Expect Lexus to release its own version of Toyota’s popular RAV4, whose production will be shifted to a new plant in Canada. Press was not willing to comment on suggestions that Toyota would be dropping the Solara coupe in favour of a new Camry based CUV, stating that “there’s no definitive plan as yet.” According to Wards, Toyota is working on another AWD model based on the Camry platform due in 2008 alongside a Lexus CUV based on the IS platform due that same year.
Toyota’s next move is to hit the American manufacturers where it really huts. Ford and GM’s Chevy division currently dominate U.S. truck sales, but now Toyota is aiming to muscle its way into the American market with its redesigned and Texan built 2007 Tundra. The new truck will tackle some of America’s best selling vehicles, the Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram and Ford’s F-Series pickup. Toyota has been expanding by building more plants in areas where they want to increase their business, a plan that has worked extremely well for them. The second prong of attack will be an association with NASCAR, with plans to enter a Camry into NASCAR’s Nextel Cup and Busch series by 2007.
The Big Three will be countering the Toyota assault by going the patriotic theme and connecting with America’s heartland. GM has hired John Mellencamp to record the “Our Country” advertising jingle, while Ford has been displaying its latest F-Series pickups at several state fairs.