Scion Boss Says Pickup Truck Still Possible

Scion Boss Says Pickup Truck Still Possible
by Mark Williams for

From its creation, Scion has been promoted as Toyota’s youth-driven branch — a branch with latitude to take more risks. And now, as the economy is just beginning to show signs of recovery, Scion might see an opportunity to venture out of the comfort zone.

“Scion is about innovation and doing things differently. ... That’s why if we were ever to do something crazy, it would likely be more like a ‘Surprise Utility Vehicle’ rather than a basic pickup truck,” said Jack Hollis, Scion’s vice president.

In related news, Toyota announced it will grow the Prius brand of vehicles to include two new passenger-car models, the Prius V and Prius C. Toyota Group Vice President Bob Carter said a hybrid pickup, possibly similar in size and shape to the A-BAT concept truck we saw from 2008, could eventually become part of the family. But where a Prius or Toyota car-based pickup could likely support a higher price point, Hollis isn’t so sure that an A-BAT-like vehicle would be right for Scion.

“If we were going to do something in that category, in order to make it a Scion, it would be about being a sports equipment carrier, or a place to toss exercise gear, or maybe a covered or convertible large storage trunk to put backpacks or band equipment,” Hollis said. “It would have to be a special take on a segment-busting vehicle that gets people saying, ‘I didn’t know a vehicle could do that.’ ”

Hollis said there would also need to be a strong value equation to any new Scion, so development and engineering costs would be a strong consideration. With that said, we’d assume a shared platform is the only option here, but Hollis said sharing platforms is something Scion is not likely to do anytime soon. “We have to be the place that gets young buyers who would never consider a Toyota to stop and say, ‘Hey, this is cool.’ ”

Whether this means Scion would eventually make a smallish pickup truck version off its xB platform or something new remains to be seen, but Scion’s chief didn’t rule it out. We’re guessing much will depend on whoever brings out the first subcompact crossover pickup vehicle and whether it succeeds or fails. Regardless, we probably won’t see any big changes soon.


“We have to be the place that gets young buyers who would never consider a Toyota to stop and say, ‘Hey, this is cool.’ ”

I seriously wish them good luck with that. Play truck, truck strictly for looks (poser is almost the term to use) or will it actually be able to be put to work?

I smell unibody.

I wouldn't mind unibody, as long as it was generally useful for extra-light-duty work (microduty? 500# or so?)

Now that's what I've been saying they should do since the xB came out. It's about time they look at it.

@Kemo I don't think of it as "poser" I think of it as not needing a huge a$$ truck. Just need something to haul gear and not look like a "soccer mom" in an SUV or a "red neck" in a 4x4.

A lot of us would like a daily driver that gets 30 MPG and can tow the bass / ski boat on weekends. 4500 capacity would do just fine. Made in USA would be good too, but I'd buy one from anyone who makes it.

Is this going to be a throwback to the Subaru Brat & Volkswagen Rabbit pickup?

One of those Radio Flyer wagons, with a Briggs & Stratton motor, seat, and steering wheel (like what you see at swap meets or car shows), would probably have more payload/utility than this Scion experiment?

I think it would be neat, not everyone needs a fullsize with 11,000 pounds of towing prowess (personally, with so much bickering about towing capabilities, I have YET TO SEE an F150 with a larger load than a camper of boat behind it, no where near the max tow rating, therfore I regard the tow ratings as bragging rights.......the HP and tow ratings are getting rediculous IMHO).

I think a unibody truck would be fine for a large part of truck buyers needs, outside of what you "want" anyway. Jeep Cherokee's and Jeep Comanchee's are Unibody, the new Cherokee is Unibody. You guys are just stuck on "body on frame" trucks, as though, they are superior. But, I would buy a unibody truck, no problem. My wife's car is unibody, hell I have taken it offroad in the light trails in the area I live in, went (she was pissed though).

Unibody would work fine people, as some of you say, get out of the old days (in reference to the EB vs. Traditional V8 arguing). Same holds true for Unibody, lots of vehicles would be capable offroaders as Unibody, hell the Jeeps have been for years (not the BOF Wranglers, but the others are the ones I speak of).

We'll see aobut the future of trucks..........

I am a little alarmed by the expansion of the Prius brand and possibly more Scion models. While GM and Ford are ridding themselves of divisions, Toyota is creating more. Lexus is luxury. Scion is youthful and fun. Prius is green and technologically advanced. So that means Toyota must be... utilitarian, old, boring and antiquated. Hmm. I don't know anybody who wants a car like that. At least Toyotas are still reliable...oops, not lately. Get your eye back on the ball Toyota and refocus!


