Cross-border Agreement: Midsize Truck Buyers on Both Sides of the 49th Parallel Seem Equally Enamored With One Model


Tacoma TRD Teaser CAS 2018

One country waves the stars and stripes; the other, a big, red maple leaf. One calls those rain catchment thingies gutters, the other (or at least parts of it) insists on calling them eavestroughs. The differences are vast.

Despite their cultural and regulatory peculiarities, both Americans and Canadians seem to agree that the Toyota Tacoma‘s sales should only ever go in an upward direction. So far this year, buyers on both sides of the border provided nearly identical sales growth for the midsize pickup.

It’s a good thing Toyota worked out its production constraints.

Despite two fewer selling days in April, Tacoma volume rose 10.6 percent, year over year, in the U.S. last month. That’s the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth. Over the first four months of 2018, Tacoma sales are up 20 percent compared to the same period last year.

Sadly, we don’t have the data to contrast its performance with the Chevrolet Colorado, the segment’s second best-selling midsizer. (Before it moved to quarterly sales reporting, GM reported that Colorado sales rose 29.1 percent, year to date, in the first three months of 2018.)

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro - Image: Toyota

The story north of the border is much the same. Nearly identical, actually. In Canada, Tacoma sales rose 11.6 percent, year over year, in April. Year to date, Tacoma volume rose 20.5 percent over the same period in 2017. It seems the two countries formed a pact.

Helping Toyota in its quest to peddle as many Tacomas as possible are steps taken in the past couple of years to boost production at two sites. The automaker added a Saturday shift at its San Antonio, Texas assembly plant in 2016, bolstering existing efforts to lower assembly cycle times. There’s three shifts on the go at its Tijuana facility.

Last year, Toyota announced its proposed Guanajuato, Mexico facility would not produce the Corolla, as planned, but will instead assemble the Tacoma. The compact sedan, already in production in both Ontario and Mississippi, will set up shop at a joint Toyota-Mazda plant in Huntsville, Alabama. Tacoma production at the new Mexican plant should kick off in 2020.

As for the vehicle itself, it seems Toyota doesn’t want to mess with a good thing. The 2019 model year shouldn’t bring any major changes for the Tacoma, though TRD Pro buyers gain the option of adding a snorkel to their off-road spec pickup.

[Images: Toyota]