The Toyota Tacoma entered the year in an enviable position. Soaking up nearly half of all sales in the growing midsize pickup segment, the venerable nameplate’s spot on top of podium seemed unshakable.
Eight months later, Toyota seems spooked. The Tacoma’s market share is eroding, down to 38 percent of the midsize segment in August as its competitors surge. To stay ahead, the automaker plans to send a bundle of cash south of the border to boost production, Automotive News reports.
Part of Toyota’s problem is a restricted flow of product from its Tijuana, Mexico assembly plant, which has the capacity to make about 100,000 Tacomas a year. That just won’t do, so Toyota will now invest $150 million to increase output to 160,000 units per year.
Tight inventories have put a damper on sales. By opening up the product faucet, Toyota hopes to power ahead of its biggest competitors — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
According to TTAC’s Timothy Cain, the midsize pickup market saw 39 percent year-over-year sales growth in August. The GM twins took 31 percent of the segment, while a revitalized Honda Ridgeline and resurgent Nissan Frontier also saw gains. The Tacoma saw its market share slip further as well as its sales, which were down 5 percent over the previous month.
A production boost is key to stay ahead of GM, as the General recently punted its commercial van production to Navistar in a bid to free up capacity for the Colorado and Canyon.
Toyota’s Tijuana plant reportedly runs 24/7 on weekdays, with two shifts on Saturday. A third shift was added last year. Tacomas also roll out of the automaker’s San Antonio, Texas plant, where a Saturday shift was added this year.