Toyota Plans Revamped Mid-Sized Pickup as GM Rejoins Competition

Toyota Motor Corp. plans an all-new version of its Tacoma mid-sized pickup next year to compete with General Motors Co.’s 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, a revived model that was named truck of the year by Motor Trend magazine.

Toyota will show revamped Tacoma and make an official announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for the Toyota City, Japan-based company’s U.S. sales arm, said in an interview.

The new Tacoma will intensify competition in mid-sized pickups, a segment in which GM has emerged after a two-year hiatus. GM is challenging Toyota and Nissan Motor Co. with a truck that offers more creature comforts in the cabin and increased power under the hood than its previous offering.

“It’s a market we’ve had almost to ourselves in the last couple of years,” Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president, said in an interview. “We’ve been there a long time and have been the dominant player. We have a very satisfied owner group.”

Motor Trend announced yesterday that GM’s Colorado won its annual award, giving the pickup a lift as it goes on sale. GM began shipping the pickup to dealers in September.

Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president for global product development, said in an interview at the award presentation that Chevrolet is already getting some buyers who are trading in from other brands and that the Detroit-based company is taking aim at customers in California, where Toyota and Nissan, with its Frontier mid-sized pickup, have a strong presence.

Western Competition

“We think it will be successful competing against some of the trucks on the West Coast,” he said. “We’re selling trucks to people we haven’t seen before.”

The new Colorado is more expensive than the model the company sold two years ago. GM expects most of the trucks to sell for more than $30,000, Tim Mahoney, Chevy’s chief marketing officer, said in a November interview.

Toyota isn’t worried about losing too many buyers to the GM brand, Carter said.

“We typically don’t see a lot of cross-shopping between Toyota and Chevy,” he said. “We see more cross-shopping with Ford.”

For both companies, the risk is that some buyers will choose the Colorado or Tacoma instead of their Chevy Silverado or Toyota Tundra large pickups. That can means smaller profit per sale.

“That happens, but there’s not a lot of that,” Carter said.

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