I own two uni-body vehicles. A 1968 Ford Mustang GT fastback (love this car) and a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited (love this vehicle too). From experience, I can say that a body on frame vehicle is much better (stronger & more durable) than a uni-body vehicle.

Thanks to having a small-block in my Mustang, versus a big-block, the uni body has held up for 43 years without twisting like a pretzel stick. I would have to add sub-frame stiffeners if I wanted to drop a motor in with serious horsepower/torque. A Chevrolet Camaro or Pontiac Firebird of the same era (waiting for the G.M. fans to put down my Ford) does not exhibit this problem.

My Grand Cherokee, with a unit-body (Chrysler term), has a tailgate that becomes slightly out of alignment, when parked on unlevel ground, making it difficult to open. This is likely because I used to take it off-road (waiting for oxi to shoot down my off-roading style) for about five years.

Thank goodness my Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and Ram Power Wagon are body on frame. They will be able to handle more years of pounding and abuse off-road (waiting for oxi again) than a uni-body truck.

Buy American: Lol @ oxi comment!

I agree, sadly though, the typical american truck buyer deosn't offraod trucks and work them like they used to. They are more interested in comfort nowadays, and I am knocking it, I don;t drive my own truck hard myself. I know the BOF vehicles are stronger, but the typical american "can" get by with uni-body vehicles, hence all the stationwagon "CUV's" on the market, even Ford Explorer that won "Truck of the Year".

anything "new" or remodeled get's "Car/Truck of the year"

I would certainly be interested in seeing what the could come up with. More often that not I end up carrying large but relatively light cargo (furniture, bikes etc.) more often that I carry heavy cargo, which I think is only when I haul mulch.

Ought to be interesting to see what a 'Surprise Utility Vehicle' turns out to be.

*not knocking it* Just a revision. :)

I've been wondering what the 4-wheel equivalent of a motorcycle was, maybe this type of vehicle is it?

Think about it. A lot of people LIKE the THOUGHT of riding a motorcycle with its fuel economy and fun, but would like to be wrapped in steel and have 4 wheels -- plus be able to haul some cargo. With a 2-seater you've matched the seating capacity of a motorcycle. Make it more substantial than the Smart Car. Roll-cage the cab for safety. Keeping the design within a quasi-motorcycle might be the ticket.

I like a cup that's half full.

What a sight it was! To see all of those brand new, brightly painted S-10s lined up at the Chevy dealer during the last year of sales. Just great memories!

a bof truck is not needed in this category. remember, this truck is not intended to tow 11k n haul around 2k in the bed. it's gonna be a small subaru baja looking thing design towards the ones who will occaisional tow now more than 2k n just haul nothing more than gear. this truck will more than likely have nore more than a 4 banger. plus unibody vehicles now-a-days r built pretty damn good that rigidness that rivals n/or accede bof vehicles.

Something based on the A-Bat concept (not necessarily in styling) using a conventional powertrain could work. Something to carry mountain bikes, a lawn mower, or a couple of flats of petunias. Otherwise get good milage, carry 4 people on short trips, and have an easy price point. there once was a sufficient market for the Element, and fresh product could take its place. The Baja would probably fare much better if it was released today- into a market with twice the fuel prices as before 2006.

These articles are so lame Scion could build a tank or a bulldozer if it wanted to but it wont just like it wont make a pickup , it takes balls to think outside the box and it seems no one in the automotive field has any .

Bring back the compact 4x4 truck like the 1979 datsuns but with 4 doors! Some of us don't need or want a full size. With the ranger, dakota, and colorado disappearing, bring in the scion.

Some of you crack me up. We have threads to not kill the Ranger and Colorado, yet Toyota is thinking of making a compact pick up, the idea is regarded as absud and will never sell. No capability? Have some of you looked at payload and towing for a Ranger or Colorado? No one is going to call them a heavy hauler. By the way, Buy American? Modern Unibody vehicles are far more rigid than body on frame. Comparing your 68 Mustang to a modern unibody is like comparing a 68 F series to one today. Invalid and no comparison.

@JPTrucker - the closest thing out there to what you described would be the BRP Can-AM Spyder. It looks like a sled with wheels.

