By on March 12, 2013

The Wall Street Journal‘s recent article on compact pickup trucks and rising gas prices has raised the tantalizing prospect of a return to the glory days of the compact pickups. But from what we hear, it would be premature to get your hopes up just yet.

So far, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have been confirmed for sale in the United States – and that’s it. So what about the rumors of more compacts from Ford, Ram and even VW?

The common thread, as far as smaller pickups with improved fuel-efficiency and footprint, is that they are hard to justify. These days, $1 billion is the minimum cost of entry for developing a new model. Homologating a model to FMVSS standards is said to cost at least $50 million (a figure quoted for the Lotus Elise, which still managed to get an airbag waiver from NHTSA, doubtlessly saving tens of millions of dollars). There is no way to do it on the cheap, and that remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the OEMs.  That and CAFE. And the chicken tax.

In addition, full-size trucks have become cheap enough that the idea of an affordable compact truck now seems redundant. America doesn’t have the same space constraints that Europe, Asia and South American cities do, so something with a smaller physical footprint doesn’t have the same appeal in the USA. And don’t forget any compact truck must be a global product in today’s market.

GM is in a unique position with the Colorado and Canyon, having been developed with global sales in mind – much of the development work was done in Thailand (the world’s second biggest pickup truck market), but the vehicle is ready to go for sale in the USA. The global Ford Ranger on the other hand, is about 90 percent of the F-150′s size, meaning it is too close in size and price to be sold here. It’s also not coming here due to the costs of certifying it. Ram may yet launch a “lifestyle” unibody truck, but again, the Ram’s new V6 fuel economy, lower price and all-around appeal is doing a good job of negating any benefits from selling a unibody truck.

But there is a ray of sunshine for compact truck enthusiasts. We already have two great mid-size trucks, the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, on sale right now. Of course, in the rush to covet product that we cannot buy in America, we forget about what’s already in front of us.

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188 Comments on “A Return To Compact Pickups? Don’t Count On It...”


  • avatar
    jimboy

    I would certainly like to see a version of the Fiat Strada come to NA. There are still many people, especially urban dwellers who have a need for a small utility vehicle, but have no desire for a full size (monster) truck. I would would gladly look at a smaller, or car based, vehicle to haul the few things I need occasionally.

    • 0 avatar
      leshnah

      I work for Fiat here in South America, and let me tell you: the Strada is nowhere near ready for being sold in the US. It’s too crude, the interior specially is crap. It won’t meet safety standards.
      And, as soon as americans ride in one, they’ll realize that to get one with the most basic ammenities (aircon, electric windows, ABS, airbags) you are looking at US$16.000. For not much more you can get a nice F150, Tacoma or whatnot.
      Fiat would have to develop a whole new truck, which, as explained above it would be too expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      If there is some reason that the Strada cannot be certified then Fiat could always camino the Doblo, which is coming to the US. The same with Ford. It has the Courier for Latin America, but if that is not practical to certify for the US then Ford could always camino (ranchero?) the Transit Connect.

      There is definitely no future for body-on-frame, RWD compact pickups in the US. That layout limits fuel economy, and it is not significantly more expensive to build a large truck on that layout than a compact one (actually the large truck is probably cheaper to build because it has much more volume to amortize tooling and development over). The front wheel drive, unibody Latin American pickups are incredibly capable.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        “Fiat could always camino the Doblo” Update, they have. I wonder if this will be comming to the US as a Ram, along with the regular Doblo:

        http://www.autoblog.com/2011/08/31/fiat-doblo-gets-a-dropside-work-up/

        • 0 avatar
          Defender90

          Transit drop side pick ups are fairly common here in the UK and you guys are getting the real full size Transit over there aren’t you? There even used to be a 4×4 Transit…
          Come to that, a Sprinter would do too. Although strangely I don’t ever recall seeing a Sprinter pick up despite it being a very similar vehicle to a Tranny.
          Anyway, vans make good pick ups as they don’t waste space with any more bonnet than they need. *Sigh* Oh all right, “hood” then.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            We get the Sprinter drop side, and we are getting the Transit drop side, but they are hardly compact pickups.

            If the Fiat Doblo WorkUp drop side comes to the US as a Ram Promaster City drop side that will be interesting. That will be a truly compact, versatile and capable compact pickup in the US market. What many people commenting here claim they want.

          • 0 avatar
            Rental Man

            @ Defender90. As of now, most of us who are even aware of the “truck” reffer to the Transit Connect as Transit. I think that one is called Tourneo Connect overseas. Not the larger one with the drop sides that will be here soon. It is more the Dublo, Kangoo or Berlingo / Partner size.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Rental-Man, I believe what Defender90 is referring to is the Transit, not the Transit Connect. The Ford Transit (T-Series?) is slated to replace the Econoline van (E-Series) in the US soon.

            The Transit is the commercial version overseas, and the Tourneo is the passenger version overseas.

            The Transit Connect is a separate smaller vehicle that is already available here, and the platform was originally based on the Ford Focus. Ford uses the same naming convention overseas — the Transit Connect is the panel van version, and the Tourneo Connect is the passenger version. The passenger version in the US is called the “Transit Connect Wagon.”

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        No place for BoF rwd pickups? What the hell are you smoking, go take a look at the ridge line and get back to me, I don’t think you understand the point in pickups, its not for superior handling and looks.

        No uniframe pickup will ever make it big at least in the US.
        Hearing this is just like hearing… God knows what… Can’t even think of an analogy for something this dumb.

        I’m guessing you’ve never been to the US there is no market for a fwd pickup at all, unless it got 50 mpg and costed no more than $5,000 neither very plausible, but even then it would be sold for comuter purpose because there would be no realistic use for it then point a to b

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          Not much of a market for RWD Unibody pickups anywhere else outside NA either.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          Re Hummer: Work on your reading comprehension. I said that “There is definitely no future for body-on-frame, RWD *COMPACT* pickups in the US.” There isn’t. There will be full size BOF pickups, and then there will be compact, unibody FWD pickups like the Fiat Doblo WorkUp drop side, which will likely be sold as a Ram.

          The problem with the Ridgeline was that Honda tried to take on full size pickups. All throughout Latin America people are using FWD unibody pickups from Ford, Chevy, VW and Fiat to do real work. More real work than most Hummer owners.

          Fiat Doblo WorkUp drop side payload capacity: 2,200 pounds

          Hummer H3T payload capacity: 1,100 – 1,300 pounds

          Hummer H2 payload capacity: 2,200 pounds

          Hummer H1 payload capacity: 2,454 pounds

          Fiat’s little unibody pickup can handle as much as an H2, twice as much as an H3, and only just short of an H1.

          Re ajla: The Ram van that Dodge sold for decades before the Sprinter came out was unibody. The Econoline and GM vans have been body on frame.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Compact or Fullsize, uniframe does not sell pickups, people want reliable, a FWD,uniframe does not in any way shape or form equate to reliable

            I’m sorry but no FWD pickup could possibily do more work then RWD, and If you would like to go on about the trucks I drive, I’ll let you come bring one of those FWD trucks and hook up to the 13k-15k trailers I pull with my Dmax, I guarantee that all of the Hummers I have(HMC4, H2/3) will out work any FWD pickup

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            People want their cars to be reliable but FWD/unibody is still predominant. BOF/RWD is overkill for a compact pickup. A body on frame RWD pickup costs so much to make that there is no point in making a compact one. If a company is going to use that design they might as well make it full size. People that need to tow over 10,000 pounds are not going to buy compact pickups of any kind.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “The Econoline and GM vans have been body on frame.”

            I was thinking that the ’71-’96 GM vans had a unibody too.

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            I wish they built the the new Cherokee off of the Doblo then instead of basing it on the Dart.

          • 0 avatar
            JREwing

            Hummer, are you honestly expecting a Ford Ranger-size pickup to tow a 15,000 trailer? C’mon now! We’re not proposing you replace your honking Duramax pickup with a FWD unibody truck, just as much as I’m not proposing commuting 100 miles a day in your Duramax, then trying to park it in Manhattan.

            But a compact pickup like the Fiat Doblo would be nearly ideal for my situation. A 2200 lb payload would handle any suburbanite’s home improvement needs. The Dart’s 1.4L turbo or 2.4L four in this would return about 25mpg in town and low 30′s on the highway. And in the winter, this thing will run rings around a RWD pickup.

            4WD? What for? Even in frigid Wisconsin you genuinely need that maybe 3 days a year. Get some snow tires, and you won’t miss 4WD. Plus, you won’t get overconfident and stuff it in the ditch at the next bend in the road.

            You want a big, burly small pickup? Go visit a Toyota, Nissan, or Chevrolet dealer. Dodge would tap a niche that hasn’t existed in at least 20 years – a truly useful, efficient small pickup.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    The Colorado seems too big and too close to the full size trucks. I feel like there would be a market for a cheap and cheerful small pickup. Maybe when Mahindra gets their act together.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    The other month I was running a friend around the car lots on a Sunday after his vehicle was totaled. Just browing sticker prices, no sales pressures (for the ones closed).

    I wandered over to the new Colorado. Crew cab, “decked” out, nearly $30k! Not a bad truck when I drove one for NAPA delivering parts between college classes, but not worth anywhere near that; not when you can get a full-size truck cheaper.

    And thus the problem.

    For those that want a “smaller” truck for those few times they need it. Here’s an idea, put a hitch on whatever you’re driving now (a few hundred dollars) and go out and buy a small utility trailer (another few hundred dollars). Problem solved. Whenever I need a 8ft bed, I just hook up my trailer to the back of my Jeep. The 97% of the time I don’t need a 8ft bed, I’m driving around a fuel-efficient medium sized vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      ezeolla

      This is exactly what I have planned for when I buy a house hopefully later this year.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Exactly what I did when I bought my house. 4×8 Harbor Freight utility trailer. Cost ~$400 including making a bed and sides. Used the crap out of that thing for years and years. $10 a year to register, no insurance, no inspection, grease the hubs every couple years for maintenance. I towed it with a Golf TDI initially. Vs a pickup, which is a MINIMUM of $500/yr to insure and register in this state even if it doesn’t move an inch. And then you have to get it inspected if it is less than 25yrs old.

