It’s a trend that’s gaining traction in the industry: developing platforms that can serve as the foundation of several different models. Quite simply, the trend is driven by the significant cost savings companies can benefit from in doing so.
Although most often, this approach is used for cars and SUVs, not pickups.
Toyota is looking to change that. According to Automotive News, the automaker intends to use the same modular architecture to develop the next generations of its full-size Tundra truck and the smaller Tacoma.
The new platform already has a name internally at Toyota, F1. Producing both models on this new foundation would be made easier by the fact that both the Tacoma and Tundra are produced at the same Toyota plant in San Antonio, Texas (the Tacoma is also assembled at a plant in Mexico).
The F1 could also eventually underpin other models, for example the next-generation 4Runner, which has remained virtually unchanged for nearly 10 years. In markets outside North America, the Toyota Hilux could also welcome the new platform. The Sequoia SUV would be yet another candidate.
Just how the company would go about producing such a versatile new platform is not yet known. It does appear, however, that the next-gen 4Runner and Sequoia models would retain their current body-on-frame structures.
This is good news indeed for fans of off-roading; a 4Runner built on a unibody chassis wouldn’t really be a 4runner anymore, now would it?
The report in Automotive News also indicates that the first model to ride on the new F1 platform could be ready next year as a 2021 model.
For the moment, Toyota has refrained from commenting officially on the report.