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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Half-ton ‘junior’ Toyota Hilux tipped again for production

Should it come to fruition, expect a reveal date only in around 2025.

Speculation surrounding Toyota’s unveiling of a new half-ton bakkie below the Hilux has taken another step towards completion within the coming years.

Despite being rumoured without any substantiated claims for years, executives from Toyota North America last year admitted that sufficient space does exist below the Tacoma for a smaller bakkie as evident by the hugely successful Maverick that sits below the Ranger in Ford’s bakkie line-up.

Speculation growing

While it declined to provide any details about the “junior Hilux, Vice-President of Product Planning and Strategy for Toyota North America, Cooper Ericksen, remarked that should approval be given, the newcomer would most likely be “more for urban use and less extreme off-road” than the Tacoma or the flagship Tundra.

In making the comments to MotorTrend, Ericksen said that unlike the currently being tested next generation Tacoma, which leaked in patent images earlier this week, and will provide a preview of the next Hilux, the new small bakkie would sit on a unibody platform rather than a traditional body-on-frame that would result in it taking direct aim at the Maverick, Hyundai Santa Cruz and Honda Ridgeline in the States.

ALSO READ: Stout return? Trademark submission uncovers potential name for rumoured ‘small’ Toyota Hilux

Subsequent to the MotorTrend interview, patent documents emerged online in Argentina for the trademarking of the Stout name last used till 1989 for a bakkie sold in select markets below the Hilux.

Although again thin on details, Toyota’s unveiling of the IMV O Concept in Thailand last year, alongside an all-electric version of the Hilux, added further fuel to the fire as it sported the same look as the Compact Cruiser EV concept that premiered in 2021 as part of Toyota’s mass 16 electric vehicle rollout plans.

Not so fast..

In the latest development, Toyota South Africa Motors Senior Vice-President for Sales and Marketing, Leon Theron, when quizzed about the matter, told the media at the automaker’s State of the Motor Industry conference at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on Thursday to “watch this space” without stating anything else.

Reportedly in-line with comments made to MotorTrend by Toyota’s President for North America, Bob Carter, Theron hinted that an announcement would only made around 2025, a year in which all global Toyota models are expected to utilise a hybrid drivetrain regardless of bodystyle or market.

At present, the uncertainty surrounding the Stout prevails as Toyota has remained mum on the uncovering of the Argentinian patents. However, don’t be surprised if more rumours and/or speculation emerges throughout the year.

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