Toyota Rolls Out Tundra Prototypes

At the State Fair of Texas preview, Toyota rolled out for the first time two prototypes of its 2007 Tundra pickup truck, which will be assembled in its new billion-dollar truck plant in San Antonio.

Toyota has constructed a new truck plant in San Antonio to produce the 2007 Tundra. Its original projections were that the plant would amount to an investment of $850 million and create 2,000 new jobs. The plant has attracted more suppliers than anticipated from other states to build facilities on Toyota's site, and as a result, the total investment on the site has grown to well more than $1 billion and 4,100 new jobs.

Toby Hynes, president of Gulf States Toyota, the distributor in the five- state region, pointed out, "Dealers in the region are currently investing $600 million to bring their facilities up to the new Toyota standards. At GST, we are investing $70 million in a greatly expanded Vehicle Processing Center in Houston and other facilities ... so we can bring the highest levels of service to our customers."

Said Ernest Bastien, vice president of vehicle operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., "The plant is impressive. Huge coils of steel roll into one end of the plant, and finished pickup trucks roll out the other. Inside, there's some of the largest pieces of manufacturing equipment in the state," he said.

When it goes on sale next February, the new 2007 Toyota Tundra will be available in 31 different models, with three engine choices -- a fuel-sipping 4.0 liter V6, a 4.7 liter V8, and an all-new 5.7 liter V8. The truck boasts a towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds.

The new Double Cab long bed truck, which will be seen at the fair for the first time, has an eight-foot bed and a 165-inch wheelbase. The longest Tundra model, it is suitable for carrying a crew of six, plus cargo.

The Regular Cab long bed, also debuting at the fair, has extra storage space behind the driver's seat and what Toyota believes will be the largest interior volume in its class. The Regular Cab is available in a standard grade that includes heavy-duty vinyl flooring and content targeted specifically for work-related use.

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