken with a grain of salt. This investment at least shows that Toyota is committed to the Tundra and Tacoma, and hopefully we’ll see a new Tundra within the next few months. Stay tuned to TFLtruck.com for more updates!