By on September 24, 2011

Mid sized pickups allegedly were left for dead. Automotive News’ Product Editor Rick Kranz even accused Honda of “abandoning” its Ridgeline pickup. Now, the unloved segment is being resuscitated by – General Motors. And the UAW.

Says Edmunds:

“A variety of moves in the past week indicate General Motors Co. isn’t carving any headstones, after all. GM hasn’t said anything definitive lately about the fate of the midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon nameplates, seeing how their assembly plant in Shreveport, LA is scheduled to close in mid-2012. But GM doesn’t have to, as it’s all but said a new midsize pickup is coming. And it’ll no emerging-market leftover – it looks magnificent and will be built in the U.S.”

Edmunds thinks that a concept version of a new midsize pickup shown at the Frankfurt auto show soon ”is the trial balloon for the next-generation Colorado/Canyon in the U.S.” The source? The UAW labor contract. Edmunds writes:

“The UAW’s summary of the contract provisions said matter-of-factly that GM’s commitments to new products to be built in the U.S. include (at its Wentzville, MO, assembly plant), “full shift added and new mid-size truck program.”

Edmunds calls it a “a notable strategic gamble given the segment’s astounding sales decline.” No kidding, as the graph above vividly illustrates.

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62 Comments on “You Can Thank The UAW For A Truck Nobody Wants...”


  • avatar
    carguy67

    Gotta believe there’d be a market for a hybrid small/mid-sized truck.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    So this isn’t the new Colorado that debuted in Thailand? Because that’s a traditional body-on-frame pickup, not unibody like Ridgeline. But even with the market in decline, it’s also been abandoned by key competitors, so the new truck would’ve had the market pretty much all for itself. So it might still be pretty profitable.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      The UAW did not make this decision. It created another reason for GM to build it. There are plenty of reasons for them to do so.

      We often pine for companies that give it the old college try and take into consideration the families of the folks working everyday to make a business profitable. That is what happened here.

      As to a truck no one wants? Well, let’s see if that is true. For crying out loud – no one wanted an Aztek, or a Rendezvous, a Ridgeline or an Impact. No one wanted a Volt.

      So I think the headline here is misleading.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ VanillaDude…..Thank you…The list of nastys that the UAW could claim ownership is long enough.

        Product allocation, is certainly going to be part of any UAW/CAW agreement.

        The UAW has zero input into development,enginerring,and marketing, of any product.

  • avatar
    mike978

    It is a strategic gamble but with the Ridgeline and Ranger gone the competition will be less. So even if the size of market is small the number competing is also smaller. Hence sales may be better than the current small truck, especially if it is better than the current generation (not difficult). If it fails then GM lets it whither, just as other companies do in niches – like the Element, the FJ Cruiser (so it isn`t just American companies who make errors).

  • avatar
    BOF

    There clearly is a minute market for mid-size trucks. There is little incentive to buy a mid-sizer when one may purchase a full-size for about the same scratch. There is an emerging call for modern small trucks (Ranger-sized or smaller). Of course, the large truck market will always be there. Demand started falling when the compacts became mid-sized and the price rose accordingly.

  • avatar
    obruni

    here is an interesting question: could it be that the small pickup market is so small because the product offerings in the segment have generally been terrible or out of date?

    if GM can get the fuel economy numbers and prices right, maybe it could ignite a rebirth of this segment (and GM would have the market practically to itself for years)

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I concur. With gas expensive again, I think a “compact” truck that is not a 20 year old design actually may sell in supportable numbers…

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I agree — but it needs to be useful. Those “lifestyle” trucklets with 4′ beds (regardless of their height, weight, and number of doors) aren’t too appealing.

        It’s needs to be able to haul 4′x8′ sheets of drywall and other building materials to be called a “truck”. I haven’t seen a lot of that kind of practicality in the concept-designs that I’ve seen recently.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      That I would agree, like take the 4.0L V6 that was modified into an OHC motor for the Ranger and ditch it for a more modern motor of similar design and give it a more up to date, better shifting manual and a decent 6spd automatic at least etc then it’ll be much more competitive than it is currently.

