Toyota May Bring a Little Pickup to the U.S.

Toyota announed that they are going to increase production of their RAV4 small SUV by more than 25 percent, even though sales levels of the vehicle are down for the first quarter of this year. And there can only be one reason.

Automotive News (subscription may be necessary to view) is reporting that Toyota will be increasing prodction at its Woodstock, Ontario, Canada plant from a total of 150,000 to 200,000 units with the help of an $80 million investment in the plant. 

A spokewoman for the company said there is no plans to move all RAV4 production to North America, and the only thing being announced is a significant boost in prodction. 

Scion-xB-Pichup-Concept-3 II
From our perspective, the only reason for this huge increase would be either they know there will be huge surge in RAV4 sales coming or there will be another vehicle built off that same platform. No doubt, if it were a Toyota model, they'd likely be more liklely to create a unique platform to more directly serve some new niche. However, if it was for a sister brand that was trying to be more efficient with a big brother's resources, that would make more sense. 

It has long been rumored that Scion is interested in a pickup-truck-like vehicle that could easily appeal to a younger buying segment that clearly doesn't want to be seen in an average-looking vehicle.

Creating some kind of downsizd A-BAT or GMC Granite on a RAV4 platform might be exactly what Scion needs to create a big splash in the market and increase their rebellious counter-mainstream credibility. It could also lead the way for an industry that has been scared to death to invest in the compact and midsize pickup segment. Even a moderate sales hit here could lure others into a growing, entry-level segment where both powertrain and design technology could be key separators from the larger, relatively conservative, pickup truck segment. 

No doubt there will be other announcement about exactly what Toyota will do with the extra production capacity and volume, but no matter what happens, it looks like a little risk taking could lead to a huge payoff.  

Granite Compact Pickup II

Scion XP pickup II


I want to be fair PUTC didnt give the whole story in the article of the Tundra meeting SAE Towing standards because above 3,000lbs their is a TBC requirement so that makes Mike Levine correct about the ITBC (as Tundra's tow pkg only comes with wiring to use a aftermarket TBC) but not about everything else as engine and chassis durability, engine HP and TQ characteristics, Hitch, engine cooling, handling, braking with or w/o TBC and accleration is part of the test.

A well designed trucklet will kill in the US. I can't believe we don't have one yet. I'm wondering if the big Ram announcment on Friday 4/4/2012 will be about the Dakota replacement?

IMO.. it's all about design and possiblities.

I would be very interested in a low, wide, short muscle-looking car or trucklet that can do 25mpg city. something that looks aggressive like the Camaro or Challenger. Something with 2 doors, comfortable seating for 5 with a truck tailgate and electric rear window. It's okay if it looks nothing like a pickup truck, but when you roll the rear window down (or up) and flip the taigate down you can push in 10 sheets of plywood and drive around with the back open and tail down with no problem.

I don't see any engineering reason why this car/trucklet could not be built. today's Camaros and Challenger have unusable rear seating.. raise the roofline (like Cadilac CTS), push rear seats back and down. Allow rear seats to recline way back.

Whatever happened to the good old days when every truck was tough as nails, had nice bench seats and you didnt care if it got dirty inside and out and you didnt mind a scratch or ding in the body. ITS A TRUCK its gunna happen. all the trucks these days are basically plastic compared to the old trucks from the 90's. Trucks just arent as tough as they used to be.

We're talking about a RAV4 based 'lil pickup, which I think would be a nice niche market vehicle for people who want to occasionally haul a light duty load like some bicycles or home improvement projects home from the local box store.

Lots of people end up over buying trucks and end up with way more than they'll ever use. Like the much maligned for the wrong reasons Ridgeline, a trucklet like this has its place.

I don't think that these models will sell well. I would still prefer my Toyota Tacoma over such small pickups.

Just noticed the Scion Fuse wikipedia page just update last week (August 2012). I think Scion will likely enter the market with a two door car with a rear that opens up to offer truck like bed storage. No it won't be a real pickup truck with very light cargo and almost no towing, but it will offer some open space cargo .. but with lot of rear seating space which frankly nobody offers today. Wrap that all up in package that does 35mpg highway and sells for $22k and it will tempt many young buyers away from the small truck market. I understand many of you ont his site would not be caught dead driving that. Im just hoping Scion does not produce it in such a rediculous body style that nobody under 30 will dare buy it.

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