What do brandy, dextrin, pickup trucks, and potato starch all have in common? Believe it or not, there was once a 25% import tariff on each of them in response to European countries placing tariffs on U.S. chickens. Since the 1960s, the “chicken tax” has been repealed on most of those goods, but the tax on importing pickup trucks still remains.
Rumors are swirling that the tax might be on its way out as a result of trade agreements being made in Europe and Asia. If that happens, the cost of importing foreign-built trucks would drop drastically and open the market up to all kinds of exciting vehicles. We’ve wanted them for a while, but here are seven trucks we might actually get to own if the chicken tax is repealed.
7. Volkswagen Amarok
Depending on who you ask, the Amarok is either named after the Inuit word for “wolf” or after an album by the German metal band Nargaroth. Regardless of which version you choose to believe, the Amarok is a cool midsize truck that’s sold well in Europe since its introduction. The possibility of the diesel version making its way over with a manual transmission makes it even more desirable.
6. SsangYong Actyon Sports
SsangYong is now owned by Mahindra, the Indian company that tried to bring a pickup truck to the United States for years before giving up. While the Mahindra TR had the potential to be a good, basic, inexpensive pickup, if it’s going to try again, the Actyon Sports would be a much better choice. First of all, it has an awesome name, and second of all, it’s infinitely cooler looking than the TR was ever going to be. Those two reasons alone would make the Actyon Sports worth importing.
5. Ford Ranger
Ford is busy making gajillions of dollars from its recently redesigned F-150, and it’s been pretty upfront that it has no intentions of selling the Ranger in the U.S. again, but maybe it would change its mind if the importation costs were lower. For buyers who love Ford trucks but think the F-150 is too big, they’d finally have an option available again. Plus, any sale Ford makes is a sale that General Motors and Toyota don’t. That has to count for something, right?
4. Holden Commodore Ute
If anything would make enthusiasts happier than the return of the Ford Ranger, it would be the return of the El Camino. As an El Camino enthusiast, it would also make me very happy personally. Even without a high performance version, using a car platform as the basis for a small pickup truck makes perfect sense, and GM already sells one in Australia. Since the Chevrolet SS is based on the Commodore and already sells here, bringing the ute version over should be a breeze.
3. Toyota Land Cruiser 70
Speaking of vehicles sold in Australia that the U.S. doesn’t get, Toyota still sells the Land Cruiser 70 from the 1980s there. Its tag line is, “Still powerful, still indestructible.” Like everything else about the Land Cruiser 70, that’s awesome, and it’s a shame America doesn’t get to experience its awesomeness. Since it’s sold as a truck, as well as an SUV, it would make for an excellent work vehicle. Sure, the Toyota Hilux is cool, but the Land Cruiser 70 is so much cooler.
2. Mercedes-Benz GLT
Mercedes-Benz is going to be selling a pickup truck soon, and even though America is the land of trucks, the GLT is still not 100% confirmed for this market. Since it’s going to be based on the Nissan Navara and won’t be built in the U.S., the cost to import it might end up being too high. Then again, if that cost were to drop, Americans all across the country could find themselves driving German luxury trucks.
1. Hyundai Santa Cruz
Even if the production version doesn’t look much like the ultra-cool concept Hyundai built, the warranty alone would make a Hyundai pickup truck desirable. If it does end up looking like the concept, the fact that it will be the most unique looking truck on the market would make it even more lust-worthy. Sadly, since it’s unlikely to be built in the U.S., the only way it’s going to make its way stateside is if the chicken tax is no longer a factor.
Follow Collin on Twitter @CS_CollinW