What’s the Toyota Tamaraw Small Pickup and Is It Coming to the U.S.?
If you saw our post last week about the Toyota small pickup truck, the Rangga, then this Tamaraw “concept” will look familiar. Toyota just unveiled the Tamaraw at the 2023 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show. They’re calling it a concept, but it is another variation of the Rangga with some notable differences. The point of both trucks is that Toyota is targeting them for developing countries, yet we would argue there is a market for them here in the U.S. despite the Japanese automaker having both the Tundra and Tacoma.
Calling this a Tamaraw is reviving the name of Toyota’s popular Phillippine truck of the 1980s and 1990s. Otherwise, we guess it would just call this a Rangga and be done with the concept angle. Those original Tamaraws were popular as jeepneys, small buses, and multipurpose vehicles. Tamaraw comes from the name of an indigenous water buffalo.
Is this a concept or the next Toyota Tamaraw?
In the Phillippines for the show and celebrating its 35 years there, Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda said Toyota would revive the Tamaraw in 2024. So this is essentially it.
As with the Rangga, the Tamaraw sells mostly as a cab and chassis-only truck and only as a single cab. Local commercial truck bodybuilders then build onto the back, whatever the owner wants. And while that is how it is also done here, it is usually done for heavy-duty trucks. So, for that reason, you might think this is a large pickup truck, but it isn’t.
Could a Toyota small pickup sell next to a Tundra and Tacoma?
Were it to come to the U.S., it would slot below the Tacoma, almost like a more utilitarian, affordable Ford Maverick rival. And it would probably be available with a bed and maybe a cargo box directly from Toyota, as seen in the images. That could make it a cheap pickup that undercuts the Maverick’s price by a few grand.
Toyota uses its Innovated Multipurpose Vehicle ladder frame platform, which it designates as IMV-0. The significance of that is its design accepts both hybrid and EV power combinations. So the Tamaraw would be a truck with an eye toward future electrification, indicating it could be something Toyota markets here for a long time.
The modular body allows for easier and cheaper panel replacement in the event of a crash. Even the bumper is modular, made in three separate sections. So, in most cases, the entire bumper won’t need replacement, saving time and money.
Would a cheap hybrid small pickup sell well in the U.S.?
The Manila Bulletin says the truck is being made locally in Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines. Being homegrown gives it another advantage in that market. But who is to say Toyota couldn’t send knocked-down versions to the U.S. for assembly by an approved up-fitter here? Or, for that matter, build it here.
Whatever Toyota’s intent, an inexpensive hybrid-powered or electric utilitarian pickup would have to sell well here. Would it cut into Tacoma sales? That’s highly doubtful. So, the Japanese automaker can immediately jump into the small pickup category and ride that wave for as long as it sells. Would you buy one?