        Now that it has rotted away, I just rent one from U-Haul when I need to tow something – couple times a year, $30/day with insurance, open or closed bed. A little more hassle, but I don’t do it enough anymore to justify buying another trailer. Most stuff fits inside my beater SUV.

        I don’t get “hauling air” in a truck 95% of the time, just because you might need to get plywood from HD twice a year. But then again, I am completely comfortable with the size of my Wedding Tackle. :-)

        • 0 avatar
          brettc

          The guy across the street from me recently replaced his Trailblazer with a giant double cab Tundra. With the Trailblazer, he pulled a pop-up/tent trailer a couple times per year and put his one kid and wife in it. So I have no idea why he bought such an insane vehicle aside from him probably getting crazy incentives to buy it. I call it the Leprechaun-mobile because he’s a short stocky guy (think George Constanza) and it’s hilarious to see him stand beside it. The guy that lives next to him recently bought an F-150 that he has no need for either. People baffle me…

          Meanwhile I bought a practical fuel efficient wagon for my wife and dog. If I ever need a truck, Lowe’s and HD both rent them by the hour, or else I’ll go to U-Haul if I need one for a day. If I ever need a trailer, a VW specific hitch is about $400 and so is a HF trailer. Much cheaper than trying to run a 15 MPG pickup that you can’t park easily in a city.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I won’t apologize for hauling air 95% of the time until sedan and SUV owners apologize for hauling ghost passengers 95% of the time. Luxury car and SUV owners are the worst offenders and yeah, my full-size pickup is a luxury I enjoy, so sue me. I’d most likely fly under the radar if it was a mid-size at 90% the size and 100% the MPG.

          I’ll admit I enjoy the style of domestic full-size a lot plus the US history, legacy and tradition if not the (potential) utility. My muscle car background sure doesn’t mind.

          A trailer plus a Ford Escape could do the job with 95% of what I haul, but you can beat having that utility ready and always with you in your back pocket.

          You never know when a friend or stranger is giving away perfectly good furniture, appliances or just a couple tons of fire wood to the first person that can haul it away. All of it away, because “all or nothing” is usually the deal.

          This morning I scored a free perfect and working matched wash & dryer just because a handyman knew I haul air 95% of the time. I couldn’t tell you all the things I’ve scored for free or next to nothing over the years for myself, family, friends, fun or profit.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverMike
            Thought you said you owned a trucking business.

            How can you run a trucking business with a SUV towing a trailer?

            Remember, your story on buying V10 F650s as your next trucks for your business.

            How can a Escape with a trailer be compared to a F650 for load capacity?

            Where are you coming from? :)

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Big Al from Oz – Work is 8 to 6 with a half day Saturday. Then I’m in my personal truck… pickup. My drivers are on-call 24/7.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark_Miata

      That’s what the folks in Denmark did when I was there – just about every car in the suburbs, even tiny hatchbacks, had a “Jutland Hook” as they were called. Even better, home centers had trailers that you could rent, so if you needed one only occasionally you didn’t have to buy and store one on your property. Very sensible, though that of course applies to a country that is more crowded together than the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        parabellum2000

        I’ve been contemplating getting small trailer and towing it with my mustang gt maybe once or twice a month. On the mustang forums it’s considered some form of blasphemy to even suggest that a mustang can pull a trailer.

        I’ve researched other vehicles and found that their towing capacities are rated higher in foreign countries than in the US, even when they are identical specs. The Jeep Patriot and Nissan Juke come to mind.

        I don’t understand how my dad could drive a 86′ Toyota pickup with maybe 90 horsepower for over 400,000 miles, many of which he towed a cable trailer loaded with a couple thousand pounds, but my Mustang with 300 horse power, manual transmission, and locking diff can’t tow 1000 for a few hours a month.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Quite a common practice in Australia where someone tows a load in a trailer and has about 2000lbs in the tray.

    • 0 avatar
      RS

      Most Utility Trailers are open and work great for most situations in good weather. However, unless it’s an enclosed trailer, road spray from weather (rain/snow) usually gets all over the load. Loads in truck beds don’t get too much of that.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      That makes a form of sense, and can be a good call for many people.

      On the other hand, those utility trailers are kinda ghastly (and the couple-hundred-dollar ones need you to put on a bed and rails if you want to actually use them).

      And a second-vehicle-that-is-a-truck has the advantage of, well, *being a second vehicle*.

      (Says the guy who just traded a 282kmi Toyota pickup for a long-bed F250…)

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I agree 1000% on the trailer, but realistically nobody has ever paid anywhere hear sticker for a Colorado either. That’s the problem with just looking at MSRP – you really have no idea how firm a price that is, and in the case of trucks in particular it seems to be pretty much fantasy land.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      The whole point of a smaller footprint pickup is blown away when you add a trailer to a car, CUV, etc. The longest bloated full size pickup is still easier to use in an urban environment. And where do you store this trailer when not in use? Again, wrong market, rural or suburban with single family homes on big lots.

      A “decked out” full size truck lists for a great deal more than $30k.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Nikita A Lot of place hire trailers here when you want one. Especially useful in a crowded urban environment.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Right! Where do you store this trailer?

        I’m going to take a beating for this., Motor homes,boats,non running vehicles/project vehicles,campers and utility trailers,should not be a permenent fixture in a suburban area.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Mikey,
          OK it would be a pretty foreign concept to you. Very Very Common practice here. You do not have to store the Trailer you take it back to the place you hired it from .Hiring fees are very nominal. The place you get the trailers from keep them looking pristine.
          There are hordes of companies that do this here for all sorts of uses.
          Example:
          http://www.moveyourself.com.au/

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @RobertRyan….I agree with you 100 percent. Making your driveway, and the rest of the neighbourhood, ugly is a pet peeve of mine.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          HF trailer folds up into a little vertical rectangle in about 3 minutes. ~1′x5′ I kept mine in the back corner of the garage. Took up less space than the lawn mower.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            I think you are my automotive doppelganger. :) I also have a folding HF trailer. I did several mods to the trailer to make it stronger and more useful. Works great and my Subaru can pull it easily. I also have lusted after a BMW 3 series wagon and a Fiat Abarth.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          In the US we hire people and rent trailers, cars, tools ect.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Scoutdude
            I know but nowhere to the same extent as here.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            RobertRyan — he meant that we use a different verb for the act of doing so in US English. We wouldn’t say a “hire car” — we’d say a “rental car.”

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @contrillo
            different again here: We hire tools; Rent a car. Difference is rent refers to people in a vehicle, cabin or house.Hire no people involved i.e Jackhammer

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      You make a really good point. Cars today have to deliver way more value than they used to, which pretty much kills anything single purpose for all besides fleets (U Haul pickups for example) and the rich (a doyyyyy). You look at pickup trucks, regular cab is all but dead, from what I understand. Its all either crew cab or at the minimum extended cab. 3 series thrives because its a “sports car” you can put 2 baby seats in. Etc. So something like a Holden Ute would not sell here. Most people need their cars to do more than be small and haul stuff.

      If they did decide to go this route I think Ford has a good base to start with the Transit chassis. Built to haul and the FWD chassis will make it more space efficient.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    “But there is a ray of sunshine for compact truck enthusiasts. We already have two great mid-size trucks, the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, on sale right now. Of course, in the rush to covet product that we cannot buy in America, we forget about what’s already in front of us.”

    You said it right there: “mid-size”. No one is “coveting” the mid-size truck. Bring us a pick up the size of an 80′s Ram50 or Toyota pickup. Tacoma and Frontier are too big.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I’m coveting the midsize pickups. That short-bed 4-door Tacoma is the perfect size for me. Truly compact pickups are too cramped and full sizers are just a pain to maneuver around.

      What I don’t covet is the $30K+ asking price on an 8 year old platform that gets V8 fuel economy. This thing is overpriced and needs the Hi-lux diesel.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Small “Trucks” Diesel Pickups or collectively Utes here do a lot more than in the US.
        http://liveimages.editorial.carsales.com.au/caravancamping/general/editorial/ge5720945894509963333.jpg

        http://www.australianrv.com.au/index_htm_files/1182.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @RobertRyan – You need to start with the right tool for the job. You can get away with using a smallish truck to haul the same loads we would normally use 3/4 tons, but you’ll burn through many transmissions and head gaskets until you give it up. Never mind that you’re using a truck that costs the same with the same MPG while sacrificing safety.

          My friend the handyman had always bought used mid-size trucks and suvs and averaged about a ton of tools and materials daily. He’d get a blown head gasket, dump it and get another and in a few months, the same thing would happen to that one if not a slipping trans. I told him to get a used half ton even if he spends a little more. He got a ’99 Expedition (with 150K miles) and hasn’t had a problem in years.

          Then my cousin bought a new toy hauler trailer for his new half ton. He was well within its capacity, but after his 2nd blown rear end (under warranty). I told him how 1/2 tons have cheesy rear ends where the inner axle shaft can slide out and take the wheel with it. The axles of 3/4 tons have massive bearings,10X the size with 8 bolts on each axle that won’t let them come out compared to 1/2 tons that just have clips that slid in. He traded it on a used Excursion and hasn’t had issues for years now.

          People are always trying to get away with using inferior tools, but eventually they learn.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I’m with you, but thanks to modern crash standards, it will never happen. Those 80s small trucks were cheap to make. Making a small pickup today that meets all modern governmental requirements would not be cheap, and the numbers don’t pencil out for the automakers; they would not sell enough of them to justify the investment (or at least that’s what they figure).

      What about this thought? What if you could go into your local dealership and sign a waiver that states that you acknowledge that the vehicle you are purchasing doesn’t meet current safety standards, allowing you to buy a 1980s-era mini-truck (with a modern drivetrain of course)? Call your congressperson now!

      • 0 avatar
        Mark_Miata

        As long as those folks also sign a waiver that ensures that they are never treated in an emergency room that is partly funded with tax dollars, I’m all for it.

