In my mind, the Toyota Prius and pickup trucks go together like gravy and ice cream, or like Rosie O’Donnell and thong bikinis. First, hybrid fans are usually not pickup truck fans and vice-versa; Prius owners tend to be focused on how many miles they can squeeze from a gallon of gas, while truck owners are usually more concerned with how much they can carry or tow. Building a single vehicle that would attract both camps is like promoting a “Turkey Gravy Ice Cream Sundae”: you’re certainly not going to make everyone happy, and chances are better than average that the final product will be an acquired taste. The compact pickup truck market in the U.S. is in decline, which is why Ford pulled the plug on selling the new Ranger here. Only Toyota seems to be doing reasonably well with their Tacoma, so any new truck would have to be unique enough to not pirate sales away from the Tacoma. Would U.S. buyers really be interested in snapping up a subcompact pickup, along the lines of the old Chevy Luv or Ford Courrier, but with futuristic style?
Toyota seems to think the answer is “maybe”, so they’re not ruling out a hybrid pickup truck built on the Prius platform and styled after 2007’s A-BAT (Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck) concept. On the other hand, the project has yet to receive a green light and is one of several options under consideration, so I’d still place it in the “not damn likely” column, myself. The most recent example of a sub-compact, contemporary styled pickup that I can think of was Subaru’s Baja, their modern re-creation of the Brat. Sold from 2003 to 2006, it was a sales disaster for Subaru. The company projected sales of 24,000 per year, but managed to move only 30,000 units total over the truck’s four year lifespan. That’s hardly an incentive for Toyota to re-enter the subcompact pickup market, even with a hybrid option.
Source: Left Lane News