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Toyota Tacoma Predictions For 2017 - The Wildcard is Diesel

Toyota's Tacoma heads into 2017 the segment leader. Will it continue to lead in ways other than sales?

2016 was a great year for the Toyota Tacoma. The Tacoma TRD Off-road hit full production from the outset of the year and the TRD Pro was introduced in the fourth quarter. Month after month the Toyota Tacoma outsold the GM twins, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. Midsize pickup fever was an epidemic in the nation and even the older than dirt design of the Nissan Frontier took off and posted big sales numbers. Honda introduced a fantastic midsize truck that tops the Tacoma in many key ways except one. Attitude.

With the TRD Pro now launched Toyota has introduced the full range of enthusiast trucks in the Tacoma line. Although the TRD series trucks do make up a substantial portion of the Tacoma's sales, it received outsized reporting. The truth is the Limited, SR5, and SR make up approximately 60% of the Tacoma's sales historically. After the TRD Off-Road and Pro models have had their full launches they usually settle down in sales volume. That means that as 2017 progresses, Toyota will be looking to the more sedate Tacomas to keep sales up around the 16,000 units per month mark.

So how might Toyota continue to build enthusiasm in 2017? Sure, a "Special Edition" priced to sell with good content like Nav, A rear sliding Window, power seats and a few other popular accessories added in can bring in some sales, but those are not really enthusiast buyers. Toyota seems to have just one trick left if it wishes to continue to poke the interests of the real core Tacoma fans. Diesel.

Toyota has been against diesel for years. Yes, it will produce a diesel model in markets where the regulatory environment is predictable and amenable to high-emissions engines, but the U.S. is not, and Europe is about to get anti-diesel with a vengeance in 2017. Still, Toyota could buck the trend and introduce a limited number of diesel Tacomas with appropriate emissions controls (that means diesel fluid). If the company did so, it would take away the Chevy Colorado ZR2's main advantage. One problem might be that the 2.8-liter diesel GM imports from Thailand might be a bit more powerful and torquey than anything Toyota has available.