Ask Nathan: Are More Korean Trucks Coming Here, Scion EVs and More Things We Don’t Need?

Kia pickup image:

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will additional Korean trucks hit our market?
  • What if Scion came back with EVs?
  • Additional things we don’t need in cars?

The first question comes from a viewer who noticed an uptick in online posts concerning Korean trucks, namely pickup trucks, that are coming to other markets.

This is the Kia Mojave, which is in production. We expect the pickup truck to be based on this vehicle.

Q: (Via: Do you think other Korean trucks will come to the United States?

I have seen several websites report on seeing a Kia test truck driving around. It is supposed to be meant for the overseas market including places like Australia. Knowing how popular pickup trucks are here, do you think other Korean trucks will come? The Hyundai Santa Cruz is doing well but it doesn’t compete with anything other than the Maverick from Ford. Maybe the mid size pickup I’m seeing from Kia could come here too?

I would like that very much!

– Shuddup’ Donnie

A: It is a possibility, but there’s a lot to do before Kia, or anyone else, sells pickup trucks here.

It’s a huge task, selling foreign pickup trucks in the United States. The main issue is being able to maintain competitiveness in pricing as imports are subjected to heavy tax – among other things. It’s pricing to simply make a vehicle compliant with DOT and other government regulations.

On top of that, building these vehicles here (which almost everyone who sells here does) means huge investments. Building a dedicated factory, or a dedicated line in a factory is remarkably expensive. Add to that the expense of developing a vehicle for this market, and hiring additional workers to build it – it’s a tall order indeed.

With that being said, there has been chatter about Kia bringing a pickup to the United States. As I mentioned in a June 2022 article, Kia’s announce EV lineup strategy mentions an all-electric pickup truck of some sort, specifically for “Developed Markets.” That should include the USA – right? Take a look at the image below for a little bit of clarity.

Kia’s midsize pickup truck:

The Australian market is expecting a midsize pickup truck from Kia, as early as 2024. It is based on a frame and body setup, like most pickup trucks. Thus, it’s not a unibody vehicle like the Hyundai Santa Cruz. The images we’ve caught on the web indicate that it will be fighting against trucks like the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux directly. Sadly, there’s no additional information on this truck, at present – nor is there any indication that Kia will sell it here.

It would be fantastic to see more Korean trucks here. I feel that more competition forces automakers to “up” their game, and (usually) lower their prices.

We’ll keep a close eye on this story as it develops.

  • N
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The next question comes from a fan who thinks it would be a good idea if the Scion name came back to Toyota – selling EVs.

Scion Hako Coupe concept (Image: Toyota)

Q2: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) What if Toyota did a total about face and built all their EVs under the Scion name?

I know it’s a stretch but it would be cool. Everyone loved the Scion cars and it would be cool to see the name come back in a way that truly helped Toyota. I think their whole EV program is in trouble. This could be a great answer. Build cheap, simple EVs for everyone under the Scion name!

  • CKurt0L99
Scion Illusion concept (Image: Toyota)

A: Interesting idea, but I sincerely doubt it.

When Toyota killed off Scion in 2016, it was after a 13-year run in North America. Sales tanked during the economic downturn, and recovery was poor. On top of that, they lacked product. In addition, we noticed a lack of enthusiasm from the parent company.

The “Scion” name is connected to a failed experiment. The brand was never set for international representation. As such, the stigma of being a defunct badge, mixed with a lack of worldwide recognition could be an issue.

I do like the idea of Toyota trying something different to relaunch their EV lineup. In two decades of covering the industry, I’ve never see Toyota struggle like this.

– N

The last comment comes from a fan who wants to contribute to the conversation Roman and I had about items we dislike in modern cars.

Nissan X Trail T30 (Image: Nissan)

Q: Hi Nathan. I usually do not voice opinions re things being omitted in modern cars, but manufacturers do seem to be taking several steps backward with each new model.

Just for some background, I grew up in Singapore and have spent the last 30 odd years in Thailand, from an era when it was expected that you work on your own vehicle (VW beetle, Morris Minor) in the generation where ‘trafficators’ you know,  those turn signals that would pop out from the door pillar were used.

I’m an ex aircraft tech, also QC engineer on some railway projects here, now retired.

Doug DeMuro did something similar a while back, here are my two cents worth.

  • 1. Bring back a physical oil dipstick.
  • 2. Bring back light bulbs (halogen,HID) that have actual bulbs in the cluster. LED brake and headlight clusters fail more often than you’d like, and they are very expensive to replace, as the whole LED cluster is replaced.
  • 3. Those electric tailgates. Nothing wrong with the old cable operated opening and gas struts, cheaper and easier to replace too.
  • 4. Normal mechanical adjustable seats. Electric seats are fine until the time they don’t work. Would be nice if they had some sort of redundancy built into them.

Favourite car I owned – 1994 Saab SE turbo with some mods.

Present car – 2006 Nissan Xtrail T30 (similar to the Rogue) that I won’t be replacing as it has a torque converter gearbox with selectable AWD, halogen bulbs in the brake cluster, HID headlight bulbs (OEM) and enough flat space on the dashboard that I can mount my phone as a gps unit, standard cd/ cassette player (still have my Deep Purple tapes from way back yonder) and a great all round view. Dealer service here does not cost an arm and a leg.

Things I miss/ pet peeves – the blackout panel on the Saab. Plus I hate those fully lighted instrument clusters (even in daytime) that you cannot properly dim at night. And the unnecessary beeps, ding-dongs and other noises that are impossible to eradicate in newer cars.

We do not have the same types of roads here or the large engine capacity cars that you have in the US so I have not really followed the US based channels. However, your last discussion struck a chord.

Have a nice day.


Sick Water Buffalo.

A: Man, I wish Nissan sold the X-Trail in the U.S.

Thanks for the great email! I know you sent additional material, and I may use that in a few weeks.

As for your list, one of the points I wanted to point out to our readers is in regards to the LED clusters. While LEDs will outlast most bulbs, clusters live on a circuit board that can malfunction. When it does, the entire component has to be replaced. OEM LED taillights can easily exceed $300 per side. Yea, that’s mighty pricy.

As for the rest of your list, I agree with all of them, but I sincerely doubt automakers would consider adding redundancy to power seats. It’s all about the bottom line for them.

Thanks again for the email!


p.s. If any readers want to add to the list. Please do so below!