      I know Ford has replaced the older steering system with Rack and Pinion and redid the Mazda sourced manual transmission and updated the 4.0 V6 to OHC but still, it’s not enough when the basic body design hasn’t changed all that much since the late 1990′s and isn’t too far off the beaten path to the 2nd gen pickups like mine (also with the 4.0 V6, but in pushrod form).

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Could it be that the small pickup market is so small because the product offerings in the segment have generally been terrible or out of date?”

      I think so. I’m a more-or-less happy owner of a 1998 Ranger. I live in the suburbs, work a white-collar job, and play a handyman on weekends. I really don’t need a full-sized truck, or even a midsized truck — though lots of guys in my situation do. The F-150 is a great truck, but it’s overkill purposes and doesn’t fit well in the the parking garage at my office. I refuse to be the guy with the F-150 Office Worker Edition.

      I started out looking for a better Ranger. It doesn’t exist — buying a newer Ranger would just be paying $20k for a vehicle that I already own. The compact and midsize trucks that are on the market sacrifice bed-space for back-seat space, which makes them lousy cars AND lousy trucks. Then I looked for compact station wagons that can tow a small utility trailer, but the selection is limited and the prices are high. Then I looked at a Transit Connect, and I love its practical simplicity — but it isn’t rated to tow my trailer. And now I’m looking at beater-minivans — since they have good carrying capacities and since most are rated for the kind of light towing I actually do. As Steven Lang pointed out, they’re a very good deal because they’re “uncool”.

      This is a pretty long journey for a guy who just wanted a Ranger that’s better than the one he has. Put the old Explorer’s AWD system in the Ranger (I’m man enough to drive a RWD 5-speed on midwestern ice, but I don’t want to if I don’t have to), and they would have had a sale (not thrilled about traditional 4WD for my purposes). Bolt a Volkswagen TDI engine under the hood of the existing Ranger and integrate the electronics, and they would have had a sale. A front-wheel-drive CVT Ranger-camino would have sold me. Even a real change in body sheet-metal might have had me thinking about buying a new Ranger. As it is, I can bolt a NAV system into the dashboard of my existing Ranger, get the transmission overhauled, and have the interior detailed, and call it a 2011. Or I could buy an old Ranger and have a project truck. Or, I can keep my old Range rand complain on the Internet (which is really what I’ve done). But a $5-$10k beater-minivan is looking pretty good, and it would be practical from the day I buy it — the an minivan is one of the few machines that provides the low-cost practicality that drew me to the Ranger in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      I agree with you. The small car segment is getting hot now, used to be a small segment largely ignored by the domestics, offering only cheap and terrible products. Now they’re getting serious with this market, and giving the consumer good products, and look, people are buying again! Cruze was even able to snag #1 in sales for a while. You can’t imagine any of its predecessor doing that, because they were there only to exist in the market and not competitive.

      If automakers are once again getting serious about the small truck market, and giving us a good product that offers a compelling alternative to the full-size pickup, the consumer might just come back to the market. Right now they just give us a slightly smaller, not much cheaper or more fuel efficient than its full size trucks, ancient and outdated product, (while the full sizer is much more modern than up-to-date than its smaller brother), then one should not have to wonder why people are abandoning the compact pickup.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    GM is still a truck company. At the moment, the Ford F-series is thrashing GM in the full-sized segment.

    This may be a way to try to compete on two fronts. Add CAFE into the mix, and that probably explains the motivation.

    Just because this information was disclosed in a UAW document does not mean that the decision to make the vehicle came from the union.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      Combine Chevy Silverado and GMC Siera sales and the GM trucks outsell Ford F-Series.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      Not sure why everyone thinks F 150 is trouncing the GM Twins. Even with the much touted success of eco-boost, Silvy and Sierra sales are up more than the F series, both percentage wise and in raw numbers. 31,000 more units YOY for Siverado+Sierra versus 23,000 more units YOY for the F series. Ram is up 29000, Titan down 2000, Ridgeline down 6,000, and Tundra down 8,000.

