Toyota to shift production toward light trucks

Toyota to shift production toward light trucks

Toyota’s car/truck mix is currently running at an even 50/50 split, but the Japanese automaker is hoping to skew that ratio in favor of light trucks during the 2017 calendar year.

Toyota has traditionally been a car-heavy manufacturer, but the company will adjust its production mix 60/40 in favor of light trucks to keep up with market demands. Toyota will lean on its all-new C-HR compact crossover to spearhead that transition. Unveiled at this year’s Los Angeles auto show, Toyota is already expecting big things from the little crossover.

“It’s not always that Toyota has a product that will stand out in the market,” Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota division, told Automotive News, “but we’re optimistic based on the feedback we’ve gotten so far.”

The C-HR will compete in the popular compact crossover segment against vehicles like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Juke.

Toyota will also boost production of its RAV4 and Highlander crossover in 2017 to keep up with demand. Supplies of those vehicles have been tight in recent months.

“I’m very optimistic for 2017, because we’ll have a better supply of RAV and Highlander,” Fay said. “We’ll launch this beautiful C-HR and will be in a much better position to meet customer demand on the sport-utility side of things.”

Toyota’s truck offerings, the Tacoma mid-size and Tundra full-size, continue to sell at a good clip, but both nameplates will be production constrained in 2017. The factories that make the Tacoma and Tundra are already running at full speed, and a plant upgrade won’t come on line until late 2017 at the earliest.

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