Toyota Motor Corp. plans to decide within two months whether it will get into the full-size pickup truck market, a segment dominated by Ford and Chevrolet, a Toyota executive said.
Bob McCurry, executive vice president of Toyota's U.S. marketing arm, is a strong backer of the plan and estimates he has a 50-50 chance of getting approval from Japan for the truck.If Toyota executives in Japan approve the project, the largest Japanese automaker will become the first overseas company to market a full-size pickup in the United States.
Production could begin as soon as two years after approval is granted, said McCurry. He spoke at the Detroit Auto Show, an annual showcase for carmakers.
One of the big problems holding up the decision to go ahead with the project is finding a place to build the truck. McCurry said there is no available capacity in the United States or Canada, including Toyota's recently announced decision to expand its Georgetown, Ky., assembly complex.
"Obviously, we'd have to go to Japan," he said. That means a full-size Toyota imported pickup truck would be subject to a 25 percent tariff, a fee that would boost the price of the vehicle.
However, McCurry said he didn't plan to compete head-to-head with Ford or Chevrolet pickup trucks. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. don't supply specific figures, but full-size pickup trucks are among the companies' most-profitable vehicles.