      I wish GM would make an open bed truck off the Equinox platform. It should easily get 30 MPG HWY and GM would have trouble making them fast enough. The problem, it would cannibalize a lot of sales from the more profitable Silverado. Similar to how great deals on the Camry has caused sales to tank for more profitable cars like the Rav 4, Venza, Highlander, lexus ES, IS and HS.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Sales YTD as of August 2011:

      Silverado – 252,738
      Sierra – 93,438
      Combined – 346,176

      Ford F-Series – 361,978

      I’m reasonably sure that 362,000 is a larger number than 346,000.

      And in past years, GM often led in this segment. If I were at GM, I’d probably be eager to change this.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        So 15K difference in sales over 8 months, 1.87K per month, less than a 4% monthly margin is, as you put it…

        At the moment, the Ford F-series is thrashing GM in the full-sized segment.

        Hardly a thrashing. Also, lets take a look at the contenders. General Motors GMT900 platform is how old again? 2007 from a 2008 model year, a five year old platform. Using engine technology that can trace its roots back to the 1950′s (and in the case of 4.3L entry level V6, just about was designed in the 1950′s).

        So – five plus year old platform, the oldest in the full size truck arena (well you do like to get technical, the Titan is about the same age) with engine technology that makes the Toyota 4.7L offering in the Tundra look cutting edge.

        Sales volume are about 3.75% behind the pace. Hardly a trumping – it’s freakin’ impressive.

        Oh – and before you drag out the UAW label and lover of all things GM. I think the Colorado/Canyon living on in 2013 SUCKS – and I posted same opinion on LLN several days ago. I can provide the link on the topic if you’d like.

        I believe a midsize truck offering that MIGHT float would be the Holden Ute rebranded as an El Camino offering GM 3.0, 3.6, and an SS 6.2L LS3 package. Production could be done in Canada. That makes remotely more sense than this offering.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    When the segment is revived, and it will be, I’m sure we’ll see the appropriate thanks given to the UAW (yeah, right).

    “Small” pickups will make a comeback for the simple reason that they are very practical and get better MPGs than full sized models.

    Some think that “small” PUs are not small enough any more, but the same Colorado is produced in Thailand, and if it’s not too big for the Thais, it’s not too big for Americans. (Thailand, btw, is the second biggest PU market in the world, after the US)

    The next development in small trucks will be FWD trucks, based on car platforms.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I didn’t really mean to suggest FWD PUs would be a “new” development. We’ve even had them here in the US. I just mean this is where that market segment will be headed. A small FWD car platform can offer a light weight base for a PU. These vehicles are not about total payload so much as the ability to haul bulky objects.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I’ve wished for a Dodge Rampage or a VW Pickup to come back into production. I’d like to have something with an open bed for the times I need to haul mulch. I’d also like to have something I can put a cap on for the rest of the times.

      I’m hoping that Fiat or GM will bring one of it’s South American trucklets to market here in North America.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        A small trailer has worked for me in those times I did not have a truck. It actually works pretty well for stuff like mulch that requires cleaning after use, even when you have a pickup. Small ones from Harbor Freight or northern tool are cheap and some even collapse to store in the garage.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Why not just add a pickup bed to the transit connect? It has a 1600 lb payload capacity and can tow 5000lbs according to the specs on the web site. Price vs. a full size would be the big issue – but I think it would be a great platform for creating a small pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The perversity of the Chicken Tax rears its ugly head. The Transit Connects all ship to the US with back seats that are removed if the customer doesn’t want to pay for them in order to beat the tax on light truck imports. That might complicate spinning off one with a large pickup bed, or else it would get hit with a huge tariff. A Transit Connect pickup would likely have a unitized bed, meaning that bringing them in without the bed wouldn’t work either.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Or they could just build it here and they wouldn’t have to worry about the chicken tax.

      • 0 avatar
        400 N

        According to that web site, it is the vehicle’s GVWR which is 5000, that is Gross Vehicle Weight, which includes the actual vehicle + human + cargo wieght.

  • avatar

    The small truck market suffers because the profit margin isn’t there for the dealers. When a new Colorado starts at more than $17k and goes up to almost $30k, and the Silverado with a bigger incentive and more profit to play with starts at only $21k its easy to see that the only advantage is its easier to park and it gets a little better fuel economy. When you finance it and divide the cost by the number of payments it doesn’t cost much more to get into a full sized truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I see the same thing as you… However, a buyer, I don’t really care about the dealer’s margins.

