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Toyota A-BAT Concept Pickup; Will Other Automakers Follow Suit?

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On: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 2:13PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota A-BAT Concept Pickup; Will Other Automakers Follow Suit?

Now that Ford Motor Company has announced the official plans to discontinue the production of the Ford Ranger, what is next in a small-sized pickup truck for Ford; will a new prototype be popping up soon to replace the Ranger?

Ford plans to get rid of the Ranger sometime next year and may be planning to replace it with a new vehicle built on the next generation Ford Focus platform.

It certainly seems that there continues to be a market for a small Ranger-type pickup as evidenced by the popularity of the Toyota A-BAT pickup concept at this year’s Detroit auto show. The vehicle is as small as a Toyota Corolla, with four seats and small (4-foot) cargo box.       

The A-BAT has some unique features, such as the midgate which is positioned between the back seats and the tailgate. The midgate can be lowered to create a cargo floor that can be expanded to reach from the cargo box all the way through the back seats up to the front seats of the cab. Extending the space of the cargo box would allow for hauling of a cargo up to 4x8 feet.

The Toyota concept vehicle was developed as an economic fuel-efficient vehicle that offers the convenience of being able to haul items such as large boxes, home building supplies, sporting equipment, and more; even a small motorcycle will fit into the A-BAT’s cargo box.

Toyota is still deciding whether or not the A-BAT prototype will go to production or not; there is no doubt that the little compact truck-like vehicle turns heads. Toyota may even decide to market the A-BAT under the Scion brand.

Subaru designed the Baja small pickup-like vehicle which was designed after the popular Outback. Baja also has a midgate, just as the Toyota A-BAT does, however, it is much smaller, providing less capacity for enlarging its cargo box; measuring only 12x30 inches. The Baja was a flop.

Ford Motor Co. is planning a few different production models built on the Focus platform, including a compact minivan that offers space for up to 7 passengers. It has been noted that the wheelbase of the Focus platform was extended to create the minivan that Ford calls C-Max.

Some auto experts believe that the platform has adequate dimensions that would enable it to be used to create a small, unconventional pickup similar to Toyota’s popular concept pickup.

Ford has already announced its plans to design a new Focus family pickup truck; the jury is out as far as the details are concerned, but let’s hope that the new little truck will have some of the innovative features that Toyota created in the A-BAT.

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