Toyota T100: Why Toyota’s Full-Size Truck Failed
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Today, Toyota trucks are some of the most popular on the market. The Tundra has consistently high ratings and remains in high demand among consumers. It might be surprising to learn that Toyota’s first real attempt to conquer the full-size pickup market, the T100, was a dismal failure that was only in production for five years.
Why did the T100 prove to be a disappointment, what was it up against, and how did Toyota turn things around with the Tundra?
The full-size truck market
The Toyota T100 fell short of the mark.
American drivers have a long-standing love affair with pickup trucks. This year, CNBC reports that pickup trucks make up five of the top 10 best-selling vehicles. In fact, trucks are so popular that manufacturers have had supply issues during the pandemic, and some models have become scarce.
Pickups started out as strictly utilitarian work vehicles, useful to farmers and other workers who needed hauling capacity. By the ‘70s, however, manufacturers were adding details such as extended cabs that made these trucks more attractive for families and other uses.
As this Car and Driver slideshow illustrates, the range of pickup trucks has evolved to include powerful heavy haulers, luxury options, and family-friendly models.
The Toyota T100
As Toyoland explains, the Toyota T100 was first introduced in 1993. The first model came with a 150-horsepower V6 engine, was only available with a regular cab, and had manual or automatic transmission available. It had a fair amount of interior storage and a bed that could carry a reasonable amount of cargo.
Over the next few years, Toyota added a few more options to the T100 model, including an extended cab and more powerful V6 engines. The last model was produced in 1997, and the following year the T100 became the Toyota Tundra.
Why the Toyota T100 failed
Based on Toyoland’s review, the T100 wasn’t a terrible full-size truck. It provided a smooth driving experience and, while it never had the most powerful engine, it seems to have been adequate. The truck’s failure may have had more to do with the competition it was up against in the market.
Although the T100’s engine was boosted over the years, there was never a V8 option, which virtually all of the other trucks in its category had. Many of the interior details weren’t particularly well-designed, like cup holders that allowed cups to tilt and spill. The price point was a bit high, and the truck’s gas mileage wasn’t impressive.
Toyoland concludes that the T100 might have been more successful if it was marketed against smaller, less-powerful trucks like the Dodge Dakota.
The Tundra, with a V8 engine and higher towing capacity, is a better competitor among full-size pickup trucks. Whether you need a pickup for heavy hauling on the job, or just for hauling your family to a campsite, there are plenty of solid options today.
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