      So, why not cheapen and decontent the light truck? Take the existing Ranger and put a tiny little diesel in it, flatten out the wheel wells, keep its towing/hauling ability intact, make a farm-tractor style interior with no radio that you can clean the cab out with a garden hose — and the rest will take care of itself.

      Of course, a few people out there might buy this practical little truck instead of a $40k Silverado/F-150, so it’ll never happen… Judging by the number of clean-looking single-driver SUVs I see on the road, selling more truck than people need is a profitable business…

  • avatar
    geozinger

    If gasoline or CAFE go any higher, the standard full sized pickup may become economically unsustainable to the general public. These mid-sized trucks would be a way for folks who really need/want the capabilities of a pickup truck to get them.

    Judging from eyeball measurements, the last mid-sized trucks (Dakotas, Colorados, Tacomas) were hardly any smaller than the 1973 Chevy C10 I used to use to take our racer to the track back in the 80′s. There’s a great deal of utility in that size of a vehicle.

    There’s a whole sub-set of folks (even on this board) who clamor for a new Ranger or a smaller Tacoma and a return to the size of the original S-10 as a truck they would purchase.

    This might become the new normal for a pickup truck.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Shouldn’t that apply to any vehicle they build?

  • avatar
    Syke

    Damn, there’s a possibility that I may be grateful to the UAW for something? You’re talking to someone who absolutely refuses to drive what is currently considered a full-sized pickup, no matter what the gas mileage. They’re too damned big for my tastes.

    Go Chevrolet. You potentially have something out there to bring me back into the fold.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Australia has the outgoing model with 3.6 V6 LPG (wow) or maybe can see Diesel? Isuzu sends 2.5 Turbo Diesel with 136 HP or 3.0 Turbo D with 160 HP and loads of Torque. If GM wants to give it a go we will finally see if all the B&B asking for these configurations are just talk or if this is the wild card every other manufacturer would not bet on that delivers a home run. One would hope.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    New 2.8 TD replacing Isuzu Engines in new model.

  • avatar
    Zoom

    I wasn’t aware the UAW were designing pickups.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    I think that small pickups would sell well. But I also think that minivans, station wagons, manual trainees, and hatchbacks should sell well.

    So here is my propel for any auto industry exec reading this. Hire me for ten million dollars a year. Listen to my advice on everything: interior, engines, styling, etc. Then do the opposite of what I say. You’ll soon own 80% of the world wide market: since my record of zero %, doing the opposite would certainly give you 100% success in any market (my ability to recommend failing vehicles extends to all type, from truck to car).

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “But I also think that minivans, station wagons, manual trainees, and hatchbacks should sell well.”

      Good ones will sell well.

      There’s a Prius hatchback in my driveway — the reason it sells better than those old hatchbacks that everyone hated is because it wasn’t designed to be a car-of-last-resort for people who can’t afford a bigger car. Hatchbacks are wonderfully useful for their size, and all someone needs to do to sell one is sell one that isn’t just a CAFE-counterweight. Ford seems to be doing this now with the Fiesta and Focus, and Toyota has been doing it since 2004 with the Prius. After owning a Prius, I’ve decided that sedans are useless for my purposes.

      Minivans sell because they’re really good at what they do.

      I really want a wagon, but I can’t afford one. Used ones cost more and get the same MPGs as a used minivan, so a rational/practical man must pass. However, I’d much rather driver a wagon. The pre-2010 Outbacks are very nice, and the Jetta TDI Sportwagons look awesome — except that I had a bad/expensive experience with Volkswagen products, so the Jetta is off my list.

      The only thing I’d take issue with is the manual transmission. I like them, my wife doesn’t. So, I’ll be taking my next vehicle with two pedals so that she can drive my car when it makes sense. But, if it were just me, I’d give the manual-shift variety serious consideration.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    I’m not sure anyone has manufactured a truly large lift kit for a unibody full independent suspension vehicle yet. Could this be it? Are those even the theoretical specs of this vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I’ve seen lift kits for the old Jeep pickup that was based off the unit-body Cherokee, but I don’t know what’s the highest lift engineered for a vehicle like that.

