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Toyota preparing Tacoma factory for a successful 2015 and 2016

Tacoma will not surge in 2015, but 2016 could be a huge year for the popular Toyota truck.

We wish we could be telling you today that the Tacoma has a new drivetrain, upgraded interior and many new features to enable it to give the excellent new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon a run for their money. We had our fingers crossed these changes would be made for 2015, but we know now that Toyota is holding off until 2016.

2016 Toyota Tacoma
One small announcement gives us some hope that the upcoming 2016 Toyota Tacoma might be something pretty special. Toyota’s excellent PR network recently tipped us off that the Baja California facility that assembles Tacomas is adding a third (and final) shift to its operations. The expansion of capacity is expected to take until Q2 of 2015 to complete. That will be just before the model year 2016 Tacoma is announced. The move adds 300 new jobs to the site. Mike Bafan, TMMBC president was quoted as saying, “Moving to three shifts allows us to fully utilize capacity and meet customer demand.”

Toyota Ramping Up Truck Production
Adding 30% more capacity at a facility is not unusual in this automotive climate, but despite Toyota’s claim that truck sales are way up, Tacoma sales have not been. The Tundra is on a multi-year increase slope, and except for last month, the Tacoma is on a monthly slide that goes back well into last year. Most automakers don’t add a third shift to a facility making a truck that’s sales have been down.

Details on 2016 Tacoma Secret
Our contacts at Toyota have not said anything to us about the 2016 Tacoma, but pretty much every truck expert is convinced the next model year of the Taco will at least have a new transmission, upgraded interior audio and Nav options, and maybe a new engine. The current six cylinder used in the Tacoma has roughly the same horsepower and torque that the new 2.0-liter turbo in the Lexus NX does. The 2.0 turbo is dramatically more fuel efficient when coupled to a 6-speed automatic. The new Colorado and Canyon have better fuel efficiency in their 6-cylinder offerings that the Tacoma does in its 4-cylinder offerings.

Ford's 2015 F-150 and Chevy's Colorado hit Toyota Tundra and Tacoma with one-two punch
Toyota's secret plan for the Tacoma to match the new Chevy Colorado


Robert (not verified)    October 24, 2014 - 11:22AM

Doesn't the removal of the 4.0 from the Tundra lineup and the death of the FJ almost ensure that the Tacoma is getting a new powertrain?

The 2.0t is a nice option, and the sales of the 2.7t from Ford over the next year might give Toyota confidence about their decision or scare the bejesus out of them if it fails...and that seems a little risky for conservative Toyota.

Are there any other viable options outside of the 2.0t and the Highlander V6? The Ecoboost success has to have Toyota convinced the 2.0 is viable, BUT this is Toyota we are talking about and they are often timid without solid market analysis. Do you think they'd consider the Highlander V6 for the first year or two and then if/when the 2.0 stops (I'm guessing) being built exclusively in Japan, we could see it find itself into Toyotas for both in North and South America?

John Goreham    October 24, 2014 - 2:47PM

In reply to by Robert (not verified)

My preference would be the Highlander V6 for sure. I love that engine. It is bullet-proof, pretty fuel efficient, and it would be easy to drop in. A modernized V6 with direct injection, some cool transmission features, AWD as an option to 4WD, and other fuel saving tricks like stop-start (with an off-switch), active shutters, I-VVTI, and such might be a very interesting stand-alone Tacoma. Keep the old-school one and see which gets sold.

Scott (not verified)    December 21, 2014 - 11:13PM

In reply to by Robert (not verified)

Prepare to be disappointed.. Toyota is going to screw you Tacoma owners just like they screwed the Tundra Owners. They will take away choice and bundle the best options in their limited models. The drive-trains will remain the same (except for the ones they are removing as options) and they will give you a makeover of the interior and exterior thats it. This new Toyota is penny pinching and cheap.

