Click above to enlarge the A-BAT concept

Toyota has thrown all of its green eggs (sorry, no ham) into one basket: hybrids. That trend seems set to continue as the major automaker is now considering building the radical hybrid-powered A-BAT compact pickup that was debuted in concept form earlier this year in Detroit. That small pickup would slot below the successful Tacoma, which has grown in leaps and bounds with the past few redesigns and is no longer the Ranger competitor it once was. According to Automotive News, suppliers are now bidding on assorted systems for the truck, though Toyota has not announced anything official. Both a four cylinder and a hybrid powertrain would be on the menu. We can get behind the idea of another small truck option in the States, but it sure does seem like odd timing considering how far the overall pickup market has fallen in the last year.

Interestingly, Toyota has reportedly canceled plans for a small diesel engine for its full-size Tundra pickup, citing those aforementioned sad sales statistics. If the market ever picks back up, the automaker claims it can move quickly to revive the now stalled program. The hybrid A-BAT could help offset some of the poor CAFE fuel mileage statistics that the Tundra currently scores, and will now continue to post thanks to the lack of a fuel-saving diesel option.

Update: Toyota Group VP for Communications Irv Miller told ABG that there is no official confirmation either way on the Tundra diesel. The company is currently re-evaluating all its truck programs and he couldn't offer a date when a final decision would be made.

[Sources: PickupTrucks.com, Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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