By on November 9, 2011

With traditional compact pickups growing into the new “midsized” segment, Scion has long been tipped as a likely candidate to lead the US market back towards smaller, car-based pickup trucks. And, Scion’s VP Jack Hollis tells TTAC’s sister site Autoguide that such a vehicle, though not a certainty, could be possible.

Versus other vehicles, I can’t say it’s priority one. I’m very interested in it. A lot of prospective owners are interested in it and every meeting I have in Japan, I’m asking, what else can we do.

Hollis reveals that he has, in the past, pushed for an imported Daihatsu pickup for Scion’s US lineup, but that regulatory issues killed the business case. But now he’s suggesting that Scion and Daihatsu might jointly develop a small, fuel-efficient pickup… just as Subaru and Toyota/Scion developed the FT-86 together. If that happens, I’d expect something larger than Daihatsu’s typical kei-style trucks, for reasons hinted at in the video above. And to help you understand the legacy that a Daihatsu-Scion pickup might draw upon, here are a few random images of Daihatsu “trucks” (or possible inspirations) through the ages.

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25 Comments on “Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Scion And Daihatsu Considering Joint Small Pickup For US?...”

  • avatar

    Yes, please!

  • avatar

    This video must be one of Jack Baruth’s dreams errr real life exploits.

    For some reason seeing back-fire from a kei-truck was pretty cool too.

  • avatar

    “If that happens, I’d expect something larger than Daihatsu’s typical kei-style trucks, for reasons hinted at in the video above.”

    Why? Because the Midget II D is the most fun you’ll have on any GT series game? Because it pwns the hulking behemoth trucks we’re used to? What?

    Huge fan of the Midget II D. Just sayin’.

    Good luck to them. I could see a Dihatsu Hijet in my driveway, not that I’ll ever have the opportunity to make that dream a reality or anything.

  • avatar

    “regulatory issues killed the business case”

    Read: Chicken Tax. Stifling fair competition for 48 years and counting…

    • 0 avatar

      Just bolt two cheap plastic seats in the back and bingo – it’s a ‘people carrier’. Chicken tax avoided. Ford do it with the Transit Connects they import from Turkey.

  • avatar

    While the market for small cars may be making somewhat of a bounce-back here in the USA, I just can’t see small trucks coming back, when so many folks are (still) buying F-150s and Silverados.

    And the video is a hoot…those other trucks must be running at 1/3 their potential for that scooter to win! Classic!

    • 0 avatar

      “those other trucks must be running at 1/3 their potential for that scooter to win!”

      Don’t be so sure. The Midget II D is wickedly fast when tuned in the Gran Turismo “garage” thanks in large part to its light weight and decent weight distribution (mid-mounted engine FTW). I have beaten many, many cars traditionally considered “faster” in GT4 with my modded Midget II D. Tons of fun to drive on a short track like Tsukuba, too.

      Of course, I will concede the driver of the Midget in this video is blatantly cheating by cutting corners at every opportunity. But even if he had stuck to the track, I think he could have made pretty good time and been competitive. Just depends on how modified the other trucks in the field were. The Tacoma X-Runner would probably crush the Midget II D at Infineon Raceway if it were similarly modified with weight-saving measures and horsepower-adding goodies.

  • avatar

    Make a truck about the size of the 80s Toyota Hilux. Make a 4WD option, and for the love of Pete, give it solid axles in front and back.

    Pretty please.

  • avatar

    That little thing is a riot! But isn’t there supposed to be a little dog sticking its nose out the passenger seat window?

  • avatar

    One of the most common themes emerging from design schools today is a modern interpretation of the Subaru Brat. These are based on the idea of a cheap utility, and usually are just FWD with 4 cylinder power. The Scion brand would seem to be the ideal place to give one a try. If young designers are interested, then maybe young consumers will be as well.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “While the market for small cars may be making somewhat of a bounce-back here in the USA, I just can’t see small trucks coming back, when so many folks are (still) buying F-150s and Silverados.”

    Agreed. As gas prices continue to rise I think most people will simply hold onto and park their fullsize PU trucks and use them when they need a good competent tow vehicle or have to haul something big and/or heavy. For everything else they’ll just drive a car. These small trucks may be popular for commercial use but I just can’t see anyone else paying much attention.

  • avatar

    Even if it fails in the US Toyota will be able to move it Latin America, FWD small pickups are already popular there, with Ford, Chevrolet, VW and Fiat selling FWD pickups in Brazil and Mexico.

    In South Africa Nissan will even hook you up with one courtesy of Dacia:

    • 0 avatar

      I know it’s not apples-to-apples, but the base model with aircon is around $15k.

      DO WANT.

      • 0 avatar

        Honestly the $15,000 sounds high. My understanding is that the Dacia ute that this is a rebadge of is closely related to the Versa. If Nissan built a Versa ute at the Versa factory in Mexico I bet it could match the $10,990 price of the Versa sedan.

      • 0 avatar

        The NP200 is pretty cool and would offer all the utility most small truck buyers would need with a bonus in fuel economy.

        I’ve been pushing Nissan to develop a Cube pickup truck. I’d own one in a heartbeat if they could give it a nominal towing capacity (1,500 lbs, maybe?) for *very* occasional trailering. There’s an interesting aftermarket supplier (and perhaps Nissan dealer, not sure) in Japan who has a video or two on YouTube of their second-generation Cube converted into a pickup truck. Very cool.

        Best part is, the Cube also shares the Versa’s underpinnings. Being that the “ute” suspension mods (if any) already exist in Central and South American markets, that would make the process of building a Cube pickup all that much easier.

  • avatar

    Dear Toyota, do yourself a favor and euthanize Scion once and for all. I want to buy a new Toyota Celica, which is what the FT86 should be, but because of your sheer stupidity in keeping this worthless brand around, I cannot. Just end it now before you cause yourself more harm.


    • 0 avatar

      I think there is a place for Scion, and that could include a small FWD pickup. But the FT-86 is not the right car for the brand, it should be a Toyota. Hopefully the Subaru version will be priced closely, otherwise I’m sure there will be tons of JDM Toyota badge kits on e-Bay.

  • avatar

    Mr. Niedermeyer, where the Hell do you find this stuff? The photo’s frag’n kill me (not so say I wouldn’t buy one to replace my ’97 Geo Metro 4 door :).

  • avatar

    Damn I miss my truck…

    I had a Hijet when I was stationed to Japan. Best car per dollar (yen?) I ever owned, though it wasn’t many dollars. Started after every deployment and the A/C was cold.

    That truck was a riot, the epitome of driving slow cars fast. Winding it out at 10/10ths was barely illegal even with Japan’s modest speed limits.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    nice to see that little truck take Zanardi’s path through the chicane :)

  • avatar

    That video is awesome. The more choices we have the better IMO.

  • avatar

    You know what I really, really, want? Daihatsu Rush. But it will never happen.
    Edit: I have a picture:
    Edit2: Very funny video, thanks!

  • avatar

    Can I get one, really I want one, I am tired of looking for and having a hard time finding, 1986 to 1997 toyota pickups with low milage… they are really hard to find now, yet this is what should be available.
    all we have is some nasty giant trucks that are useless except for guzzling gas. grrrr.

  • avatar

    I for one am sick and tired of these ‘Mid-Sized’ pickups that are neither as economical as a true compact pickup nor are as capable as a full-size.

  • avatar

    Newest Video from Toyota! Came out yesterday..

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