The locally produced Toyota Corolla Cross could morph into a bakkie according to latest reports. With a gaping hole in the local market for an RHD unibody bakkie, could this fill the void?
In June 2020, Toyota introduced the Corolla Cross which has proven to be one of the firm’s more popular passenger vehicles on the local market. Not long after it burst onto the scene, an independent artist named Kleber Silva used Photoshop to envision the compact crossover as a bakkie – shown below.
Now, in August 2023, there are reports suggesting that this imaginative truck might actually become a reality someday. According to Automotive News, Toyota is contemplating the idea of a small pickup based on the Corolla family of models.
The project is said to be in its early stages, and a final decision has not been made yet. Automotive News indicates that a “Corolla-based pickup remains a possibility, but its appearance is a work in progress.” Even if the project gets approved, it is not expected to hit the market before 2027 which would be after the next-generation Corolla sees light of day in 2025. If the timeline holds, it is likely to be based on this future model rather than the current version so what we see in these renders, would likely never become a reality.
The proposed smaller bakkie would fill a slot below the Hilux, allowing Toyota to compete with the likes of the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz in the US market. Similar to these models, a Corolla pickup would likely have a unibody construction instead of a sturdier ladder frame. It is anticipated that the truck would be manufactured in Mississippi alongside the regular Corolla, while the Corolla Cross is being produced in Alabama at the joint factory with Mazda.
Contesting the American market and being built within their borders, it is unlikely this potential Corolla Cross will be on offer in South Africa – in the same way the popular Maverick and Santa Cruz are not sold abroad. This means that Toyota’s baby Hilux which is rumoured to be built in the next few years could be a separate model for the African market.