      • 0 avatar
        Spike_in_Brisbane

        The new Ranger is being promoted as the first pickup ever to achieve a 5 star NCAP safety rating. Don’t rely on your memory of vehicles past. http://www.carsguide.com.au/news-and-reviews/car-news/ford_ranger_earns_five_ncap_stars
        I am amused by your use of 1/2 and 3/4 ton as description of your pickups. Here, the HiLux and similar small utes are sold as one tonners. The Holden and Falcon utes are 3/4 tons and the Falcon can be optioned as a 1 tonner with bigger springs, wheels and brakes.It seems similar to US lower tow ratings for the same car. Is it a litigation issue?
        Lastly I wanted to point out that every comparison review I have seen of the Ford Ranger vs the GM Colorado has the Ford miles ahead in almost every category.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “Lastly I wanted to point out that every comparison review I have seen of the Ford Ranger vs the GM Colorado has the Ford miles ahead in almost every category.”

          Yes — see my note below on how even a discontinued not-in-production ancient platform Ranger sold in better numbers than a Colorado.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            He lives in The Land Down Under. He’s probably referring to the (almost) World Ford Ranger. No love from the Blue Oval for the Ranger Jihad for us in the States.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            I know he’s referring to the World Ranger. Just pointing out that even ancient out of production Rangers sometimes sell better than Colorados.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            corntrollio, my apologies: I misread your comment

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Spike in Brisbane
          I am seeing more Colorado’s around. As regards the vastly lower capacity on US Midsizers, they are used mainly as “Sports SUV’s with beds” than actually do not do the sort of work you expect here. The US Midsizers would disintegrate if they had to do the same work. Different uses and different build standard.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    A lot is riding on the new Colorado right now for those who like small(er) pickups. If the new Colorado sells it’ll hopefully force Toyota to update the Tacoma and Ford to introduce the Ranger. If it is as terrible as the current iteration the small pickup market will continue to stagnate.

    The length and wheelbase of the new Ranger are similar to that of the F150 but the Ranger is a full 1400 lbs lighter and 6 inches narrower (comparing base model regular cabs) meaning it will be easier to park and easier on gas – perfect for those who need a pickup but don’t need to tow.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I hate, despite, the UAW over the Colorado/Canyon updates being foisted upon the American buyers. It doesn’t matter how good they are – they’re irrelevant in the North American marketspace.

      * Yes, this really is APaGttH, no one has hijacked my account

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @APaGttH……Whoa! “Dude”..When did the UAW start making product alocation decisions, for GM?

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          http://wot.motortrend.com/gm-may-build-new-midsize-pickup-in-u-s-%E2%80%93-is-it-the-new-chevrolet-colorado-119451.html?ti=v2#axzz2NMe0hkEc

          The replacement for the current Chevrolet Colorado pickup is coming to the United States–maybe: General Motors has agreed to produce a mid-size pickup truck at its Wentzville, Missouri plant as part of its new agreement with the United Auto Workers. GM has yet to confirm as much, but this may be a good sign that the all-new Colorado may beheading to our market.

          A sizeable portion of the contract between GM and the UAW, which was made public on Tuesday, calls for GM to invest $2.5 billion in its domestic plants to boost American production. One of those investments surrounds GM’s Wentzville, Missouri plant, which presently builds the company’s full-size G vans (i.e. Chevrolet Express, GMC Savana). The agreement, however, calls for the plant to build a new midsize pickup…

          Of course since this story ran in early 2011 we now know it is the reality, not speculation.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            “A sizeable portion of the contract between GM and the UAW” The decision to sign that agreement was made by GM.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            What a great decision to have! We can stop being in the car business, or we can sign and then be held 100% responsible for whatever organized crime wanted this time! I feel really good about this new agreement!

            *I kid. The UAW owns 39% of GM and has the ear of the monster that’s really calling the shots. Anyone complaining about their lot in a GM-UAW ‘agreement’ is about as sensible as a masturbator suing their hand for rape.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            CJ…So the UAW trying to secure jobs for thier membership through collective bargaining, is somehow a bad thing?

            The UAW didn’t want to be shareholder,anymore than the taxpayer did. It was all part of the painfull process it took to keep GM alive.
            It is what it is, get over it

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Every contract the UAW has entered into since 1980 has been sighted as a job security contract. In the same time frame, 75% of UAW dues payers have lost their jobs. There is something very wrong with thinking that the UAW is a good thing for anyone that doesn’t have their hand in the UAW till.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            “the monster that’s really calling the shots”

            Awesome. Yeah, no matter how hated, he’s still underrated.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I think its difficult to argue UAW completely makes any product/resource allocation decisions, but indirectly UAW seems to have (or at least had) undue influence on some of RenCen’s decisions.

          For instance what about the Lansing Craft Center and the existence of effective flop models such as Buick Reatta and Chevy SSR? I’ve read different things over the years claiming the craft center was a bone to the UAW for privileged/experienced employees, and really didn’t need to exist. Both the Reatta and later the SSR of those models were conceived for the Craft Center (in fact it was originally called the Reatta Craft Center). How much money was spent on these pet projects over the years?

          Wasn’t one of the purposes of Saturn to hire back displaced UAW workers? If these kinds of politics weren’t in play would GM have turned Saturn into an entire brand with its own dealerships as opposed to Geo’ing the Saturn SL and selling it alongside Chevrolet in the early 90s?

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Curbside Classic did a good history on the early days of Project Saturn:

            www dot curbsideclassic dot .com/automotive-histories/automotive-history-saturns-early-years-corporate-camelot/

            It’d be quite a bit of a stretch to say that the purpose of Saturn was to hire back displaced UAW workers, even if UAW was consulted on some issues.

          • 0 avatar
            Kinosh

            If the contracts require plants and shops to remain open, then they can affect production capabilities and transport costs.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Ranger Towing
      http://www.australianrv.com.au/index_htm_files/1182.jpg

      Comparison in size between a Ram 1500 and a Ranger.
      http://blogs.cars.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e2017ee8ef28b7970d-800wi

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The global Ranger as noted in the article is about a 9/10th size F150. However sell it in the US and thanks to our safety standards, EPA and litigation happy population and it’s rated capacity and fuel economy will go way down.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Scoutdude,
          It would not make much sense from Fords point of view to sell it as it is made in Thailand(UAW would not be happy either). Safety standards? US tends to behind in some areas(get people here saying “no they are are not”)
          If they are going to sell it in the US, you are not going to have a “Midsize” vehicle” with the payload of a base F250.
          The 3.2 Litre Diesel will be sold in the New Transit

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @RobertRyan,

            “If they are going to sell it in the US, you are not going to have a “Midsize” vehicle” with the payload of a base F250.”

            The only way mid-size payload can come close to “a base F250″ payload is if you’re talking a hard loaded 4X4 crew cab, long bed F-250 King Ranch vs. a regular cab 2wd mid-size ‘cab & chassis’ without even a bed!!!

            Of course you wouldn’t buy a heavy A$$ and hard loaded, full boat F-250 if you wanted meaningful payload and who orders a completely stripped out skeleton of mid-size like the one you described, period?

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            We are a long way from seeing Thailand being leveraged for North American production. A long, long way. If we aren’t, I had better get my stomach adjusted from Mexican cuisine to Thai. Man that would suck to whip that place into the same quality standards of the US consumer.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “Man that would suck to whip that place into the same quality standards of the US consumer.”

            Unless you’re a hard drive manufacturer… Or supplier of other parts… In some cases, they do better than cheapo China stuff.

            But overall build quality of an automobile, sure.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Does the Frontier count as a great truck? It seems like it’s needing a big overhaul update.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      All I know is that when my car was totaled and I was in a hurry for a truck, was that:

      Leftover stripped (and I mean stripped) Ranger was $18K. They weren’t discounted much on the discontinuation blowout.

      Bottom of the line Frontier, if it even really exists, was maybe 22K, a very handy size for a suburbanite like me, and 19 mpg.

      Ford F150 was 21.5K, 18 mpg city(If I use no etoh gas) AC 6spd auto cloth seats, and radio. Has the 302 hp 3.7L which is a sane motor only in comparison to the Ecoboost. It was a pretty easy decision for me, and I suspect just about everyone else similarly situated.

      Yeah, its a beast even as a regular cab. The Miata size (or so it seems) engine is so tiny in comparison to the space it has that I can barely reach over to check the oil. The sides are so tall, that I can barely reach in to casually put stuff there (I’m six feet tall). It makes for visibiity that is mediocre at best, which is traditionally one of the more pleasant aspects of a pickup. But Geez Louise, its a lot of vehicle for the money. I’m not that old, but I realized with a start, that this car has an even chance of outliving me…

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        You are correct with the numbers, no doubt. But I for one, don’t want to pilot a beast. If I could justify it that would be different. But I wanted to buy a small pickup when I started an 8 year home restoration project. No beast required, just the ability to transport significant amounts of building materials. And the numbers for one did not make sense. I, for one, think the manufacturers of large pickups find more money in making large trucks and offering some cheap variants, that offering smaller trucks with overlapping price ranges. So I used an HD truck, or ordered the biggest stuff from the lumberyard with free delivery, or carried it on a Thule rack system which was permanently attached to my extra car. In the end the automakers saved me a lot of money.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Mitsubishi is working on new Global Midsizers and the Frontier has been included into the overall plan as well.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I saw an ad this morning for the Toyota Tacoma that stated, “the best selling compact pickup truck.”

    The first thought that popped into my head was, “its basically the ONLY compact pickup truck worth buying.”

    *For the obtuse, this was a complement, the Colorado/Canyon aren’t worth a damn nickel, and the Frontier can’t hold a candle to the Tacoma. Gritch about rusty frames all you want – it’s the best darn compact pickup truck you can buy in North America

    **For the pedantic, the Ridgeline is not compact

    ***For the really pedantic, I agree, the Tacoma has bloated up to being bigger than the T-100, but it is what it is

    • 0 avatar
      Wiedowerz

      The Frontiers powertrain is much better then what comes in the Tacoma. Both are good trucks, but from a sheer performance/utility perspective the Frontier out classes the Tacoma in almost all areas.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      re. the Ridgeline:

      Seriously, what’s wrong with Honda?