  • avatar
    Boff

    Baseless anti-UAW innuendo is alive and well on TTAC, I see. The more likely sequence of events is that GM was planning to build a new compact pickup anyways (a decision not taken lightly as developing a vehicle line can come in at 9 or 10 figures) and the UAW convinced them to build it in the USA.

  • avatar
    agroal

    GM will blame anyone and everyone except themselves for the lackluster Colorado. I’ve owned the 1st gen. 2000 Tacoma (compact)and now a 2011. Other than the step up to midsize it’s better in every way. The current Tacoma and Colorado were introduced around the same time back in ’05. Typical GM: Show up to a gunfight and pull out a knife. The geniuses at first gave the Colorado only a 5 cyl. as it’s top engine. The interior is a still plastic joke. Toyota really sweats the details. (sound familiar?) The fit & finish inside and out are light years ahead. 18 different configurations to choose from. As one magazine said about the Colorado a few years back in a midsize truck comparo: “It almost seems as if Chevy is trying NOT to compete”

    • 0 avatar
      mazder3

      Funny. In their 2005 Car and Truck Buyers Guide at same magazine gave the Colorado “best-in-class ratings for its ride, fit and finish, solidarity, impact isolation and general driving refinement” A reader called them on it. Mag Eds response “It’s funny how quickly things change. All of the competition is new since we wrote that.”

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      agroal, I have an old Air Force buddy who still drives a ’92 S-10 Tahoe ExtCab with the 4.3 V6 but his reason for still driving that old relic is because he’s got so much money tied up in it to keep it running that he can’t afford to let it go.

      He has told me that if and when that old POS falls apart and he HAS to buy a new trucklet, it won’t be anything GM, even if it is this new one.

      I believe the boy is either going to spring for a Tundra 5.7 by the way he’s been ogling mine, or, maybe a Tacoma 4-door 4X4 SR5 V6, by the way he’s been lusting after my son’s Tacoma.

      In short, for most people it really doesn’t matter if GM, Ford or Dodge come out with a new domestic compact truck. Few bought them in the past. Even fewer will buy them in the future since Toyota has the market cornered with their Tacoma.

      That’s not going to change. Too bad, actually. Tacoma needs competition. Without it, they can charge whatever the market will bear. And they do! Check out the prices on the 2011 Tacoma models. Shocking!

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        Remember this, both GM and Ford let their trucks get stale on the vine in recent years, even the Colorado/Yukon both aren’t much better than their predecessor, the S-10 so with the Tacoma growing larger and getting more and more powerful, but at the expense of mileage, it’s a wonder its still selling like it is.

        My best friend bought a 2001 Ford F-150 crew cab 4×4 with V8 and it gets similar mileage to the Tacoma with V6 if I recall right and in the end, he now drives that 2001 Ford and has the automatic, the Lareat package, sunroof, 6 disc changer and he bought it 2 years or so ago for $7K and around 70K miles on it and he’s been happy with it.

        BTW, I see lots of the old Ranger trucks still prowling around here as I drive one and many of them ARE 1st and 2nd gen models too so there may WELL be a need, if people feel Ford and GM aren’t ignoring these little trucklets for their full sized models.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Ciddyguy, excellent point! Here is an example of Toyota’s pricing strategy: my son’s Tacoma cost him more than $35K all told; my own Tundra DoubleCab 5.7 SR5 was a little over $32K including everything. That’s what I mean about whatever the market will bear. I bought more truck for less money.

        The only decent Ranger IMO was the 4.0/automatic. I know several retired GIs that drove them until the wheels fell off, in different cab configurations. Some with camper shells, some without.

        And I mean these guys drove them cross-country on trips many times, coast to coast. One guy I know had over 250,000 miles on his with no more than routine maintenance and oil changes. What got him to retire this truck was the cost for a ring and valve job, since he didn’t want to swap engines with Autozone.

        This same guy is now a happy camper in his Tacoma V6/automatic. Smaller engine, better gas mileage, smoother ride and better handling. Sounds like a win/win to me.

