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Old 12-10-2007, 10:15 AM   #1
NYCshopper
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Default Toyota cuts production of Tundra at US plants

Toyota cuts production of Tundra at US plants

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a42a4b98-a...0779fd2ac.html



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Toyota has sharply scaled back production of its flagship Tundra pick-up truck in North America, joining the three Detroit-based carmakers in adjusting to softening demand.

Toyota produced close to 18,300 of the big pick-ups at plants in Texas and Indiana last month, a 29 per cent drop from October and almost a quarter below the August-October average.

The Japanese carmaker described the reduction as normal because January and February are normally slow selling months.

However, the cut in Tundra output is significantly bigger than for other Toyota vehicles. Production of the Tacoma light pick-up and the Camry saloon was 12 per cent lower last month than October.

In an effort to boost sales, Toyota is offering low-interest financing or cash rebates of $2,000 on 2008 Tundra models. The rebate on a 2007 model is typically $3,000.

"The Tundra isn't immune to a softening economy," said Erich Merkle, analyst at IRN, a Michigan-based consultancy. Mr Merkle noted that Tundra sales have slid from a peak of 23,150 in July to 15,000 in November.

The US housing slump and high fuel prices have knocked demand for big pick-ups. Building contractors are important pick-up customers.

Total full-size pick-up sales were 8.3 per cent lower in November than a year earlier, according to Autodata, a market research company. The trucks are also among carmakers' most profitable vehicles.

General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler all plan temporary shutdowns of their pick-up assembly lines over the next few weeks to bring supply and inventories into line with demand.

Chrysler will close two US plants for the whole of January and one in Mexico for two weeks.

Competition is set to intensify in 2008, not just because of weakening demand but also the introduction of new Ford F-Series and Dodge Ram models.

Toyota has described the latest Tundra model, launched this year, as its most important vehicle since entering the North American market 50 years ago.

A new Tundra plant in San Antonio, Texas, is still not operating at full capacity. Toyota has boosted output by moving production from another plant in Indiana, which also makes minivans and sport-utility vehicles.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:50 PM   #2
daveyboy
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Big surprise.
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