We probably will end up seeing unibody pickups whether we like it or not.
It's the most likely way for manufacturers to save weight to meet the ever increasing fuel economy standards.

I see what you're talking about. Only 3 wheels though. And has no cab.

I was thinking something more along the lines and size of the Rubitrux conversions, but more streamlined, front-wheel drive with a cab and an internal roll-cage -- maybe an ABAT shape. , top picture. Don't need all the torque of the Jeep's.


I am aware that the technology has improved, enormously, since 1968. That is why I also included my 1998 Grand Cherokee for a comparison. It is all relative though: A 1968 Camaro/Firebird, with a solid frame, had and still has stronger structure than a 1968 Mustang/Cougar; A 1998 Explorer, with a solid frame, had and still has a stronger structure than a 1998 Cherokee/Grand Cherokee.

I am well aware that uni-body vehicles are strong and have a place in the market. Mainly for compact to mid-size; cars, cross-overs, and sport utilities. Just don't water down mid-size/full-size trucks.

lol at scion. Aimed at young people? Im 22 and I wouldnt drive one of these things any further than the closest Ford dealership, even if it were given to me.


That is a good one! You sir, are wise beyond your years.

Toyota is spreading themselves too thin like Government Motors did!

Drive it over to my place, I dont tow anything, and could care less if had a frame or not. And when your filling up your super duty at $5 a gallon, maybe you will wish you had it.
the only thing your spreading is non-sense, at least Toyota is selling thier cars. Lexus and Scion are so different, you can hardly tell they are Toyota.

I hate to say it, but there might be a market for this, I'm just not a part of it. Remember the old VW cabover pickups that were really just cut down vans? If something like that came out now, all the neo-hippie eco-nuts would jump on it. Honestly, it might be good to get something like that on the market. Let all the yuppies have their "green" toy trucks, and save the real pickups for farmers, contractors, and people that actually need them.

Could be a way for Scion to import the Toyota HiLux (TDI VERSION TOO??) and have something to sell in the small truck range. The Tacoma has a bad case of middle age spread going...

The IQ is a Toyota everywhere else in the world. Scion got it in the USA because if it flopped there was plausible deniability built right in. And yes, the IQ is available as a diesel (D-4D series) virtually everywhere else too.

@mr.p -
I'm not a Toyota basher or hater. Just stating the facts. Many experts feel that Toyota is heading down the same path GMCorpse did. Too big, too many overlapping brands, and too slow to respond to markets. Pundits have called Toyota the "New GM".
Toyota is doing well in the rest of the world but in North America sales have been hit hard by the whole BS recall fiasco. I bet the story would of been different if it were a "domestic" company that was hit with the same recall.

Thank goodness that it was not a domestic car company that slipped!

@Buy American or say Bye to America! - Ford is the only domestic that has stopped slipping - the other 2 are a work in progress.

I for one would welcome an ultralight duty unibody pickup. A 500 pound payload capacity would be ideal. I gave up my Frontier Crew 4x4 when gas hit $4.50+ in my area in exchange for a 4-cylinder Escape. I typically need to haul a dirtbike and occasional light building materials / garden items for the house. The Frontier handled this fine, the Escape requires a utility trailer, but I'm getting by. With a 30-mile commute, I need 25-30 MPG. I've often hoped for something like a mini Sport-Trac, about the size of the Escape, with a bed similarly sized to the Frontier Crew Cab.

Um, NO. Make that HELL NO!! I’ve been driving a small Toyota truck since 1983. Started with a 1973, then a 1984 regular cab short-bed, 1986 xtra cab long bed (pig) 1985 one ton which I had until 2006. Currently have a 2002 regular cab that weighs 2800 pounds. I actually paid MORE for it (due to a higher interest rate on a used vehicle) in 2005 than I would have for a brand new 3200 pound 2005 model. Why? the 400 pounds of extra weight and bigger everwhere dimensions. Also the 2005+ is butt ugly.

So I have a light-weight REAR WHEEL DRIVE vehicle with 104″ wheelbase and manual trans which when unloaded drives like a sports car, but can also tow a 1500 pound round bale of hay, can haul everything I need it to, and can chase critters around (off road) on a 250 acres ranch. Also when I want it too it can get 28MPG.

How is this Clown-Camino thingy even in the same universe? If this is really going to be the future of the small truck I think I had best go find another 01-04 model with low miles and store it in the garage for when my 2002 wears out in 10-15 years.

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