Toyota’s U2 van concept to pop up in Toronto

Toyota’s U2 Urban Utility small delivery van concept will make its global auto show debut in Toronto next week.

The U2 — pronounced “U-squared” — features retracting roof panels and a “configurable utility rail system,” according to a news release.

The U2 was an exercise for Toyota’s California design team to come up with a vehicle to meet the needs of urban entrepreneurs and businesses, Toyota Canada spokeswoman Melanie Testani said.

“There are no plans for production for this vehicle,” Testani said.

The concept vehicle was first seen in 2014 at a conference hosted by Make: magazine in San Francisco, and appeared at a New York event later that year. Toyota said then that the van features fold-up rear seating, a tailgate that can fold into a ramp and a retractable utility bar.

Toyota is absent from the rapidly growing small utility van segment, which grew 45 percent in the U.S. last year to nearly 100,000 sales. The vans, including the Ford Transit Connect, the Ram ProMaster City and the Nissan NV200, are targeted at urban businesses and delivery services looking to transport cargo on tight city streets.

When asked whether Toyota had any plans to enter the segment in the future, Testani reiterated that the U2 will not enter development and said the company had “nothing to announce at this time.”

Toyota will show the U2 on Feb. 11 at the Canadian International AutoShow at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The show is open to the public Feb. 12-21.

The U2 joins the 2016 Prius, RAV4 and “a totally tricked out” Scion iM at the Japanese automaker’s Toronto display, Toyota said.

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