        You know, there will always be people who will buy a product, look at the old Dodge Rampage or the Subaru Brat. Some people even buy Ridgeline trucklets.

        The question is whether or not enough people choose to buy the offerings from GM, Ford and Dodge for the manufacturers to break even on the product. They didn’t in the past, that’s why they phased them out.

        But like I said, without competition, Tacoma is just going to raise their prices like they have been doing, and people will just continue to buy them at whatever it costs.

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        Highdesertcat,

        I should make clear he was looking used for either truck but the point is still this, that Toyota can’t get mileage like some of our own domestics can get with their larger motors.

        I know the Ranger well as mine has the 4.0L pushrod V6 but had the manny tranny (Mazda sourced as its 2WD) and it has 235K miles on it and it still goes strong. But with gas here still sitting at $4 a Gal at some stations for 87 gas, it’s not exactly cheep to run even if I can muster no more than 24-27mpg highway at best.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Ciddyguy, gas mileage is just not a strong suit for trucks and it has been said many times by many different people that if a person has to worry about gas mileage or the price of gas he oughtn’t buy a truck.

        My son gets terrible gas mileage in his Tacoma and my gas mileage with the 5.7 is much, much worse. Seriously! I’m delirious with joy if my mileage even approaches 16mpg overall, which it rarely does. Most of the time it is between 12-15mpg unloaded, and between 6-10mpg fully loaded or hauling. That’s a fact!

        A lot of it has to do with the type of driving and altitude. Also, I use Shell Premium gas all the time, every tankful. Getting from my property onto US54 requires me to speed up to 75mph or get run over by 18-wheelers and other fast-moving traffic. I can watch my gas gauge move down as I accelerate. That 5.7 is thirsty!

        Then again, I never cared about the price of gas. I’m addicted to gas, I like to drive. I’ll buy it until my money runs out. But I can see where some people who drive a lot would have a problem with high gas prices.

      • 0 avatar
        agroal

        I’m on my 2nd. Tacoma. A 2000 and now a new 2011. Both 4X4s with the 2.7l 4 cyl., 5 speed manual trans., and 6′ bed. If you don’t need to tow a big boat or heavy trailer the Toyota 4 cyl. is a great engine. Usually around 22-24 mpg. I like Toyota’s interiors much better than the rest. You spend most of the time looking at the inside and Toyotas are better looking and better thought out. Fit,finish,and materials are excellent. Little things like the LED-lit gauges that come on when you turn the key on even without the lights on, like a Lexus. Leather on the wheel and shifter. Even the composite bed and the engine compartment have a quality look to it. It feels like you’re in a more expensive truck compared to the domestics and Nissan. I paid $27,500 and if it’s 2 grand more than a comparable domestic, to me, it’s worth it. It’s like the old racer’s line: “Speed costs money. How fast you ‘wanna go?”

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        agroal, the Tacoma has grown larger and heavier in some configurations and IMO it is a prime candidate for the new Toyota 4.6 to offset that additional bulk.

        I don’t think it will ever happen; but my son’s Tacoma is dang near as large as my 1988 Silverado EC LB 350 was. I’m exaggerating here to make the point that the Tacoma has ballooned in size from its early days.

        alluster, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the prices on Tacoma or anything Toyota to come down any time soon, short of total collapse of the global economy. My Tundra now stickers out at $35K for 2012! Pretty dang expensive for a wannabe truck, you think?

        I’ve got a buddy who still drives an early model Tacoma ExtCab 4-cyl 5-speed with AC and he told me that he paid $12K for it. I’d say he got his money’s worth, but he’s not giving it up until it falls apart.

        The question in relation to the article is if GM is going to be able to sell enough of these new trucklets to break even. If they try to compete with the Tacoma or Ridgeline in styling, looks or functionality, GM will fail miserably.

        The Ridgeline, albeit the butt of many jokes, is truly an outstanding MPV/SUV/CUV in its niche, and has a very loyal following.

        I know several old guys who drive theirs to the Older American Center, and several younger ladies who won’t drive anything else. I’ve even seen a Ridgeline loaded with bags of feed and bales of hay.

