Luxury pickup trucks seemed like an oxymoron two decades ago, but now that’s not the case. While no luxury brand has had a bona fide hit with a pickup, trucks from the mainstream brands are getting increasingly glitzy. Then there’s Mercedes-Benz, which plans to sell a pickup outside the U.S.
That apparently got Lexus thinking. At a recent Australian press event, the firm’s product-planning project leader, Makoto Tanaka, told Motoring that a truck is one of several new models the Toyota luxury brand is considering. He noted, however, that the truck is lowest on Lexus’ list of priorities, and wouldn’t arrive for some time even if it does get green-lighted.
Other models that Lexus plans to prioritize instead include a seven-seat version of the RX crossover, and a smaller crossover that would potentially slot below the NX in Lexus’ lineup. U.S. Lexus dealers have been clamoring for a seven-seat crossover so intensely that they were reported to have derailed production plans for an RC convertible last year.
Tanaka said the truck was the “least possible” among this group of vehicles. If it does go into production, though, the Lexus truck would reportedly be based on the Toyota Hilux, a model sold outside the U.S. that is famous for its toughness, and infamous for its use by extremist groups like the Taliban and ISIS. Mercedes is taking a similar approach with its truck, which will be based on the Nissan NP300 Navara.
Since the Hilux isn’t sold in the U.S. (we get the Tacoma instead), the Lexus pickup probably wouldn’t be offered here either. It’s unclear whether Lexus would try to position the truck as a full-on luxury vehicle, or use it as a way to move downmarket, as Mercedes may do with its truck.
Luxury trucks are starting to sound less and less strange. While previous attempts like the Cadillac Escalade EXT and Lincoln Blackwood and Mark LT were less than successful, manufacturers are finding that customers are willing to pay a lot for luxurious trucks. Models like the Ford F-150 Limited and GMC Sierra 1500 Denali are already exploiting this trend, even if they wear less-prestigious badges.