Tacoma Baja Edition Reveal
State Fair of Texas
Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011
Bob Carter, Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager
Good afternoon everyone.
It’s always great to be in Dallas for the biggest state fair in the country. Like Texas itself, the State Fair is an important place for Toyota to debut new vehicles, especially trucks.
Two years ago, the all-new 4Runner made it’s global debut, and last year we introduced the updated Highlander and Highlander Hybrid, along with a couple of special edition Tundras.
Although we’re headquartered in Southern California, we consider Texas a second home because the Tundra has been built in our San Antonio plant since 2006, with the Tacoma coming on-line last summer.
As everyone knows, Texas is the epicenter of the full-size pick-up truck. But the Tundra is the only full-size truck built here, with the highest U.S. content of any full-size pickup on the market.
The San Antonio plant directly employs nearly 3,000 team members. In addition, Texas suppliers employ another 3,000 associates. And when you add Gulf States Toyota and our dealers, Toyota provides jobs for nearly 16,000 Texans. We’ve invested more than $1.3 billion dollars since we first broke ground in San Antonio in 2003, and when we brought the Tacoma to the San Antonio plant last year, it brought several hundred additional jobs to both the plant and our suppliers, creating an even more positive economic impact to the area and the state.
It’s due to the dedication of our San Antonio team members, and the excellent build quality they produce, that J.D. Power has named Tundra the “Most Dependable Large Pickup” for six years in a Row” in its Vehicle Dependability Study of three-year-old vehicles. Which monitors long-term durability over a three-year period, not just the first 90-days.
Thanks to their hard work and commitment, as well as their suppliers, production of Tundra and Tacoma restarted a couple of months earlier than we originally anticipated after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which affected our entire company.
Overall, Tacoma sales have been up slightly this year, even with the supply disruption. While Tundra sales were affected more by our low-stock situation, and are down this year, we’re seeing signs of encouragement in the full-size market with business use improving.
It’s an exciting time at Toyota, with a lot of new product coming out very soon. Looking ahead, we’ll introduce 20 new or updated products between now and 2013.
This Fall, we’ll have the Prius v, the Yaris, and the Scion iQ going on sale. I read over the summer about the Prius v was by a local journalist who called it “A Texas-sized Prius” because of its interior size and capacity. And speaking of Scion, were debuting for the first time the new Release Series xB and xD here at the State Fair, so go take a look over at the Scion display.
We’ve received a lot of great feedback from customers and others following our worldwide reveal of the all-new Camry on Aug. 23. Completely reinvented for 2012, Camry is the most technologically advanced Toyota ever built. In addition to its legendary quality, Camry features contemporary styling and adds best-in-class driving dynamics, refinement, safety features, fuel economy and connectivity.
Camry has always provided customers with the best value, and the new Camry delivers an unprecedented level of value to the lineup. In spite of all the new features and refinement we’ve added, prices on all popular models will be lower than they were before, including the Camry Hybrid. As a result, customers can now get more Camry for less money.
Gas-model Camrys will start reaching dealerships this week, with the 43-miles-per-gallon Camry Hybrid due to arrive in late fall.
I’m also looking forward to seeing the Camry pace the Daytona 500 next February.
But the first new or significantly enhanced vehicle is the 2012 Tacoma, which went on sale this month.
Toyota has a rich pickup-truck heritage in the U.S. that dates back more than 40 years, and the Tacoma has been the number one selling compact pickup since the eighth generation was introduced in 2005, while commanding nearly 40 percent market share, far outdistancing its competition.
Tacoma is tough, fun to drive, and has the best features in its class. It’s consistently recognized for its great value as well, including ALG, Cars.com, Edmunds, IntelliChoice, and Kelly Blue Book this year.
For 2012, Tacoma offers a new look inside and out, providing comfort, usability and infotainment.
On the outside, Tacoma shows a fresh face with a redesigned hood, grille, headlamps and front bumper, among others.
The interior also gets a great new look, with a new center-instrument panel and gauge cluster, a new steering wheel, and a redesigned center stack. Tacoma will also be among our first vehicles to get our new Entune multimedia system.
The main reason we’re here today is to give you the first look at an exciting new Tacoma we’re looking to bring to market next year.
Toyota has a rich heritage in Baja truck racing that dates back nearly three decades, and resulted in a number of Baja 500 and Baja 1000 championships with Ivan “Ironman” Stewart. Over the years, Toyota’s successful desert racing program has inspired numerous off-road products and packages, including the PreRunner, the TRD Off Road Package, the T