Toyota to trim truck lineup, add more hybrid vehicles

Toyota’s new President Akio Toyoda is rewriting the playbook to revive the brand’s battered sales and tattered image in the United States. Toyoda plans on reviewing a possible trim in the full-frame truck lineup, skipping mid-cycle vehicle enhancements to focus on bigger launches, introducing more hybrids to the North American market and giving U.S. engineers a bigger voice in the company’s research and development.

Executives told Automotive News that Toyota plans on making a bigger splash with model launches that tailor to the North American market. For beginners, research and development for North American vehicles will be moved to Toyota’s U.S. technical centers.

“Through this shift in responsibility, we expect the vehicles will more closely reflect the needs of U.S. consumers,” Atsushi Niimi, executive vice president in charge of North America and global production, said. “We want the r&d team of North America to have a louder voice in what is exported from Japan to their market.”

The move comes as Toyota moved from its biggest profit to its largest loss in just one year.

– By: Stephen Calogera