        Like I said before, people will buy anything, even a Dodge Rampage. But will the manufacturer sell enough of them to break even? That wasn’t the case in the past.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      @HighDesetCat – “But like I said, without competition, Tacoma is just going to raise their prices like they have been doing, and people will just continue to buy them at whatever it costs.”

      Very true indeed. Toyota will raise prices as long as people keep buying them. But, pretty soon the pool of buyers, blindly willing to shell out north of $23K for a small pickup will soon run out. Prices would inevitably fall. People are going to start doing some math and realize they can buy the bigger, meaner looking, more capable Ram for 23,000 without sacrificing much in fuel economy. If i had 30K to burn on a truck, I would probably buy one of these bad boys

      http://autos.yahoo.com/used-cars/dodge-ram_1500-cars413959794;_ylt=AqCEbkKC9oL5G1UCISAtPEcKO5Z4;_ylv=3?sortcol=price&sortdir=down&askpriceub=10000&askpricelb=1000&deliverymileageub=any&deliverymileagelb=any&listingtype=used&model=ram_1500&make=dodge&distance=any

      http://autos.yahoo.com/used-cars/dodge-ram_1500-cars414933308;_ylt=ArdDHvMpQp2.PIX7nA69Vg0KO5Z4;_ylv=3?sortcol=price&sortdir=down&askpriceub=10000&askpricelb=1000&deliverymileageub=any&deliverymileagelb=any&listingtype=used&model=ram_1500&make=dodge&distance=any

      and put the remaining 20K in stocks or something. But again, that’s just me.

      I want GM to put some effort here, if only to f*** Toyota up. They can easily deliver if they put their minds to it and trounce Toyota in this segment, similar to what the Cruze, Equinox, Lacrosse and Regal have done to the Corolla, Rav4, ES and IS.

      The ridgeline OTH, fills an important niche because not everyone wants a manly looking beefed up truck that is very capable.

  • avatar
    400 N

    I’ve got my hopes pinned on the new Ranger / Mazda DT-50. Available since 2007 outside NA, with diesel versions too (!) Could it be the small diesel truck nirvana is finally on the horizon? Probably not, says the local Mazda dealer. They’ll plug new Mazda diesels into the CX-7, giving us more reasons to hate CUVs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_BT-50

  • avatar
    Andy D

    since I bought my 94 Ranger this summer, I notice that there are plenty of them running around eastern MA. I’m hoping it will prove to be a worthy successor to my Grand Wagoneer

  • avatar

    That looks pretty good. I’d take it over a Ridgeline ANYDAY.

    Even though my name is “Bigtruckseries” I am completely done with SUVS and trucks for the time being. After owning an Expedition and leasing an Escalade EXT, I now prefer to have my vehicles low to the ground and ILLEGALY fast.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @bigtruckseries…..Like a lot of folks here,I find the new trucks too big. I just sold my wifes Jimmy. The Jimmy was the last in a long line of trucks I’ve owned.

      No more trucks for this guy.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I think the small-truck market is going away because people don’t really want small trucks. The reason I say this is that I have a 2003 Silverado short-box regular-cab truck. Admittedly this is an unusual configuration but it does what I need it to. But my point is that I quite regularly see S-10′s, Colorados, and Tacomas that are longer and higher than my truck and have bigger tires. To my way of thinking, they are not really small trucks at all.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Isuzu sends 2.5 Turbo Diesel with 136 HP or 3.0 Turbo D with 160 HP and loads of Torque.”

    So why not stick the 3.0 Turbo into a real truck chassis(1/2 ton) and forget about a worthless unibody compact that can’t adequately haul or tow much of anything?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    The UAW has to help GM remember that they have customers with needs out there… Funny.
    BTW while they are at it, why not consider a mid size diesel truck… Or would that make to much sense?

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    Want a new Ranger cheap? Try this place: http://www.bowenscarff.com/Best-Deals-Cars.aspx

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    The 4×8 sheet of drywall comments make me laugh. I wonder how many suburban White Collar types use their truck bed for anything other than the Golden Retriever and the occasional barbeque grill. I’ve hauled plenty of plywood, drywall and 2×4′s in my 79 Chevy short bed (6 ft bed), my 2000 Frontier (5 1/2ft)and my 2006 Frontier Crew Cab (5 ft). The tailgate stays down – big deal.

