Can The Hardy Tacoma Climb This Hill?
The Toyota Tacoma has struggled maintaining its market share in recent years, dropping by about 20% since 2014, the year the General Motors returned to the small pickup market. They will most likely give up another chuck of market share in 2019, when Ford will bring back its formerly popular Ford Ranger, which was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January of 2018. Jeep also has plans to release its pickup truck and Nissan will be redesigning its Frontier. This will make for a huge hill for Toyota to climb in the next couple of years. At the very least, Toyota’s stronghold on the small pickup space could very well be nearing its end.
Toyota may concede but given that they fought off GM initially in 2015 when they actually grew their sales by over 15%, there is a chance they use this opportunity as a challenge. North American CEO Jim Lentz invites more competition in the space saying, “The more the merrier…I think that segment is going to grow.” One wouldn’t expect a major vehicle manufacturer to say anything else but either way it will be very interesting to see how it all shakes out. Given that Toyota has invested over $1 billion by expanded the Tacoma plant it owns in Mexico, I’d say that Lentz is not bluffing. Given how much Toyota has fought and overcome in the past, I would say they have a chance to climb the hill but it is still quite the hill to climb.