      The Ridgeline doesn’t make any sense.

      It’s not competitive As A Truck (ridiculous B-pillar, hard to put a canopy on, I’ve never once seen one hauling cargo).

      It’s not really competitive as a Pseudo-Truck-People-Hauler (a crew cab Tacoma does better at that, or one of those Avalanche monstrosities).

      If they made it into An Actual Truck they could probably take some sales from the Tacoma…

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        The Ridgeline is a night and day better people hauler than the Tacoma and anyone who says otherwise is just telling you he hasn’t ever been in one.

        The RL has a ton of space inside. The Tacoma is at least 6″ narrower and the floor pan is way too high.

        With IRS and a stiff unibody the RL rides and drives like (and is) a big car. The Tacoma is numb and bouncy even for a truck.

        Honda got plenty wrong – stupid C pillar, weak powertrain, spare you can’t get to with a load, no crawl gear, etc. – but they nailed the people moving side.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          “With IRS and a floppy unibody the RL rides and drives like (and is) a minivan.” with the back hacked open.

          Fixed it for you.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            +1 scout

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            I agree with Dan. For what 80% of the population use a truck for, the Ridgeline is the perfect truck. Yeah, I know…we’re all tradesmen who constantly need to haul around 10,000 lbs worth of tools, while going through mud and crawling on rocks…all the time. If you live in suburbia, with a home owner association related to the Nazi party of 1940s Germany, a trailer of any sort is not feasable.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            There are HOAs that prohibit people from keeping folding trailers inside their garages?

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Dare I say unit construction is stiffer than BOF. Note the difference between stiffer and stronger…

            bikegoesbba: My fathers community in FL bans overnight parking of pickup trucks. I asked him, what about vans? No, vans ok as long as they have no letters. So a paint splattered, dented POS is fine, but a $40k pickup is not. I’ll never live in such a place…

  • avatar
    typhoon

    “The global Ford Ranger on the other hand, is about 90 percent of the F-150′s size, meaning it is too close in size and price to be sold here.”

    I just find it odd (and unfortunate) that Ford will sell you a sedan in four different sizes but only one size of pick-up truck (an F-250 having pretty much the same dimensions as an F-150, as far as I can tell).

    The Wikipedia page for “Ford Ranger (T6)” helpfully has a table with dimensions for all of Ford’s relevant trucks, so I did some calculations. I simply multiplied the width by the length to get the area of the truck’s footprint. With this method, I found:

    *The T6 is actually 84% of an F-150 (both as four-doors).
    *The North American Ranger (extended cab) was 77% of an F-150 (four-door); 79% of an F-150 when you compare single-cabs.
    *The first-generation Explorer Sport Trac was 80% of a current-generation F-150 (both four-door).
    *The second-generation Sport Trac was 84% of an F-150 (both four-door).
    *A Tacoma is 82% of a Tundra as single-cabs; 83% as four-doors.
    *A Frontier is 79% of a Titan (both crew cab).
    *The new Colorado is 92% the size of the longest Silverado (but Wikipedia’s numbers say the Colorado is actually wider than the GMT800, which surely isn’t true).

    I don’t think the T6 is that far out there compared to the Tacoma and Frontier, but if Ford doesn’t see a market, I guess it doesn’t matter.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Mid-size crew cabs are more comparable to full-size extra cabs (or quad/super cabs) in combined front and rear legroom. Still, you’re talking 4 passengers vs 5 or 6 in full-size. Then the 90% foot print sounds about right and that’s the point where people start to question the sanity of a fully loaded 4X4 mid-size when similarly equipped full-size are the about same money and MPG.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I had a Mitsubishi Might Max and it was perfect for me. In 1999 all the small trucks were a bit bigger then and to get a nicer interior you had to buy the V6 option which took away all the economy of a small truck. So for a couple thousand more I bought a swb 2wd V8 Silverado. I don’t see that anything has changed since then so I have no desire to buy a new truck.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Instead of the Colorado, Chevy should import the Mexican-market Chevy Tornado pickup.

    Instead of the Ranger, Ford should hack the back off a Transit Connect and put a bed on it.

    These are small pickups, everything else is too big.

    • 0 avatar
      RS

      A Transit connect pickup would be awesome. It’s got more payload capacity than the Ranger ever had. Put the 2.5L in it for more power and most likely, a little more MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      eggsalad, I’ve said it before, IMO a stretch-Grand Cherokee would make an excellent small pickup truck for Fiastler.

      The architecture already exists and all they would have to do is put a 4-foot, or 5-foot, or even a 6-foot bed behind the rear doors, with a load-distributing frame under the bed and over rear wheels.

      Another possibility would be to use a stretch-Wrangler as the basis of a small pickup truck.

      But the small pickup market is owned by the Toyota Tacoma. There wasn’t any way for GM, Ford or (then) Chrysler to compete with the Tacoma, and there isn’t in the future. The Nissan compact truck is a variation on the theme and sells to Toyota haters.

      Those opposed to buying a foreign brand can always step up to a V6 Ford, GM or Dodge full-size truck. Many probably already have.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        The Grand Cherokee and Wrangler are way too expensive to use for a compact pickup. Both are more expensive and complex than the Ram 1500. Here is the transverse engine, FWD, twist beam rear axle (i.e. very cheap to produce) compact pickup that Ram will possibly be selling soon (the Doblo van is already confirmed as a the Ram Promaster City):

        http://www.autoblog.com/2011/08/31/fiat-doblo-gets-a-dropside-work-up/

        Making it in Mexico will avoid any chicken tax issues.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I don’t know about being too expensive. If people can spring for a Tacoma (not cheap!), I believe that Jeep could make a better 4wd compact pickup truck.

          The Jeep trucks of the past were good sellers but the parent company, AMC, went belly up because its other cars tanked in the market place.

          Former FWD small pickup trucks from VW and Dodge also didn’t make it. I would be surprised if people would choose them this time around. Look at how the all-new, innovative Dart is doing. There’ll be Fleet sales in its future.

          IMO, a small, compact or midsize pickup truck should come standard with 4WD to set it apart, and Jeep has the best 4WD system on the market.

          Ford, Range Rover and GM all copied the Jeep 4WD Overland system of WWII.

          Chrysler has always gone their own way with 4WD and brought us such crow-footing disasters as the New-Process 203. Yes, I owned one!

          I would not buy a small truck, but I believe a lot of people would be drawn in by a small truck from Jeep.

          • 0 avatar
            Defender90

            The first Land-Rover was heavily inspired by the Jeep of course, but the Range-Rover? Not so much, there was nothing else quite like it before.
            I think they did take some inspiration from one of the American 4×4′s coil sprung suspension but they made it work much better in a much more compact package.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The Range Rover system was for many years an improvement over the original Overland system and became even more refined toward the end of the last millennium.

            In fact, the Range Rover system inspired Jeep to improve on its own 4WD system with the current QuadraDrive I & II, QuadraTrac and SelectTrac systems.

            Up until my sons left home I was actively involved in Mudding, racing 4WD vehicles on tracks consisting of mud and muck, and the winners were invariably the Jeeps and the IHC Scouts.

            In all fairness we never had any Range Rovers competing, but judging by their stellar reputations for off-road use in Africa, Mongolia, Siberia and Australia, I have no doubt that Range Rover is a highly competent vehicle, although financially out of reach of most 4WD enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    I’ll get flamed but I’ll add the Honda Ridgeline to the discussion. A unibody truck but still a true 1/2 ton. Somewhat of a cult following at this point (yes, I own a 2010 RTL). But it does what MOST people want from a truck with the added benefit of independent suspension and hence, a large sedan-like ride…

    However, even as a Ridgeline Owners Club (ROC) member , I see the issues and acknowledge them:

    As expensive as a nice F-150, not much better fuel mileage and really not that much smaller of a footprint in the real world. Sames applies to the Frontier and Tacoma…Hard to come up with any ‘value’ equation over a full size. And the RAM 1500 with the new PentaStar V6 makes it even tougher…The RAM is a nice riding, well appointed and finished truck.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Ridgeline is very popular in my area. Mostly with the ladies. And with people on the nearby military installations who need an all-around, all purpose vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      My regular load for my short-box Silverado pickup is the furniture for my wife’s craft show booth. That load wouldn’t fit into a Ridgeline. So that’s off the mark even for a guy who’s on his sixth Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      The Ridgeline would be the perfect truck for most of us, if that damn mileage would be better. No one would constantly put it down if it would get 22-23 mpg, but it doesn’t. The most I get out of mine is 18-19 mpg…best ever was 20 mpg hwy…downhill, wind from behind. I love mine…but that gas mileage…

  • avatar
    BrianL

    I wouldn’t say that the Tacoma and Frontier are great. They are in bad need of refreshes. There fuel economy is abysmal when compared to fuel size trucks (at least EPA ratings are). When the other midsize/compact trucks around, the Tacoma and Frontier were the best. But, the competition was very poor. Being the best of the worst doesn’t mean great.

  • avatar
    Feds

    We just need to get over this “TRUCKS IS REAR WHEEL DRIVE” mentality. The only way we’re going to get back into small trucks is to base them off of small cars.

    If you go back and look at an ’80′s compact truck (I’ve owned an ’84 B2000, an ’84 mighty max and a ’91 Ram50) they’re small and low to the ground. Even in 4wd configuration the roof doesn’t stand 6′ off the ground. 14″ rims and 27″ tires where about all they could fit. Putting 30′s on the b2000 required hammering the wheel well.

    And really, as someone who as disassembled and reassembled every drivetrain configuration imaginable, a FWD 4-cylinder is no harder (and maybe even easier) to work on than a longitudinal RWD truck.

    Manufacturers are so quick to shout “Platforms are Expensive”, yet for marginal development cost increases, you could add a wagon and a pickup to the mix. Imagine how good an HHR pickup would have been, or an Orlando pickup. The Journey or the new Escape could be good bases for the other brands. We’re seeing tall greenhouses and upright windshields (i.e. Kia Soul, Cube, even the Juke), why not develop a version with 2′ more frame behind the rear wheels and a twist beam?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Really?
      A FWD is equal in simplicity to a RWD setup?