    I see plenty of Frontiers and Tacomas out there. Far too many for being a “dead” segment. These are modern powerful midsize pickups with excellent V6 engines. The Nissan 4.0 VQ truck engine is awesome.

    Ford’s Ranger V6 offerings, although reliable, are outdated. The Colorado would have actually been better off with the old push-rod 4.3 rather than the underpowered 5-cylinder. And who designed that fugly Colorado Fisher-Price style dashboard…

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Back when I was in college (1995-1999) I was working for the Physical Plant, they replaced a beat up old 1980 Chevy truck with an early 1990s V6 Dodge Dakota standard cab long bed. While the cab was a little cramped (and I’m only 5’11″) the long bed would accomidate a 4X8 sheet above the wheelwells with a much smaller footprint. The guys loved it for light duty work and racked up the miles pretty quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @EdDan: I had a 95 Dakota extended cab with the shorty box on it. 3.9 V6 and autobox, it was a far better hauler than my BILs Ranger. While being somewhat bigger, fitting into tight spaces and parking downtown wasn’t that much of a challenge. It could take whatever load I put in the bed. And, it wasn’t THAT much smaller than a regular bed pickup, but I still got the small truck discount at the local gravel and mulch place.

        If my kids hadn’t been growing so rapidly at the time and my other car wasn’t that POS Topaz, I would have liked to hang on to it longer. But we decided to trade what had the better resale value to get the price down on my wife’s then new car. Bummer.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “The 4×8 sheet of drywall comments make me laugh. I wonder how many suburban White Collar types use their truck bed for anything other than the Golden Retriever and the occasional barbeque grill.”

      Me! I’m a DIYer on weekends. That’s why I bought my RWD Ranger in the first place. My wife is still amazed that you can just go to the hardware store, buy a pile of lumber, and build something — I enjoy building stuff, and it gets me laid. Yay

      Though Ford and GM’s market-research probably agrees with you. Which is why I’ve been shopping compact wagons and used minivans. Also, Harbor Fright has a nice little folding trailer for sale that I can tow behind any small car that’s rated for towing.

      BTW, I helped a family member buy F-150 (and I’m part owner), and it’s an excellent truck, and I spent a lot of time driving it around town while I was getting it outfitted. It’s an excellent truck, but it’s not the right tool for what I do with my truck. It’s too high, too much effort to park, and the bed wasn’t really any bigger than my Ranger’s bed (except for the distance between the wheel-wells). It’s a great fit for what this family member is doing with it (traveling thousands of miles over unimproved roads in the desert southwest), but the load-floor is too high and the footprint too large.

      My old Ranger is getting pretty long in the tooth, so it will be replaced sooner or later. I’ve thought about buying another used Ranger and putting a flatbed/ute-bed on it. Or, I might go for a compact car that can tow or a very-used minivan. I could use the extra seats at times, and the useless 4′ poseur beds that I see on a lot of 4-door trucks aren’t going to cut it.

  • avatar
    JMII

    As said it before and I’ll say it again: I bought a V8 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab for one reason – it was “right sized”. I had a Ranger (Extra Cab Splash) and the V6 didn’t have the power to tow my boat. Gas mileage with the Ford 4.0l V6 was the same as the Dodge 4.7l V8, a laughable 13 mpg. The big difference being that the Dodge has no trouble pulling my boat. My truck fits (just barely) into my two car garage, I don’t want a bigger truck regardless of price/power. I can’t be the only one that feels this way, but based on sales of the F150 it appears so. I’d love a Dakota size truck with a small-ish diesel, you know the same kind the rest of the world uses every day.

    The full-size truck is an America-only thing, kind of like the soccer mom luxury SUV/CUV. Gas mileage is slowly reversing this trend as people realize they can fill 95% of their needs with a 70% smaller vehicle. However I think something special needs to hit the market place to trigger a shift in thinking. Kind of like how the Mini got people into smaller cars and how hatchbacks are making a much over due comeback. The compact truck market is out there, but it lacks a “halo” vehicle to generate any buzz… now a Jeep pickup based on the 4 door Wrangler might be the just ticket.


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