Why Is No One Buying the Toyota Tacoma?

The Toyota Tacoma is not having a great year. Its sales were down for the first quarter of 2022 and then they fell further in April. It would be easy to blame lagging Tacoma sales on an industry-wide trend. But with sales of the all-new 2022 Tundra on the rise, it’s obvious that the redesigned full-size Toyota truck made the Tacoma obsolete.

Multiple trucks are experiencing a sales slump

Toyota Tacoma pickup truck parked in front of a mountain range for a promo shot.
2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Toyota

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According to the analysts at GoodCarBadCar, multiple trucks are experiencing declining sales this spring. In the first quarter of 2022, Ram sold 21,721 less trucks than last year. The Ford F-Series‘ sales are down 28.83% year to date (YTD), which means Ford’s sold 77,000 less full-size trucks than this time last year. Worse yet, Ford Ranger sales are down 38.46% YTD: Ford’s sold 14,218 less mid-size trucks than last year.

The perennially-strong-selling Toyota Tacoma is not immune to this latest slump. Tacoma sales are down 21.86% YTD. At this point in 2021, Toyota had sold 90,897 Tacomas. But so far in 2022, the automaker has only moved 71,025 midsize trucks. That means Toyota has sold 19,873 less Tacomas than this time last year.

But one truck is not experiencing a drop in sales. In fact, Toyota sold 14.26% more Tundras than this time last year.

The 2022 Toyota Tundra made the 2022 Toyota Tacoma obsolete

Publicity still of a red Toyota Tundra pickup truck parked atop a pile of rocks.
2022 Toyota Tundra Limited | Toyota

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When Toyota redesigned the Tundra for its full-size pickup truck’s third generation, it used the opportunity to fix issues many people have with full-size trucks. But in doing so, Toyota may have inadvertently made its own Tacoma obsolete.

Why do people choose midsize trucks over full-size trucks? You might say it’s because midsize trucks are more capable off-road, more comfortable on-road, and better on fuel. Toyota addressed all three of these concerns with its latest Tundra.

Firstly, Toyota tossed the Tundra’s inefficient naturally-aspirated V8 and designed a new fuel sipper. Every 2022 Tundra comes with some version of a twin-turbocharged V6. This engine can make more power than the old V8 and returns much better mileage. While the Tacoma is still more efficient, it only gets about 1 mpg more in every metric.

Toyota also migrated the 2022 Tundra to a chassis shared with its new Land Cruiser 300. This chassis uses a fully-boxed frame and composite bed to save weight. It also glides down the highway on rear leaf springs and available air suspension.

Finally, the new Tundra received a suite of driver aids. These include off-road driver aids previously only available on the Tacoma. The Tundra boasts low-speed cruise control and multi-terrain-select (MTS) that uses its ABS to prevent wheel spin in low traction scenarios. The Tundra is available with 360 degree cameras, automatic trailer backup, and every trim has lane-keep assist cruise control.

Will the Tundra replace the Tacoma?

A midsize Toyota Tacoma pickup truck drives along a dirt, mountain road.
2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Toyota

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Sales numbers show that thousands of truck buyers are comparing the Tundra and Tacoma, then leaving a Toyota dealership with a 2022 Tundra. But the Tacoma is still Toyota’s best-selling truck, for now.

Said another way, by this time in 2021, Toyota had sold three times as many Tacomas as Tundras. At this point in 2022, Toyota has sold slightly more than twice as many Tacomas as Tundras.

What’s more, the redesigned Tacoma is on its way. Toyota will drop its fully redesigned fourth-generation Tacoma for the 2023 model year. Will a more advanced Tacoma take its market share back from the Tundra and spur a sales surge? We’ll have to wait to find out.

See the 2022 Toyota Tacoma and Tundra go head-to-head in the video below:

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