The Toyota “Open Deck” Truck the U.S. Never Got
How come the U.S. didn’t get the love from Toyota by importing this Scion/Toyota bB Open Deck truck? Well, maybe it’s not so much a truck as a Ute. A cute-ute! Whatever you want to call it, we wish it could have been part of the Scion portfolio when Toyota still made the Scion brand.
Open Deck Was A Bit Odd…
Only in the US and Canada was there a Scion brand. Everywhere else it was just a bB Toyota. In this case an Open Deck bB. But the Open Deck was even a bit odd for the Japanese Scion/bB market.
It had utilitarian bucket seats in spite of the xB’s floor-mounted shifter being repositioned on the Open Deck’s steering column. Maybe having a floor-mounted shifter was too sporty and not commercial-enough for the Open Deck target audience? In any case, the seats position down and then slide level with the rear floor for even more added cargo space. Neat!
Those Open Deck Gigantic Roof Rails
The gigantic roof rails hug the small pickup bed, which can become a medium-sized bed. For that you fold down the rear bench seat and cabin back, open the rear window so it is positioned up and you’ve doubled the available bed space. With the tailgate down there’s still more available space. We doubt you could get a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood in there but you could always lash that to those big top rails.
Another oddity about the Open Deck was that it is asymmetrical. The passenger side (what would be the driver’s side in the U.S.) has a single door while the driver’s side (what would be the U.S. passenger’s side) has two. The second door is like a semi-door but it gives extra access to the back end from, say, a sidewalk.
The rest of the cargo area is pretty stripped down, but that makes it more utilitarian and truck-like. If you wanted a more finished-off bB you could just order the van, and the U.S. got those so there’s nothing unique about having one of them.
Unfortunately, the Open Deck was only produced for two years in Japan for 2000 and 2001 before it was brushed aside. That happened a few years before the Scion brand experiment began in the US. Had the Open Deck still been produced there’s a chance we could have seen some in the U.S., but probably not.
US “Chicken Tax” Tariff
Why? Because of the 25% “chicken tax” tariff that prohibits sales of foreign-made commercial vehicles in the U.S. As much as this isn’t a truck, it would probably be classified as one. There’s no way a Scion would sell for 25% more than what it sold for. Toyota had enough of a hard time selling Scions for what they were supposed to sell for.
Let’s say now that you’ve seen the Toyota Open Deck you have to get one. You’re in luck! With the new automobile import laws, Open Decks will be eligible for import into the U.S. in about 2025. With the 25-year import law that’s about the year, you can snag one to bring here. We’re sure some of the dealers in the U.S. that specialize in JDM importing will have a couple in their showrooms.