Toyota‘s HiLux and Tacoma battle the Ford Ranger while the burly Tundra tackles the F-150, but the Japanese giant currrently has no alternative to the Ford Maverick.
The American outlet says this vehicle remains under discussion, and would likely be built alongside the Corolla in the company’s plant in Mississippi.
Should it be approved, it reportedly won’t go on sale until at least 2027.
It’s also unclear whether Toyota would export this model from the US, as it does with the Kluger, or manufacture it in other plants for markets like ours.
Alternatively, it could be a left-hand drive exclusive like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz it would ostensibly rival.
Though Corolla-derived, it seems likely the ute would wear a different nameplate, unlike the Corolla Cross SUV.
Toyota may have more than one sub-HiLux ute in the works.
The company recently previewed a modular concept called the IMV 0, thought to be built on a version of the HiLux’s ladder-frame underpinnings and featuring similar styling to the Compact Cruiser concept.
Toyota South Africa executives also recently spoke of an upcoming model that “won’t be a half-ton [ute]”.
“We believe it will take the market by storm and are still doing a lot of development around it,” Leon Theron, Toyota South Africa vice president for sales and marketing, told South African media.
The upcoming ute will launch in 2025 or 2026, slotting in under the HiLux on price.
It 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 types of light commercial vehicles offered in markets like South Africa, Thailand and Latin America have often differed over the years.
The US-built Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, for example, aren’t sold in South Africa, while car-derived utes like the smaller Latin American Chevrolet Montana and Fiat Strada have never been offered in the US.