LAS VEGAS — Toyota's heavy-duty diesel truck rumblings are getting louder.
At the Specialty Equipment Market Association show here last week, Toyota Motor Corp. quietly parked in its display of wild tuner cars the Tundra Diesel Dually, a concept truck that could be a template for Toyota's entry into heavy-duty pickups.
The Tundra Diesel Dually shows how quickly Toyota can field an entry to challenge the top-selling Ford Super Duty pickups, GM's heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra and Chrysler's heavy-duty Dodge Ram.
The Tundra Diesel Dually uses off-the-shelf parts from Toyota, its affiliate companies and suppliers. It has:
- An 8.0-liter inline-six turbocharged diesel engine from Hino, Toyota's large truckmaking affiliate.
- Hino medium-duty axles.
- The body from a regular Tundra CrewMax.
- A lengthened Tundra frame.
- An Eaton five-speed manual transmission.
A sign near the truck read: "The Tundra Diesel Dually is a study in contrasts that demonstrates Toyota's commitment to exploring new ideas."
Toyota has long been expected to build a big diesel-powered version of the Tundra, but the automaker had said only that it was studying the idea.
The Diesel Dually, which features four rear wheels with 22.5-inch tires, shows Toyota could jump into the market quickly.
A spokesman for Hino said the engine is too big for the Tundra but could be scaled down to around 6.0 liters. He said Toyota has not decided whether it wants an inline six-cylinder engine — a layout used by the Dodge Ram diesel — or a V-8, which is used by Ford and GM diesel trucks. Toyota, he said, has not chosen an engine supplier for the truck.
The Diesel Dually features a tan leather interior; huge, stubby shifter; sunroof; and navigation system. Its huge flared rear wheel wells and beefy looks give the truck a mean look. It is about the size of a Ford F-350 diesel.