Texas-made no.1 Tundra, Debuted

By: Stacey Wilson


The new Tundra debuted last Friday in Texas. Said debut was made in front of Texas local and state officials and Toyota workers.

"Texas, and not the frozen Arctic, is the new home of the Tundra,'' said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who later drew on an old Toyota slogan. "Toyota, you've got a new home and all I can say is, 'Oh, what a feeling!'''

According to the automaker, its 204,380 square-meter manufacturing plant and onsite suppliers would mean 4,000 jobs. Most of the jobs are for locals. About 200,000 jobs will work on for full-size Tundras, which will be revamped for 2007.

The Texas plant will also serve as an aggressive rival for F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram.

"These are the big, bad Texas trucks we've been waiting for," Don Esmond, senior vice-president of Toyota Motor Sales, said during a ceremony at the south San Antonio plant. "Just build as many of these trucks as fast as you can, because after what I've seen today, we can sell every one of them."

The Texas plant rolled out the "Triple TTT Ranch'' coupled with saddle, fence, and hay. Said plant is manufacturing 'training Tundras' since April this year. Nonetheless, the Tundras that debuted last Friday were dubbed as the official 'No.1' trucks from Texas plant. They come in red and blue colors. Their full production is expected to boom next spring.

Tundra trucks are also built at Toyota Princeton, Ind., plant. However, the pricing of the new Tundras has not been announced by the automaker. It is expected to hit dealerships in February. Andrea Hutchison, Toyota body welding worker in Texas, said that she would probably get red Tundra. She said, "It's been very exciting _ a lot of fun and a good learning experience."

Aside from promoting the new Texas-made Tundra, the automaker is also busy with other cause-oriented programs. It has recently announced a US$600,000 donation to the National Center for Family Literacy. Said donation will be used to fund a literacy program in the school district where the new Toyota plant is situated.

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