      Your on it.

      I can get to everything on my engine and transmission easily on all of my trucks, There is no such thing as a strong FWD system currently, no FWD can outlast a RWD setup, nor can FWD be made cheaper then a simple RWD

      The only reason for a FWD setup on a pickup is for a inconcievable niche market.

      • 0 avatar
        Feds

        Go on… There are no FWD systems supporting 300+ hp? There are no FWD systems on HD vans? Fleet and taxi customers are having massive failures with W-body FWD systems? GWB’s Presidential Limo was FWD, and was able to absorb a front-end hit from a wrecking ball and drive away.

        With a FWD layout you can have the engine, trans, and front suspension on the floor in front of you in 12 bolts or less, without an engine hoist (or anything more than a floor jack).

        A compact truck doesn’t need more than 150hp. A 150hp 4-cylinder setup will last forever, even dragging around 1500 lbs in the bed. And as most longitudnal engines are hiding half their sparkplugs under the firewall, I’ll happily do regular maintenance on a transverse 4.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Chrysler for example could make a smaller, lighter duty truck based off the ProMaster chassis, which is FWD with either 3.0L I4 diesel or 3.6L V6 Pentastar.

          Variations of that chassis can carry over 5000 lbs as well as tow up to 5,100 lbs. All of this should be more than enough for the typical compact pickup buyer.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            No they would not.They already have the extremely popular IVECO Daily Cab Chassis variant of the Van. 8000lb towing but an impressive 9000lb payload.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Another issue is, the “few” places in the US where full sizers are too big, are also places where a more secure covered van holds more appeal than a an open pickup truck. Particularly with the increasing availability of advanced, high interior volume to exterior size ratio, vans and vanlets over the past 5 or so years.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      This is completely spot on. As much as I would like to see actual pickup/dropside versions of the Ford Transit Connect, Fiat Doblo (Ram Promaster City) and Nissan NV200, and I think that there would be a market for them, those vans are really the new compact pickups.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Is the compact pickup becoming the “diesel station wagon” of 2013? It damn sure feels like it.

    If there were a true market for these things, they wouldn’t have died off. I still think that Ford’s Transit platform is the right starting point for something like this. Anyone hoping for the return of a full body on frame RWD bespoke platform pickup for ~$20K is smoking crack.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      sporty you may have a point.

      A bespoke BOF RWD based platform for mid sized trucks probably died off for a reason. (full size fuel thirst perhaps) However, I always thought the Subaru Baja was a good compromise. Car based driving dynamics, car beased fuel economy, great cabin for 4 (seeing as it was a Legacy basically) a large “trunk” when you need it and still enough utility for most peoples needs. Shame it was a bit off looking. But I have seen people hauling sporting equipment, small amounts of home improvement stuff, garden stuff, and for extra big stuff the suggestion of a hitch and aluminum trailer fills the void.

      PS: Have I seen you on candlepowerforum automotive subsection?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Haha yea Dave that was me at CPF. I put the kibosh on the LED project for now, too much stuff on my plate. I do have some ideas in the hopper though. Internet’s a small place

        I think the Brat could have succeeded with a bigger bed, longer wheelbase and an optional bed cap. Still though, for what it was it was pretty good, and yet it failed while the Outback continues to this day. I think people, especially in these gas mileage focused times, just don’t want trucks unless they absolutely need them all the time, in which case they will go with something full sized. Going halfway nets you the negatives of both- a truck’s gas mileage, handling, and ride quality, without a truck’s full on towing and cargo capacities. Plus like dude said, there’s always the Tundra/Frontier.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Too bad, you sure got Scheinwerfermann excited with a SCIENTIFIC approach to the discussion of home made LED headlights, which is more than most bozos that visit there.

          My personal situation looks like this: the problem with a Tacoma/Frontier, or indeed even a used V6 Sonoma or Ranger is that, I don’t need the hauling power/weight capacity of a typical truck, be it small or large, I need the open air versatility of a box to carry bulky, oddly shaped items (IE sporting equipment) that is not neccesarily heavy. Hense, car based “trucks” like the Baja always appealed to me, though apparently not to enough people to have a viable one on the market. Subaru’s excellent AWD/2.5 turbo was just a bonus to me.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            As legitimate as your demands may be (and as prepared as you may be to pay to have them met) unfortunately you represent an unsustainable. You figure they would need to spend $1.5B at the minimum to get this thing into dealerships… for a $25K car that’s 40K units in this generation. I doubt all the BRATs in existence add up to that (old ones too).

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I’m sure Subaru intend to tap into a new market with the Baja, but it more likely cannibalized the profitable Outback/Legacy and Forester and thereby traded good sales for bad. During the Baja years, Outback/Legacy and Forester sales declined slightly and rose again shortly after. This may have been a coincidence, or maybe the Baja was just bad luck. Either way, it’s a lesson learned.

            I’m sure selling Tacomas on the same lot as Corollas and Camrys (as well as Tundras) may have the same effect on Toyota the OEM. If you’re Mitsubishi, you know that bringing the Triton truck to the US could have the same effect their mainstream US cars. And the same thing with VW’s Amarok. And with Ford’s Ranger?

            thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/charts-of-the-day-is-subarus-sales-streak-losing-steam/

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ok the Triton truck is hideous and very 3rd-worldy looking. I don’t think anyone would bother buying that here.

            http://www.tuningnews.net/wallpaper/1024×768/mitsubishi-triton-panther-01.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @CoreyDL or “Cartoon Pickup’ as it is known here. The good thing is their excellent Off Road ability(Not such a big thing in NA but Globally yes) some of the DNA of those 11 Paris-Dakar Rally victories has found its way into the Triton.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @davefromcalgary Lack of modern diesels and some dated architecture in midsizers has not helped. In Australia Diesel Pickups are replacing the gas (petrol) ones. Some manufacturers have stopped selling gas engines here and gone to all diesel as the demand for gas pickups is so low.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      “Is the compact pickup becoming the ‘diesel station wagon’ of 2013? It damn sure feels like it.”

      I have been seeing internet comments about the untapped demand for various forms of compact wagons, body on frame compact pickups and Australian style utes for years. Jalopnik seems to favor utes, while TTAC favors the compact wagons and BOF compact pickups.

      The key is always to keep the price under $15K by using crank windows.

      Ironically the one company that did sell a rear wheel drive, independent rear suspension, manual transmission compact wagon in the US, Suzuki, with the Grand Vitara, not for under $15K but at least for under $20K MSRP, just failed in the US market. Why couldn’t they get the price under $15K? Obviously, standard power windows.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Don’t forget the diesels. I admit, I have played that coin some times myself, but the Fiat Panda really is an excellent car, and with Americans being as broke as they are some good, cheap, honest motoring could do us a lot of good. Plus it hits all the marks:

        - European
        - Under 15K, with crank windows
        - Anti-American body/segment (A-segment hatchback/wagon)
        - Available turbodiesel

        Coincidentally, each of these attributes is exactly what the people who actually buy cars literally run from. But hey, thats the beancounters’ problem.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    Why does everytime someone brings up needing a compact truck, people start bashing saying “F-150/Silverado/Tundra/Ram” can be had for only few thousand more. What if there is a large market of people who don’t WANT a large pickup truck (judging by the amounts of comments on various forums). I for one would’ve picked Tacoma over Tundra any day even if they were priced identically and Tacoma had worse fuel economy. I live in suburbs of Atlanta, so space is not a concern, but i wouldn’t want a large lump of metal sitting in my driveway, and have to switch cars every time i want to go downtown. Or even having to look at the large ugly truck. Or having to climb into the bed every time you need to get anything out of the bed, as opposed to just reaching in. There are waay, waaaaaaay more virtues of small truck than just price and fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If you really wanted the Tacoma, you would have bought the Tacoma. Plus you can still buy a used one now if it really fits your needs that well. The truth is the market for small trucks just isn’t there, even among the folks who claim to really want them.

  • avatar
    mikehgl

    It’s a shame that there is no viable market for small pickups in N.A. They make sense on so many levels ( m.p.g., space constraints , accessibility)
    I have been watching the progress posted on the web regarding the new CanyonRodo and it appears that GM is tweaking the look of this platform so it has that “mocho”, beefier truck appearance that appeals to U.S. buyers. I also understand that the existing interior (Asian version) is not up to expectations of North American buyers and is also going to be enhanced.
    Many posters are hoping for the 4 cylinder diesel variant to be available here but it appears that this may not make it to the states. At least not at launch. These trucks are not going to be “compact” by any stretch of the imagination and will be larger than the current Colorado/Canyon platform. So, once again, the question arises: What market segment are these trucks aimed at? They are going to be 80% – 90% the size of the full sizers and probably that or more in retail price. Where is the market for something that is so close to a full size p/u in price and size that it is almost pointless to buy?
    Might as well get the full monty.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The global Ranger was designed for the US market where it would have returned the F-100 badge to the market. However as you mentioned it was decided that it was too close to the F-150 and what ever sales it did generate would likely come at the expense of the F-150 so they decided not to offer it in North America. However if they do want to sell it here it wouldn’t take too much as it was designed to meet the US safety standards. Emissions standards are another story as they hadn’t got to federalizing its power train before the ax fell.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I think my Dodge Dakota Quad Cab is right-sized, that’s why I bought it. I had a Ranger before and I could live with another one if it had enough power – the old 4.0l V6 couldn’t handle the load of my boat. I posted this before but the Ford V6 and Dodge V8 get the same 13 mpg while towing my rig, however the Ford was really struggling to get up to speed and maintain it.

    My ideal vehicle would something like smaller Ridgeline with a diesel engine for the improve pulling torque and MPG while having more a car-like driving experience plus room for 4 adults in a squeeze (similar to my Dakota Quad Cab). I don’t want a huge thing that will not fit in my garage or requires a step ladder for my wife to climb into. I don’t need a huge bed, just folding down the tailgate to fit longer items works fine.

