Toyota Motor North America general manager David Christ, however, has subsequently told the US publication the company isn’t planning such a vehicle.
“We don’t have anything planned,” Mr Christ told Automotive News.
“We’re not announcing anything to the dealers. I won’t even say ‘yet’ because that would suggest it’s coming. But certainly, it’s something we’ve looked at.”
Mr Christ acknowledged dealers have been calling for a smaller, more efficient ute for some time, to slot beneath the Tacoma – the North American counterpart to the HiLux.
Automotive News had previously reported the vehicle was “under discussion” and hadn’t yet been approved, but would likely enter production alongside the Corolla at the company’s Mississippi plant.
Whether Toyota would export such a vehicle from the US, as it does with the Kluger, is unclear.
While a Corolla-derived ute hasn’t been confirmed, Toyota has revealed a new ute for developing markets.
Called the Rangga, the single-cab ute concept was revealed at last month’s Gaikindo motor show in Indonesia and is understood to preview a production vehicle that will offer petrol, turbo-diesel, hybrid and electric powertrains.
The Rangga appears to be a traditional body-on-frame ute, and it shares design cues with the Compact Cruiser concept.
A company executive in South Africa recently confirmed Toyota was working on a new ute that would undercut the HiLux on price.
The upcoming ute will launch in 2025 or 2026, and will be aimed at developing markets around Africa, among other places – small, affordable utes are popular in Latin America, where Toyota doesn’t currently offer anything smaller or cheaper than the HiLux.
The Latin American ute market is quite different to ours, or Southeast Asia’s, with a wide range of car-derived utes like the Ram Rampage and Chevrolet Montana – conceptually more similar to the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz than something like the Toyota Rangga concept.