Toyota is planning a Stout half tonner. How does it fit SA?
Toyota has not operated in the half ton bakkie world for half a century, but if early suggestion is anything to go by, a new Stout pickup truck will have big shoes to fill. Not just that it will have to step into the shadow of its long time bestselling big brother Hilux, but also in name. The first Stout literally made Toyota. It prepared markets least expecting it, for a Toyota rich future.
Now Toyota has allegedly trademarked the Stout name in of all places, Argentina, for use on a future small bakkie. Which is where it gets interesting from a South African point of view. For very good reason, Argentina boasts a surprisingly similar light commercial vehicle market to ours, which currently lacks half-tonners more endemic to South America.
These patent findings have sent the motoring media around the world into a bit of a tailspin. In America, for example, Hyundai’s car-based monocoque Santa Cruz has caused a stir in that traditional ladder frame market. Anything the Yanks like, so do the Aussies. Its huge news in SudAm, which has huge half-ton segments in Brazil, Argentina and elsewhere.
“There’s space for a small Toyota bakkie”
So, google Stout, and beside the Afrikaans translation for naughty, you come across as many stories about that rugged Toyota original, as you do concept sketches of the new one. Most are based on a Toyota Electric Cruiser concept revealed last year, which if anything, is unlikely. Being car-based, Stout will be more carlike. Think NP200, Bantam and Opel Ute.
There is however far more evidence of a future compact Toyota bakkie than just a file gathering dust in a South American patent office. “There’s space for a small Toyota pickup truck.” Toyota North America, boss Jack Hollis explained last year. Hollis was behind the 2008 Detroit Toyota A-Bat hybrid pickup concept. Which idea Hyundai subsequently picked up, and ran with, in the Santa Cruz.
“We’re actively looking into a small pick-up below the Tacoma,” Toyota USA planning colleague Cooper Ericksen added. “Does it have a place in the market, and how big will a SUV with a load bed get? “I don’t know, but the more Santa Cruz Hyundai sell, the more we get to know about those customers. “It’s an area we should play in.”
Argentine Stout trademark suggests a global model
“If it’s more for urban use and less extreme off-road, then it’d make more sense to use the TNGA unibody platform,” Ericksen pointed out.
The patent filings were however made in Argentina. That in itself suggests a far broader range. One spreading from security patrol, small business delivery and similar duty workhorses, up to Ericksen’s SUV with a load bed concept. Possibly even including a double cab.
Early Toyota Stout suggestions hint at a RAV4 base for the new pickup. That vehicle is only built in Japan and China. Toyota’s global Corolla Cross TNGA GA-C platform however seems a far more logical solution for a bakkie that the whole world already seems to want.
The Corolla Cross is already quite literally built all across the globe. Its produced internationally in plants from Japan to Thailand and Taiwan, to Malaysia. Add two more in China, and one each in Brazil, the US, and South Africa. Never mind, the GA-C is available in all-wheel drive. And it’s already built as a hybrid too.
Stout has big shoes to fill
That of course opens up the possibility of South African production alongside Hilux, Fortuner, and Corolla Cross, et al for consumption right across Africa, out of Prospection. The Durban plant is of course already churning TNGA GA-C chassis dime a dozen. A fair start for a new unitary body bakkie intended to pick up the slack below King Hilux.
All of which leaves us to ponder what a 2026 Toyota Stout will be? A TNGA GA-C based bakkie would be a little larger than the half tonners we have come to know. Big enough for a double cab. And who knows, even a clever extendable cab, made possible by its monocoque construction. It’d come in petrol and hybrid, with top models even offering all-wheel drive.
And the look? Well, that’d be more carlike than most of the sketches we’ve seen so far. Auto’s exclusive suggestions on this page add a nod to that great, original Stout with big, round headlamps in a squared-off grille. Add eyebrow indicators morphed into next gen street SUV styling cues that Toyota so elaborately showed off in its giant EV reveal last year.
In closing, after echoing his peers’ thoughts on a future small Toyota pickup truck, Toyota USA sales colleague Bob Carter dropped the biggest hint so far. “Our HQ Confidential Three media conference happens in June this year. “It’s worth the trip!” We will be watching. – Michele Lupini
Sketches: Michele Lupini