PLANO, Texas — Those watching closely have noticed that the white-hot Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickups have already racked up nearly 50,000 sales in 2022 through May — an impressive pace in a down U.S. market from what had been an abandoned segment.
But guess who else is eyeballing those results and wondering whether it's time to rekindle its own compact pickup legacy?
The answer is Toyota, but an antithetical bit of emissions regulations might actually make it harder for the Japanese automaker to leap back into the compact pickup segment it once dominated.
"There is space" in the Toyota lineup for a pickup beneath the current midsize Tacoma, said Jack Hollis, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota Motor North America. "The question is, how to fill it?"