Toyota Still Looking Into Electrified Small Pickup, North American CEO Says

Toyota Tacoma Hybrid. Toyota
Toyota Tacoma Hybrid. Toyota

Ever since the launch of the Ford Maverick, customers have wondered when another major player in trucks might answer with a compact pickup of its own. Toyota's been mostly silent on the matter, simply saying that it understands that the market is there, and it's looking into it. However, Ted Ogawa, CEO of Toyota North America, just shed a bit more light on a potential entry into the space. But don't get your hopes up just yet, as it seems Toyota isn't working on a tiny truck of its own at the moment. If it does, someday, you can bet it'll be electrified.

During an interview with Automotive News, Ogawa was asked what Toyota thought about a Maverick competitor. "Good question, but we have no plan for that. Still, we are studying in that area, including the electrification movement."

According to Ogawa, full-size truck customers aren't much interested in electric trucks. (Maybe not legacy truck owners, but the Rivian R1T seems rather popular.) However, there's more interest in smaller electric pickups, and that's where Toyota's head is at right now. "In midsize or smaller size, there is more electrification opportunity compared to the full-size area. So for us, it's one of the opportunities to think about—the smaller size than Tacoma pickup in the future," Ogawa said.

That might not be what customers want to hear. "We hear all the time, several times a week, stories of people who had older Toyota trucks, before those trucks even had a name, and they long for another small Toyota truck," said Steve Gates, chairman of the Toyota national dealer council in September 2023. "I think the volume opportunity is huge, without affecting Tacoma and Tundra sales."


While Toyota's argument is understandable—acknowledging that electric trucks are the future and wanting to hold its investment until then—the company clearly has the means to do both. There's room for a compact Toyota pickup truck right now, regardless of powertrain. Especially since, by Ogawa's own admission, the cost of electrification is even more challenging in a compact, low-MSRP pickup. Given that competitors like Stellantis only seem to be ready to answer Ford now with the Ram Rampage, and vehicles obviously take a long time to develop, it seems it'll still be a while before we see Toyota's pint-sized contender.

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