    Some might say then I just need a CUV, but the enclosed rear vs an open bed really limits what you can carry – I had an Isuzu Rodeo at one point but couldn’t put any mountain bikes IN it due to size (and mud!), but they drop into my Dakota’s bed no problem. Honestly the global Ranger seems perfect if it was lowered by about 3″ as I don’t need that excess ground clearance. If you look at the pictures comparing the Ranger to the Ram the slightly smaller Ford is still the same height which is odd (unless the pictures are a 4×2 Ram vs a 4×4 Ranger).

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @JM11
      I think it will be a growing niche for GM’s overseas Colorado. Like anything “new” to the US it will take time for stereotypes etc to fade.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    Cheaper and mpg and 10% larger doesn’t equate. What part of smaller don’t the manufacturers get? Don’t need large, need small. Understand? My 2000 Ranger bed is 45″ high at the center of the rear wheel. Most of the F150′s are 54″. Big difference. The bit about being too close in size is a poor excuse. Manufacturers build vehicles close in size all the time. Case in point, Focus vs Fiesta and Taurus vs Fusion as an example.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    The technological problem of small versus big pickups is analogous to the performance deficit problem of European Supercars versus a Corvette or a Boss 302: Technology has become the great leveler, the great eliminator of entire classes of form factors.

    In any BOF pickup (i.e. any that you want to haul a real load in), there are inherent weight and aerodynamic issues wherein small pickups do not cause much, if any advantage over a full-sized pickup fuel mileage wise, with a huge disadvantage in hauling and towing capability. If you don’t haul or tiw real loads, don’t be buying a pickup, big or small.

    Small pickups, and Big Pickups with small V8s, were a commuting luxury of days of yore when gasoline was cheap and plentiful. Nobody in their right mind would now use any pickup as a commuter vehicle. They are just too inefficient for that application.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “Nobody in their right mind would now use any pickup as a commuter vehicle. They are just too inefficient for that application.”

      Recently, one of my neighbors with a full-size V8 pickup has benched it in favor of a new Prius as their third car. They now go weeks without moving that pickup sometimes.

      That said, the people asserting a huge market for smaller pickups in the US, I don’t know. I agree that full-size pickups these days are cartoonish and gigantic compared to the full-size pickups of yore. Furthermore, full-size trucks are often about image more than utility (as evidenced by protestations above, and also the numerous lifted Super Duties/HDs that have never had a damn thing in the bed or been off-road that I see all the time).

      However, small pickups sold in the US were always absolute sh*tbox deathtraps (although that’s what many TTACers want!), and very little engineering went into them. It’s no surprise that there are fewer of them around, considering their poor gas mileage. Tacomas still sell in pretty decent numbers.

      We’ve also had vehicles like the Ford Explorer SportTrac and the Chevy Avalanche (and platform-mates) come and go, and people haven’t fully been persuaded to buy alternatives to full-size trucks. Is it really worth a manufacturer taking a risk on the market? We’ve already seen El Camino-type vehicles and 2-door SUVs come and go too. Are we really convinced that Australian-style Utes will sell in big numbers here? I doubt it.

      I’m not sure what the answer is, but I suspect more people will be forced to downsize for economic reasons. Those three-digit fill-ups will be increasingly painful for some. But gas doesn’t cost enough for large scale changes yet.

      BTW, there were months where Ford Rangers sold in larger numbers than the Colorado, despite the fact that the Ranger was no longer being produced:

      news dot pickuptrucks dot com/2012/06/may-2012-top-15-pickup-truck-sales dot html

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      “Nobody in their right mind would now use any pickup as a commuter vehicle. They are just too inefficient for that application”

      You either live under a rock or have an agenda, Gas in most definately not a deciding factor for most people when driving, case in point, look on any highway, I prsonally have no use for a small car, And would begrudgingly pay three times as much for fuel before I even considered to need to change something.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “We already have two great mid-size trucks, the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, on sale right now.”

    We aren’t all millionaires Derek.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Derek Kindler,
    The comment you made regarding the size of road infrastructure is a partial reason for the reduced acceptance. The US has tried to market full size pickups in Australia and New Zealand every full size model failed. Our road network is comparable to NA’s in regard to urban road and highway infrastructure in size.

    The biggest concern for the big three is full size pickups are the profit makers. They can’t let too much competition come in to the US or the big three will fail. This is what a socialist protectionist environment creates. Inefficient use of resources.

    The current range of new global pickups are as good if not better in many respects to your full size trucks. Don’t use the current mid sizers in the US as a comparison to what we have. Your best performing midsizer is the Taco, which by our standards is 1 generation behind the Toyota Hilux. And out of the Japanese/German global pickup manufacturers the Hilux is our worst performing pickup.

    These global midsizers have to be versitle since we don’t have 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton pickups available at the respective dealership networks. With a 8′x6′ flat bed on the back they are much better for work than your 1/2 ton and even some of your 3/4 ton pickups.

    If the US removed the protectionist measures protecting the full sizers and large SUV market you will see a decline in full size sales. They will not disappear by any measure, but pickups that get over 30mpg can carry 3 000lbs and tow up to 8 000lbs would be attractive in your market.

    At the end of the day the US 1/2 pickup has become a SUV and muscle car alternative for many purchasers. When in the States I saw many 3/4 ton pickups being used as grocery getters.

    Our globals midsizers are first designed for work then play the opposite of the US. But now we have good work trucks that are very capable off roaders, can cary and move lots of weight, much more efficiently than the current crop of NA full sizers.

    In the end the we go back to the UNECE Harmonisation regulations, if the US stopped its isolationist and protectionist trading in motor vehicles you would see a massive increase in midsizers.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Big Al from OZ
      To expand on this:
      “These global midsizers have to be versitle since we don’t have 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton pickups available at the respective dealership networks”
      We have other vehicles that do 3/4 ton and 1 ton work, but generally are not as “user friendly” parking. Then you start to jump to something like an F650 and rapidly from there get vehicles a whole lot bigger.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Big Al from Oz – Actually, full-size and mid-size trucks fall into the same category and “protected” just the same. There is no difference under the rules. Got facts?

      Can you give an actual example of a mid-size truck that can do the work of a US 1 ton pickup? Got links?

      The US and EU have different regulations, but how is one any more isolationist or protectionist than the other?

      These global pickups would sell OK in the US, but mostly regular cabs so these global OEMs aren’t seeing a great business case for coming to the US.

      What makes you think these globals would heavily erode the million+ annual full-size truck market? Wouldn’t they be a bigger threat our mid-size cars and suvs? And other regular cab mid-size?

      Can you give examples of full-size pickups that have failed in Australia? Might it have something to do them banning US diesel pickups?

      Got spin?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DenverMike
        You show me the facts.

        We went over this in depth the other day with the Ford’s wanting the US to align to the UNECE harmonisation regulations.

        During our debate you were shown to have a low understanding on how regulations affect markets by creating trade barriers.

        You didn’t provide any support for your above argument.

        I worked out how you troll.

        You just keep on asking for proof. But when you are asked to support your view you will come back with some bull$hit, asking for proof.

        Cough up and prove me wrong. Or just google CAFE, but not from your unionist website.

        Boy you socialists are really bad at providing reasons when asked.

        Or just go back and read the Ford Harmonisation article.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @Big Al from Oz – OK, calm down. Here’s the basics:

          “The U.S government introduced the Gas Guzzler Tax as a part of the Energy Tax… The Gas Guzzler Tax applies only to vehicles classified as cars, as opposed to light trucks. Since 1991, cars with a combined fuel economy rating under 22.5 mpg-have been subject to the tax… Light trucks, which includes virtually all sport-utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans, are not subject to the tax.”

          No matter how you try to spin it, there is no distinction between small/mid-size trucks and full-size… ALL ARE “LIGHT TRUCKS”!

          What are you still confused about?

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_guzzler

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverMike
            I also noticed when debating you and are wrong you start of with “Don’t get excited” or “Calm Down”.

            Provide links and evidence to support your claim.

            I’m not upset or excited. Your style of trolling doesn’t affect me.

            Every post you make that you can’t substantiate only affects you.

            Like I’ve been stating for quite sometime, provide facts to support your argument.

            Not a hard concept to comprehend.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Big Al from Oz – Alright, point taken. Can we get back on topic? Or do I need to apologize more?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Not missing my 1st work truck at all. A 4cyl Ranger with a 4sp, 4 tires, and some spiffy gauges. Vinyl seats, rubber floor, no AC and a cheap radio. How many people really want a truck like that. My last work truck was an F-150 Lariat crew cab. That’s the direction the truck market is going.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @el scotto
      Here is a link to a global Ranger review, it appears biased but it was one of the first reviews done, the BT50 comes up as better vehicle in some reviews as does the VW Amarok. They are quite close the new globals in overall performance.

      You can see how far the US is behind with this style of vehicle. It would be competitive. Don’t try and compare our prices to US prices either, sort of like comparing your prices to Canadian or Mexican prices.

      http://www.themotorreport.com.au/52543/2012-ford-px-ranger-xlt-xl-auto-manual-review

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Right Reverend Big Al,
        you’re preaching to the choir. I probably read a buhzillion reviews of the global Ranger. Wanted one real bad, would have been an “early adopter”. Alas, Ford didn’t sell the Global Ranger in the US and I bought an Escape. Something NOBODY ever brings up: trucks are great urban assault vehicles. Frost heave? Potholes? Curbs? MEH!

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I thought there was an article on TTAC about CAFE and the demise of the small truck. The demand is still there for a small BOF truck but you can’t make one fuel efficient for the manufacturers to produce one because it will screw up their CAFE ratings. So if they only offer the full size people will buy them. The large foot print of the full size trucks “protects” them in the CAFE ratings.
    What I miss were the original Tundras. Perfect size truck for me. Anyone know the sales figures on the original compared to the new monstrosity? I bet it sold better. Its probably the same size as the Tacoma but was way more refined.
    If you want a truck don’t buy a Ridgeline. It’s a neat product, but a lousy truck. Tows for sh_t. Anything over 3k forget it. But as a modern day quad cab El Camino I’ll give it props. Load down a Ridegeline and watch the independent rear splay.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I’m not following you there on smaller trucks screwing up the CAFE numbers – if anything, the smaller pickups would raise the truck CAFE. Much like Chrysler calling the PT Cruiser a truck so they could use it to increase their overall truck CAFE (if other internet reports are to be believed).

