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Toyota engineer: We’re making Tundras, not war

Toyota is moving all of its body-on-frame vehicles onto a single, unified platform it calls F1. Under the unified platform, the front portion of the platform is shared, as is the rear, with the size of the center box altered for different wheelbases, Sweers said.

The first vehicle to make the jump was the recently launched next-generation Land Cruiser, which is no longer sold in the U.S., while the Tundra is second, to be followed by the Sequoia, Tacoma and 4Runner in the U.S. Other global body-on-frame Toyota vehicles, including the popular Toyota Hilux pickup, will also move to the new platform.

Sweers, who has been with Toyota since 1990 and lead engineer on the Tundra since 2010, said the redesigned pickup benefited from the new unified platform strategy because it enabled additional off-road capabilities borrowed from the Land Cruiser, while the Land Cruiser picked up additional towing capacity. Though fuel economy numbers aren’t yet available, he also promised the Tundra’s numbers will be “competitive,” given the engine switch from the current 5.7-liter V-8 to a turbocharged V-6.

Sweers, who operates a farm in mid-Michigan and spent more than 18 months on assignment in Japan developing the F1 platform, said the biggest factor that will drive the next-generation Tundra with customers will be the pickup’s durability, something buyers rely on. He said as development started, Toyota repurchased a current-generation Tundra that had been driven more than 1 million miles by a customer and tore it down, looking for any items that wore and could be improved.

“Our customers take great pride in getting 500,000 or 600,000 miles out of their truck,” Sweers said, “and I need to protect for that [many miles] or more.”

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