City, county buy few San Antonio made Toyota Tundras

Price, type of truck are problems

Author: Brian Mylar, Reporter,
Published On: Oct 16 2013 05:44:56 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 16 2013 10:00:36 PM CDT

Despite San Antonio’s Toyota Tundra plant getting rave reviews from city and county leaders, local governments buy very few Tundras, according to a KSAT 12 Defenders investigation.

In mid-September, the 1 millionth Toyota Tundra assembled in San Antonio rolled off the line on the south side of town.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro even posed beside the brown beauty in pictures posted on one website.

What the mayor can't stand beside is the City of San Antonio's purchase of Toyota Tundras.

The city's fleet has plenty of Priuses, but few Tundras. A recent Defenders inquiry found just seven Tundras bought by the city -- zero by the county.

Jorge Perez, director of Building and Equipment Services for the city of San Antonio, said Toyota dealers have not responded to some requests for bids and that may be because of the type of truck the city wants.

"It's a very bare-bones work truck," Perez said. "The process is through a competitive bidding process."

He said other truck-makers may produce more lower-end models with lower prices.

"We recently had a bid that was out on the streets and the responses came primarily from Ford, Chevy and Dodge," Perez said.

He said he wants to include Tundras in the city’s fleet.

Dan Garza, Bexar County purchasing agent, said the county does, too.

Garza said the county has plenty of Fords in the fleet but no Tundras. He said that is because of price.

"It's taxpayer money, so bottom line is the lowest, best responsible bid,” Garza said. “So it's going to be based on pricing."

The county also recently made a special effort to get bids from local dealers of all car brands.

"Let's do our homework and see what else is available as far as local participation and pricing," Garza said.

Toyota does not sell vehicles from its plant -- only through dealerships.

The automaker would not comment for this story except to say it has good relations with the city and county and is working on a new effort to sell Tundras and Tacomas to the city.

In the county's recent attempt to buy more vehicles from local dealers and keep the jobs and tax money here, sealed bids are due from local dealers on Friday.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.