I don't know if you've noticed, but Toyota is making a run at the farmer/rural market segment.
At the Farm Progress Show, they hosted a ride and drive off-road course. I recently noticed an even bigger commitment to your segment.
For 2009 models, Toyota has announced a flex fuel version of its Sequoia and Tundra, both feature a 5.7 liter V8. If you previously scoffed at the notion of Toyota trucks because they didn't support ethanol, maybe it's time to rethink your position.
Earlier this year, I wrote an opinion piece on why I decided to purchase a Toyota RAV4. I received a letter saying it was sad that I didn't support American car manufacturers.
At the 2008 Farm Progress Show, farmers put the Toyota Tundra through the paces on its off-road course. With a flex fuel 5.7L engine available for 2009, Toyota seems to be making a push in the rural market segment.
I completely understand this line of thinking. If money were of no concern, I would buy only American cars. Since it is a concern, my purchases tend to be guided by Consumer Reports' ratings. In their ratings, Honda and Toyota tend to be tops when it comes to reliability and fuel consumption.
Also, remember I was in the market for a small SUV/car type vehicle. Power, off-road capability, and size weren't top priorities. The car segment is completely different from the full-size truck market. While Toyota and Honda tend to pull top ratings with cars, the same isn't necessarily true for trucks.
That being said, I need to mention that the Tundra's reliability ratings haven't been on par with Toyota standards. Plus, Ford, Dodge and Chevy have decades of truck-building experience over Toyota. Also, don't forget Chevy's recent commitment to demanding better fuel mileage out of their full-size trucks.
Of course, how well the dealer stands behind the automobile should factor into your purchase decision. I recently had a conversation with a dairy farmer who said these days if the check engine light comes on, he immediately calls the dealer. Before, he would have tinkered around to see if he could fix it himself. With scanning charges running around $100 a pop, how well a dealer warranties a truck is extremely important.
Please chime in and let me know where your alliance lies when it comes to truck manufacturers.