David (not verified)    October 28, 2014 - 12:26AM

I think the tacoma looks awesome as it is and I hope that the spy photos are for the 2016. As for the rest of it the inside feels a little cheap apart from the entune head unit. And frankly as reliable as the drive train is, it it's significantly underpowered especially for the fuel economy.

Ryan (not verified)    October 29, 2014 - 6:37PM

If the third generation Tacoma will indeed be a global platform like the Ranger, ie an Americanized HiLux, I'll just go buy a used 2015 and be done with it.
The 2.0 turbo might be fine for a car, but not for a truck that needs to haul/tow on occasion as most mid-sized trucks do.
I currently have the 2.7 in my Tacoma and it's fine, because I don't haul more than a dirt bike here and there.

Robert (not verified)    October 30, 2014 - 1:09AM

In reply to by Ryan (not verified)

You realize Ford's 2.7 is rated somewhere in the neighborhood to tow 8k pounds?

Do you think Toyota, the same Toyota who had rock solid production turbos before anyone even considered them for CAFE ratings, can't make a turbo capable of performing truck duties for a mid size pickup?

I'm not implying you can't have your own opinion regarding turbo engines, but with what we know about Toyota, it's unlikely their 2.0 can't compete.

Daniel (not verified)    September 11, 2015 - 3:58PM

In reply to by Robert (not verified)

Hate to burst your bubble but a 2.7 barely towing 8000 pounds is now where near impressive . It's almost shameful an a waste of metals . Every one wants tougher stronger trucks but no one wants to pay for it . So the factories went with smaller engines with "ecoboost". Sorry to say but as a mechanic of 15+ years these motors are crap , anything eco period. Sensors on top of sensors on top of sensors they just complicated the engine more an made them to where they use less gas . But in a truck I want that power I want that torque , I don't want to look at a job an wonder if my truck can take the beating . I don't want to worry about my turbo boost leaking or if I'll blow my transmission . Time to step it up car/truck companies don't penny pinch

Mr Knowitall (not verified)    November 4, 2014 - 6:39PM

The low sales numbers on the Tacoma have little to do with lack of demand- rather supply- it has one of the shortest time-on-lot month after month. But as margin on the Tundra is better, it gets favored for production allotment at TMMTX- that's why they're adding a shift to Baja.

Hazlink (not verified)    November 14, 2014 - 12:30AM

I'm thinking the same as Mr Knowitall, I believe they are moving Tacoma production time to the Baja plant and increasing production at TMMTX for the Tundra. Toyota seems to be more focused on the Tundra with adding a Diesel engine for the 2017 model. The Tacoma seems to be an afterthought at this time, Tacoma still owns the DS pickup market although temporary with Chev./GMC Colorado and Nissan Frontier making big moves with there engine lineup. The Baja plant might not need that 3rd shift. Its simple Toyota new engines 2.something 4 cyl, 3.5L direct injection V6 and a diesel.

Josh (not verified)    November 26, 2014 - 4:30PM

I believe this is a foolish move. Real truck guys want big engines, not these tuner car 4 bangers. They should put a V8 5.7 out of the Tundra in the Tacoma. I would never buy a 4 cyl truck, nor would I ever buy a junk GM product. The new GM lines look like a lifted cavalier/cobalt. That is the girliest looking truck I have ever seen. I will stick to my 2012 with the gas gruzzeling 4.0l. I like having aftermarket exhaust on my trucks so I can hear them as well and a 4cyl in it would make it sound like a Honda civic. Not to mention a turbo 4cyl will run extremely hot when towing, look at the problems Ford had.

Eric (not verified)    December 9, 2014 - 12:45PM

HI I have a 07 taco 4 L v6.
love it. looking to buy a new one and now side tracked with what the 2016 will be.
better fuel economy wanted for sure. better electronics make sense in this quickly changing world, especially one that allows software upgrades as we get with pretty much all operating systems.
this talk of down powered new tacos has me worried. I like passing quickly.
looks I'm not super worried about. any comments.