A senior global designer for Toyota has promised that the Japanese brand’s bakkies will not go soft as the market for luxury pick-up trucks grows.

Speaking to motoring.com.au, Kevin Hunter, president of the brand’s North American design studio, Calty Design Research, said that Toyota’s pick-ups would continue to be built as workhorses first and foremost, without sacrificing their load-carrying or off-road abilities.

“It seems like buyers are turning away from SUVs and premium crossovers and looking instead at premium trucks. We can’t even build enough Tundra TRDs to satisfy the demand,” Hunter said, making reference to the US market.

“We have a really rugged truck image in the US and we’re aiming to keep that. We want to build on what we have, especially in the US. Those trucks are built on a work-truck reputation, along with hard-core off-roading – that’s what we’re aiming for,” he told the Australian publication.

The global one-tonne bakkie market now includes vehicles, such as the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and the Nissan Navara on which it is based, that employ coil-sprung rear suspensions as well as models with more luxury features than before. In addition, a six-cylinder power war has kicked off between the Volkswagen Amarok V6 and X350d, while Ford has finally built a Raptor version of its Ranger.

“The market is going upmarket, that’s what we have to be aware of moving forward. We need to supply customers with new everyday conveniences, but the needs to be durable enough for work,” Hunter added.