Toyota cuts production of Tundra at US Plants

Toyota has sharply scaled back production of its flagship Tundra pick-up truck in North America, joining the three Detroit-based carmakers in adjusting to softening demand.

Toyota produced close to 18,300 of the big pick-ups at plants in Texas and Indiana last month, a 29 per cent drop from October and almost a quarter below the August-October average.

The Japanese carmaker described the reduction as normal because January and February are normally slow selling months.

However, the cut in Tundra output is significantly bigger than for other Toyota vehicles. Production of the Tacoma light pick-up and the Camry saloon was 12 per cent lower last month than October.

In an effort to boost sales, Toyota is offering low-interest financing or cash rebates of $2,000 on 2008 Tundra models. The rebate on a 2007 model is typically $3,000.

“The Tundra isn’t immune to a softening economy," said Erich Merkle, analyst at IRN, a Michigan-based consultancy. Mr. Merkle noted that Tundra sales have slid from a peak of 23,150 in July to 15,000 in November.

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