Why Is No One Buying Toyota Pickup Trucks?

Toyota pickup trucks are not having a great year. Toyota has not redesigned its Tacoma pickup in over seven years and sales of the aging midsize truck are slumping. The automaker did re-engineer its full-size Tundra truck for the 2022 model year, spurring a short sales boom. But by Q2 of 2022, it appears the Tundra’s sales are falling off–just like every other full-size truck.

The Toyota Tacoma’s sales are falling

Promotional photo of a Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck parked in the mountains, in front of a lake.
2022 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

RELATED: 2022 Toyota Tacoma Failed to Win Consumer Reports Most Reliable Compact Truck

The Toyota Tacoma is easily the most popular midsize pickup truck. By the end of June 2021, Toyota had sold 139,296 Tacomas–according to GoodCarBadCar.com. That is more units sold than the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier–combined.

Fast forward to the end of June 2022 and Toyota had only sold 108,648 Tacomas. That is a 22% drop in sales. At the same time, the Canyon, Colorado, and Frontier are all enjoying a sales increase. New compact truck models, such as the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick are seeing a sales boom as well.

So why is the Tacoma falling out of favor? Firstly, the technology in the Toyota Tacoma is lagging behind its segment. Toyota has not re-engineered the Tacoma since 2015. Meanwhile, the Ford Ranger received a redesign for 2019. Nissan gave the Frontier a full visual redesign for 2021 and General Motors refreshed both the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado for 2021.

In addition, a new breed of compact truck threatens to make the midsize pickup obsolete. With a starting price under $20k and a highway fuel efficiency above 40 mpg, the new Ford Maverick is impossible to ignore.

Finally, the Tacoma’s stiffest competition may come from inside Toyota itself: The third-generation Tundra appears to be aimed at midsize truck drivers.

The redesigned Toyota Tundra addresses several full-size truck problems

Red Toyota Tundra 4x4 pickup truck driving away down a country road, a train visible in the background.
2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

RELATED: 1 in Every 200 Texas Workers Owes Their Job to the Toyota Tundra

Toyota unveiled an all-new third-generation Tundra for the 2022 model year. The latest Tundra is very much a full-size truck, with road presence, payload capacity, and a respectable tow rating. But at the same time, Toyota addressed several traditional full-size pickup truck problems with the Tundra redesign.

Many pickup truck buyers are hesitant to choose full-size pickup trucks for fear of poor fuel mileage. With a naturally-aspirated 5.7-liter V8 and outdated six-speed automatic transmission, the 2021 Tundra’s fuel mileage trailed behind much of the half-ton truck segment. But for 2022, Toyota opted for a twin-turbocharged V6 and ten-speed automatic.

The new Tundra’s premium engine option is actually a hybrid drivetrain. The EPA rated the 2WD Tundra equipped with the new i-FORCE MAX engine for 20 city/24 highway mpg (22 combined). This actually improves on the 2WD V6 Tacoma’s 19 city/24 highway (21 combined)–while boasting nearly twice the towing capacity.

Other drivers are intimidated by navigating tight traffic or off-road trails in a full-size pickup truck. While the new Tundra is limited by its size and weight, Toyota uses several driver aids to court midsize truck owners. The new Tundra is available with the standard backup camera and a forward-facing trail camera. It also features multi-terrain select (MTS) that prevents wheel spin and two types of off-road cruise controls: CRAWL and hill descent.

Toyota Tundra sales are slipping

Advertising photo of a red Toyota Tundra pickup truck parked atop a pile of rocks.
2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

RELATED: The Most Cost-Effective Way to Option a Toyota Tacoma May Be To Buy a Tundra Instead

The third generation of the Tundra proved popular with Toyota truck fans during the first quarter of 2022. But its sales boom is slipping away. In fact, Toyota sold 7,624 2021 Tundras during June 2021. But during June 2022, this number dropped 6.9% to just 7,098 Tundras sold.

Overall, Toyota sold 43,865 Tundras by July 1st, 2022. That’s a 1.03% increase over the same period of 2021.

But Toyota is not the only automaker struggling to sell full-size pickup trucks in 2022. During the same period of 2022, GMC Sierra sales are down 14%, Ford F-Series sales are down 17%, and Ram truck sales are down 21%.

Next, learn why no one is buying the Ford F-150 or watch the 2022 Tacoma and Tundra go head-to-head in the video below:

RELATED: Toyota Hopes You Trade Your Tacoma In for a Tundra