The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz have jumpstarted the compact pickup truck segment in the US. The segment, which was abandoned in the past decade because of the increasing sizes of trucks, came back to life with the arrival of these two trucks last year, reigniting the taste of Americans for smaller trucks.

In fact, these two have been selling like hotcakes, the Santa Cruz was among the fastest sellers off the lot last year. Meanwhile, Ford stopped taking orders for the Maverick earlier this year due to the overwhelming demand. Together, the Maverick and Santa Cruz have racked up 50,000 unit year-to-date sales.

That said, there's one automaker that's thinking of re-entering the compact pickup truck segment in the US and joining the profitable fray – Toyota.

First-Generation Toyota Tacoma
First-Generation Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Motor North America Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Jack Hollis told Automotive News that "there is space" in the Toyota lineup under the now-midsize Tacoma. "The question is, how to fill it?"

Hollis added that Toyota "continued to look" at the compact truck segment "and we've continued to look for a long time," according to Automotive News.

Of note, the first-generation Toyota Tacoma (pictured above) was classified as a compact pickup. However, it moved up to the midsize segment in 2004 when Toyota introduced the second-generation model.

"It's undeniable that those products have a place in the market. And how big is that segment going to get? I don't know, but it's something that we need to be looking at and figuring out if it's an area we should play in," said Cooper Ericksen, group vice president for product planning and strategy at Toyota Motor North America.

There are things in consideration, though. Toyota is balancing emissions regulation and vehicle size – the former is inversely stringent in the US in relation to vehicle footprint. Despite this, we won't be surprised if the automaker pulls the trigger somewhere down the road given the profitability the segment brings to the table.

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