Can the Toyota Tundra go toe-to-toe with the Ford F-150, and does it make sense to try? The F-150 is the most popular vehicle in the U.S., despite a 12 percent drop in sales. Ford still managed to sell 787, 422 F-150s in 2020. Toyota sold a little over 109,000 Tundras in 2020, down two percent from 2019. While that sounds like the Tundra did well, it only outran the Nissan Titan.
For all the Tundra’s reliability and dependability, it didn’t make the top 25 vehicles sold in America in 2020. The F-150 receives updates all the time, while it’s been quite awhile since the Tundra hit the refresh button. Why does this make a difference? The Chevrolet Silverado was the second most popular vehicle at 586,675 units. The Ram pickup, with 563,676 sold, was third.
The Tundra is dated. Consumers like new trucks. What does it tell you when the GMC Sierra finishes in the top ten (ninth, with 253,016 sales), and sales went up nine percent in 2020? We may quibble about the front fascia designs or headlight placement, but it does start a conversation.
Comparing the base Tundra to the lowest-level F-150, there’s about $5,000 difference between them. Yes, you get more standard features on the Tundra than the F-150, but some of them are safety related, or entertainment upgrades. That’s not going to appeal to someone who wants or needs a basic work truck with as few frills as possible, and that’s another reason why Tundra sales are what they are.
Is it the country of origin? Maybe it is, at least when it comes to pickup trucks. Even though the Titan is assembled in Canton, Mississippi, that’s not the same as being built in the D. Detroit, Motor City. No so for the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, or the Honda Civic, all top picks.
Maybe there’s some hope for the new 2022 Toyota Tundra. This will be its third generation, and Toyota is usually very good at moving in the right direction.