Toyota is thinking big thoughts about the redesigned compact Tacoma pickup it unveiled last week at the Chicago Auto Show.
It predicts sales of the 2005 model will rise 14 percent over the current model and says a second assembly plant likely will be added.
"By the end of the calendar year we may be producing Tacomas in Mexico," Toyota Division General Manager Don Esmond said. "The facility has capacity to produce 30,000 units."
The current Tacoma is produced at Toyota's NUMMI joint-venture plant in Fremont, Calif.
The 2005 Tacoma X-Runner Access Cab pickup introduced at the show is longer and wider than the 2004 model. The 2005 model has a 127.4-inch wheelbase, a 5-inch stretch over the 2004 model. The 2005 model's track is 4 inches wider, and the interior has 4.5 inches more shoulder room.
Sales begin in August.
The X-Runner is Tacoma's high-performance model. Two other trim levels, which were not on display, also will be offered.
In addition to suspension enhancements, the X-Runner has a reinforced frame, antilock brakes, a six-speed manual transmission and a 240-hp, 4.0-liter V-6.
Toyota promises 0-to-60 acceleration in about 7 seconds. For faster performance, a TRD-developed supercharger will be offered, creating 300 hp. A limited-slip differential is standard with both engines.
Options not previously offered include stability control and side-curtain airbags.
Toyota sold 154,154 Tacomas last year. Esmond expects sales to hit 175,000 units next year when full production is reached for the redesigned model.
"It is not that there are more carpenters and plumbers," he said. "It is more people are using these trucks for personal use."