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        I wish I could find the article on TTAC about it. But it went like this. There is a new formula used and it gives credit for a large vehicle. So 18mpg for a very large vehicle was considered better than 25 mpg for a small one. So it creates incentive for automakers to create larger vehicles. A small pu with 20 mpg hurts their CAFE but a large pu with 20mpg doesn’t. When other commentators allude to protectionism for the big 3 with big trucks I believe this is what they are writing about. The old rules were different, hence the PT cruiser as a truck.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        They do it by “footprint” now. The 2 dimensional area on the ground that the vehicle occupies is not considered when setting the targets for a vehicle. Smaller = higher target.

        The whole CAFE thing is incredibuly stupid as it adds a layer of complexity to the business, artifically affect model mixes, and provides the consumer no value.

  • avatar
    Broo

    The one thing that bugs me about those full size trucks is bed height or load height. I’m one of those guys who actually uses the truck’s cargo bed and I definitely don’t see myself using Ford’s tailgate integrated step to get in and out of the bed to get stuff.

    The perfect truck for me would be the Tacoma, in 2WD format, the tires are smaller therefore load height is reasonable, 4 cyl engine has as many HPs as my V6 and even more torque for better MPGs. For now, my 2WD Ranger does the job very well. The last small truck with a 7′ bed available. It drinks a lot of fuel for its size, but I wouldn’t trade it for a full size.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    I would like to have a full size pickup truck but I don’t have a big boat/30’ motorhome/big trailer full of stuff and I don’t have to get manure or dead animals from point A to point B. I could buy one just because I want one and screw the extra gas cost but I didn’t.

    What ended up working for me and my lifestyle is a mid-sized SUV, in my case a Ford Edge. Rear seats fold almost flat and I can slide any of my bikes in there without removing the front wheel (even my 29er) and they are transported quickly, safely, and securely. The factory roof rack will carry the kayak or box full of skis/boards and luggage. The trailer hitch will hold the bike rack for when I need to transport multiple bikes and tow up to 3,500 pounds. Best of all it has a smoother ride than a big full size truck, four adults fit comfortably and you get 27mpg on the highway (30 with the ecoboost). I know this would not work for the drivers of the itty bitty wagons or the big trucks but it works for me!

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    We love our nimble good looking ’10 AWD Andrenalin as it seats four, tows 7K, hauls 1K in lockable (small but very useable) bed, gets 21+ on highway (4.6 V8) and best of all…easily fits in our 70′s garage and narrow striped parking stall.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    “The global Ford Ranger on the other hand, is about 90 percent of the F-150′s size, meaning it is too close in size and price to be sold here.”

    This is just flat wrong, and it ticks me off that Ford has gotten away with this Big Lie for so long without being called on it. They kept saying it until everyone believes that it’s true, including the press–apparently without bothering to do the (very simple) math. Really, don’t they teach how to calculate volume anymore?

    A vehicle that is 90 percent as long, 90 percent as wide, and 90 percent as tall as a comparison vehicle is 72.9 percent of its size. This has very real benefits in weight savings. I really don’t care about parking and urban driving, that’s not a problem for me. I can snake a Ranger (or equivalent, though a Ranger is what I have) through woods trails that would either require a lot of chainsaw work for a wider vehicle, or would simply preclude getting a fullsize truck through. Looks like my next Ranger for this duty is going to be made by Polaris.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @rocketrodeo
    I hate to say it your a little bit off in this case. There is a fundamental error in your maths as well.
    ” I can snake a Ranger (or equivalent, though a Ranger is what I have) through woods trails that would either require a lot of chainsaw work for a wider vehicle, or would simply PRECLUDE GETTING A FULLSIZE TRUCK THROUGH.
    Ranger versus a Dodge Ram
    http://blogs.cars.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e2017ee8ef28b7970d-800wi

    http://blogs.cars.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e2017d417b4e8b970c-800wi

    http://blogs.cars.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e2017ee8ef2ac5970d-800wi

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    It is easier to get a full-sized pickup 20 to 22 mpg than it is to get a small pickup 30 mpg. As the Ridgeline writer above wrote, they got 19 mpg. And it isn’t roll up windows that is the culprit, it is the almost universal installment of 4WD that ruins the gas mileage comparison of small versus large. The small pickups of yore were almost always 2WD.

    In vast swaths of the country, a non-4WD pickup is a non-seller.

    With 4wd in place, the advantages of a low revving V8 with advanced automatic transmissions over a high-revving V6 or 4 cylinder become obvious, and mostly eliminate any gas mileage advantage of a smaller pickup.

    I would love to see a real world, honest gas mileage comparison between some of the most fuel-efficient full-sized pickups versus a Tundra or Frontier, coupled with a real price analysis of similarly-optioned mid-sized versus large. I would bet that under either analysis, there is little, if any economy in the smaller pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Diesel my friend, would make the small trucks competitive. Sufficient torque to move around the 4×4 chassis and decent mileage to boot. Sure we’ll never see it given the huge enviroweenie bureaucracy against it and the fact the US auto industry seems uncomfortable with the technology on a large scale. But someday a new player will emerge and have the guts to import them, and they will shake up the truck market.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    But at this point, a diesel small pickup, notwithstanding the ardent professed enthusiasm among TTAC for this vaporware, is in the future, if ever.

    I think the game changer will realistically be when the Domestics start installing diesels in their full-size half tons, which apparently is going to happen……..someday. Maybe.

  • avatar
    mikehgl

    That global Ranger is just about the right size for me. Too bad. I’m 5 foot 8 and have no use for a full size pickup, although I have much use for a “right sized” pickup. Here’s hoping that GM gets the Colly right this time. If they can pull that off, I will be paying a visit to my local dealer. Of course, there are rumors that Ford may bring the Ranger here after all, but with no definite announcement at this point it may be years away, if at all. And Chrysler already killed the lifestyle vehicle, as announced at the N.A.I.A.S. Too bad. That could have been a game changer, since it was not a b.o.f truck and was pretty good lookin too.
    I still see a lot of S-10′s and Rangers on the roads here in mid-Michigan. Owned 3 of them myself. There IS a market for small trucks. So, what gives?

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      “Full Size Pickups” are not that much bigger than the Ranger.210inches maximum length as against 223inches for the longest F150.It is not a MINI Pickup as most people here want i.e car based Pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @mikehgl – There truly is a market for small trucks, just not a very good one. Ask OEMs like Mitsubishi that left the US for greener pastures… like Beirut. They’ll tell you the market is full of base stripper buying cheapskates, bottom feeders and fleet buyers like Orkin, utilities and governments seeking the lowest common denominator. Yeah no thanks.

      When it comes to the upscale loaded small trucks, full-size are there offering a similar value and equal mpg. There will always be buyers that flat out refuse to buy full-size, and will gladly pay more for a smaller truck, but there’s not enough of those.

      The US is a unique market and tough for small truck OEMs to catch a break. Full-size pickups kill the deal for small or global truck OEMs. I mean except for Hino, UD, Fuso, Isuzu and Mercedes.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @mikehgl,
      I think they will(GM and the Colorado) and with other diesels now coming online in the US, it will be a start in the rethinking of diesels in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @mikehgl
      You are quite correct in your assumption. There is a huge market for a smaller pickup, but it has to be competitive.

      When Ford dropped the US Ranger an unbelievable 66% of ex midsizer owners walked away from pickups.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @DenverMike
    “@Big Al from Oz – Alright, point taken. Can we get back on topic? Or do I need to apologize more?”

    Back on topic??

    Another trolling strategy you use is to subtley deviate from an argument when you can’t give a response. This is what you are doing now.

    Keep on the debate, don’t deviate.

    Like I stated if you can’t provide proof, don’t debate or troll.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @DenverMike
      You are debating what you debated the other day. Is your memory bad?

      You know why midsizers can’t get a foothold in the protected US vehicle market.

      The link I provided should be able to enligthen you. It is full of links that will answer the questions you are asking above. The people involved in the debate were:

      DENVERMIKE
      DocOlds
      Niky
      Robert Ryan
      Big Al from Oz

      DenverMike we have debated this issue numerous times. You have never once provide proof to support your views. You only challenge people to prove themselve correct, which occurs quite frequently.

      Provide evidence to support our argument. Can you, or are you a troll?

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/ford-calls-for-harmonized-us-eu-standards/

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Big Al from Oz – All “light trucks” are exempt from CAFE persecution (for now).

        You’re talking about the old CAFE rules that brought on and artificially supported the whole mini-truck craze. The rules sort of changed in 1991 and left it up to the consumer to choose when they lumped ALL trucks into the “light truck” category:

        “…Since 1991, cars with a combined fuel economy rating under 22.5 mpg have been subject to the tax. Light trucks, which (are exempt) includes virtually all…”

        CAFE currently makes absolutely no distinction between small/mid-size or full-size trucks. Given natural selection, mid-size lose at the point of sale.

        Did not 1991 mark the unofficial end of the mini-truck craze anyway? Isn’t that when Isuzu, Mazda and Mitsu (along with the S10, Ranger and Dakota) were no longer artificially propped up by CAFE???

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Big Al from Oz,

      “Another trolling strategy you use is to subtley deviate from an argument when you can’t give a response. This is what you are doing now.”

      You’re the one that’s deviating… I’m just trying to get you back on topic, but you’re clearly stumped. And off on a tangent. Or a rant about nothing. If you had an answer or a decent reply, you would have gave it already.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Big Al from Oz – Where’d you go? 1 minute you’re all over me, I show some facts & you vanish into thin air… Oh OK, you’re you were just on PickupTrucks dot com spreading the same lies and accusing absolutely everyone of conspiring against you… AGAIN!!!

        Who’s a “troll” again?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @Big Al from Oz – Did you just talk about yourself in the 3rd person???

