Toyota Rumored to Be Considering Smaller Sibling for Tacoma, Hilux
Toyota executives are rumored to be considering the possibility of launching a smaller pickup to slot beneath the global phenomenon that is the Hilux, as well as the North American Tacoma.
The news comes following an exchange between Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and South African motoring publication CarMag. The outlet had asked the executive about the prospect of Toyota fielding a smaller “bakkie” – which is apparently not a slur and simply the South African equivalent of the Australian “ute” – and received a not-so-subtle hint that it was a distinct possibility.
“Watch this space in the next 3 years for the LCV segment with potentially a small bakkie from Toyota,” Theron said during the South African “State of the Motor Industry” event held at Kyalami earlier in the month.
It goes without saying that South Africa is one country that is infatuated with bakkies and for good reasons of course. With our horrendous road conditions, a Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max or a Nissan Navara will gladly take on the challenge without flinching, so bakkies make a lot of sense. In addition, the popularity is also due to the ability to carry loads around efficiently and appropriately. Nowadays bakkies are not just limited to being workhorses, they have officially entered the design and style segment. Judging by the design language that is being translated by manufacturers lately, bakkies have become full-on family vehicles. Offering the same level of comfort and luxury you could find in an SUV or sedan in bakkie form.
They certainly seem excited about the possibility of another “bakkie” from Toyota. But there’s a chance such a vehicle could migrate over to our shores as well. With American tastes trending large and manufacturers knowing bigger vehicles tend to be far more profitable, moderately sized pickups had all but vanished from our market until fairly recently. Even today’s midsize offerings are utterly massive compared to the compact pickups that were available until the 1990s.
But that has started to change with Ford seeing great success in the U.S. from the comparatively petite Maverick. Hyundai has likewise launched the less traditional Santa Cruz, indicating the country probably has a big enough appetite for a second helping. GM is also rumored to be working on a smaller truck targeting the Maverick – though most rumors also claim it will be an all-electric vehicle.
Meanwhile, Toyota already has a solid reputation for building dependable pickups and there’s plenty of nostalgia for the small “Toyota Pickup” (technically the U.S.-spec Hilux with the most unimaginative name ever) from back in the day. Absent from our market since 1996, it might be due for a revival. However, that also might be determined by its present development cycle and where Toyota is willing to build them. The company already has a strong manufacturing base inside the United States and will absolutely need to manufacture the truck stateside (or at least in Mexico) if it plans on selling them to Americans.
[Image: Adolf Martinez Soler/Shutterstock]
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