    “People involved in this debate were:

    DENVERMIKE
    DocOlds
    Niky
    Robert Ryan
    Big Al from Oz”…

  • avatar
    mikehgl

    C’mon people. Talk about staying on topic… Lets talk about the topic and not who’s providing proof for this argument or that. Is this a court case or a thread?
    Anyways, It’s nice to see the abundance of attention to this topic, what with some 135 replies to this subject. That fact right there shows the amount of interest there is out there in a so-called “compact” pickup. Or mid – size. It seems the compact pickup will never return to the states, which is a travesty.
    For me, there is no viable product available right now in the mid-size segment. Toyota is ruled out via my rustbelt GM DNA (I grew up in Saginaw, MI)If I purchased a Toyota there would be some hostile extended family members, and I can do without that sh**storm. The current version of the Colorado/ Canyon is fundamentally flawed, and I refuse to buy one. Expensive (that probably will not change), poor engine choices, lousy m.p.g., dated platform and an awful interior that I cannot justify paying that kind of money for. I had a Dakota for 11 years and used it up.
    Waiting…

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @mikehgl – You’re right on all counts, but if you like the global pickup offerings, and need “domestic”, why did you skip out on the extremely similar Sport Trac Explorer? It was actually built on the super cab Ranger 4X4 frame and not the Explorer’s.

      I was only looking at one because of its V8 option and looked cute, though I ended up buying the F-150.

      Anyways, are you sure you would buy a global pickup or just like having choices?

      • 0 avatar
        mikehgl

        The Sport Trac got lousy m.p.g. And I believe they were only available as 4 door club cabs which is not what I want. I want a truck that will perform basic truck – like duties as a daily driver and deliver real world decent fuel mileage. I did consider it and thought they were a pretty good looking hauler.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @mikehgl – The Sport Trac’s MPG was typical of full boat mid-size trucks and it’s one of the biggest factors killing the segment. All the mid-sizers get lousy MPG unless you want the base-stripper regular cab 2wd and even then, it’s MPG is not so great either.

          You might hope global diesel pickups would get up to 30 MPG, but it ain’t happening. Not even with the base stripper regular-cab 2WD. Remember the US bound, diesel Mahindra? One of the things that killed the deal was it’s poor MPG:

          http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/02/mahindra-tr40-rated-at-a-disappointing-1921-mpg.html

          The Mahindra’s diesel MPG isn’t any worse than typical global trucks. Compare here:

          http://yahoo.carsales.com.au/ute/

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “The Sport Trac… I believe were only available as 4 door club cabs which is not what I want.”

          What did you want? The Ranger filled all other slots.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverMike
            You can’t compare the NA Ranger to the global Ranger. Even against an F150 I do think a shootout would favour the global Ranger.

            The guy stated that FORD doesn’t have what he wants in the NA market.

            Maybe he could move to Australia:)

            @mikehgl
            Full size trucks are good if you want one. But the US lacks any decent mid sizers.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Big Al from Oz – The mid-size trucks we’ve had in the US, including domestic mid-size, failed to beat the value if not features of our full-size trucks including the Tundra or Titan. Never mind disappointing MPG. Or towing/payload. There’s absolutely nothing about your current global selection of mid-sizers that would change that. They would lose again.

            And it’s not just our full-size trucks that are killing mid-sizers. As you saw with your own eyes, most displaced Ranger buyers went everywhere BUT to full-size trucks. Most Americans that aren’t into buying full-size trucks, aren’t into buying mid-size trucks either.

            Remember if global mid-size trucks are as awesome as you say, they would do more damage to the car and cuv markets. That’s the last thing global OEMs want if they already sell autos here. America is just a losing proposition for global truck OEMs.

            The Sport Trac was the 1st “crew cab” mid-size truck, but sales have always been dismal because mid-size crew cab sales (in general) have been especially disappointing vs lower trims (or Ranger). “mikehgl” wasn’t interested either. Global OEM aren’t looking for a piece of the North American mid-size base-stripper market and bottom feeder action. The thing is, there’s not much else.

            If you were a global OEM, you would know this and focus on better markets.. Like the Congo. First of all, make sure there’s no full-size trucks there to spoil the fun.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @mikehgl Yes the US current offerings of Midsize Pickups. is pretty dated. The Newer Global Pickups are quite different. I would expect more to be offered in conjunction with full Size Pickups using small diesels. Interesting times ahead.

      • 0 avatar
        mikehgl

        I hope you’re right. I am going to sit on the sidelines and hope some good things develop. Right now I’m driving a HHR Panel. It really doesn’t do what I need as a truck (duh, it’s not) and I’m going to kick it to the curb here sooner or later.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @mikehgl
          The global midsize market is much more competitive than your full size market. Especially now that the so called developing nations are becoming more affluent.

          In Australia alone we have 11 manufacturers to chose from, and the trucks come from at least 9 different countries of manufacture. This increases competition.

          You can buy an “el cheapo” right up to a highend vehicle from Europe. A huge range of quality and pricing to suit your needs.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Big Al It appears that more of the Global Midziers will be made available. When these start being produced in Volume than like the European Vans should have an impact on the US Pickup market. US and NA buyers should be allowed more choices than the limited lineup they have at the moment. The momentum has already started. GM being the first of many to do so. Chrysler is thinking of a new Dakota based a global platform.
            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323549204578316502619407298.html
            “With the current surge of diesel’s coming to our shores, it seems that Americans are starting to get over their diesel biases.

            When asked about diesels in the new half-ton models, GMC Communications Manager Joe LaMuraglia said that there are none in the works, though when pushed on mid-size trucks with diesels, he declined to comment directly, suggesting further that a small GM diesel is likely for North America.”
            http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/12/gm-midsize-truck-diesel-option-hinted-at-by-execs.html
            If anything, this global concept has the potential to be greatly beneficial to truck buyers.
            This goal of improving efficiency on a global scale is one of the reasons we’re getting new vehicles here, but another thing that’s working in our favor is — as weird as this may sound — fuel-economy regulations. In the next few years, European emissions regulations will be more in line with those in the U.S. European automakers will have to make their vehicles adhere to Euro 6 standards, and vehicles built to those standards will pass American emissions regs as well. As far as I’m concerned, this means that engines we’ve wanted to come here will be able to come here.
            Maybe this global platform idea could help us in another way. It could make sense to bring some of those cool compact/midsize trucks to North America. The Colorado is already coming. Perhaps if it sells well, that can spark its global competitors to come here, too. You know which ones I’m talking about: the global Ranger, the Amarok, the HiLux, the Mazda BT 50, and the Mitsubishi Triton. Of course, maybe the Holden Ute and the Ford Falcon utility could come as well. The last two are car-based, but body-on-frame trucks can live happily side by side with car-based models.

            When I hear that emissions regs are going to be the same here and there and that fuel economy standards are getting stricter here, it seems to me the vehicles that make the most sense to sell in the U.S.
            http://blogs.trucktrend.com/6793051/editorials/editors-desk-think-globally-act-locally/index.html

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @RobertRyan – There is a market for global trucks in the US, but it’s not what you think it is. It’s demand is mostly for base regular cab strippers with gas engines. This isn’t a good business model for OEMs. Especially if they already sell cars here in the US which would get cannibalized.

            Global OEMs are more than hesitant to come to the US for good reason. Chrysler has been kicking around the idea of a mid-size truck since ’09, but there’s nothing in the design/concept pipeline. GM? GM is GM..

            If GM wants what’s left of the Ranger and Sport Trac market, they’re more than welcome. Their Colorado/Canyon will certainly cannibalize their own cars and mid-size SUVs as well as Full-size Silverados/Sierras/Tahoes.

            I understand GM is looking to put more butts in smaller trucks for CAFE reasons and NOT for the sake of profits. GM is GM.

            As we saw, Sport Trac sales were less than brisk. There will always be those that prefer a cute and adorable crew cab pickup over a real truck, but it’s a weak business model for the US market.

            Yes, there are those that don’t mind spending ‘FULL-size’ money on a mid-size with FULL-size MPG, but don’t expect a mad dash.

            That’s well and good, BUT even if you don’t realize it, full-size truck drivetrains (and brakes) are overbuilt and can take a daily pounding by service industries, contractors etc. Cute utes wouldn’t stand a chance performing the same daily hauling and towing tasks. They’re simply not designed for it any more than mid-size SUVs. You’re talking blown head gaskets, blown transmissions and of course, rear ends.

            I realize if you didn’t grow up around 1/2 tons (and up) you don’t see a difference between them and mid-size “cute utes” other than they have about 1/2 the payload and towing of real pickups. But ask anyone here that’s put both to hard work. There’s absolutely no comparison.

            Global OEMs are way ahead of you on this one and know the US market won’t be fooled. Bring on all the base strippers though. We can’t get enough of those!

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @mikehgl
          They get considerable fuel mileage 30Mpg(US), 2500lb to 3000lb payloads and considerable Off Road ability(vastly better than any other current Pickup including the Raptor)
          What Payload they limit them too in the US, very much depends how they are treated in the US a “Sports SUV” or Truck?.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @RobertRyan – A few things are lost in translation. That 30 MPG is more like 21 MPG:

            news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/02/mahindra-tr40-rated-at-a-disappointing-1921-mpg/comments/page/3/#comments

            You do realize the Mindindra sells along side the rest of your globals, right? And returns the same MPG, right? What does that tell you? Compare right here:

            yahoo.carsales.com.au/ute/

            You do know that the Raptor is built as a high-speed desert runner, right? Of course you do.

            And you certainly know that for a global mid-size to get close to 3,000 lbs payload, it has to be a regular cab and GAS engine, cab & Chassis stripper, sold without a bed, right? I’m sure you do.

            yahoo.carsales.com.au/cab-chassis

            Of course you also know that your Nissan Navara is a re-badged Frontier, right? So much for having “much more competitive trucks” that “would (not) disintegrate if they had to do the same work”…

            If that was true, the Nissan Pathfinder and Frontier would be the US official work trucks of choice and put our 1/2 tons to shame.
            No, your mid-sizers equal to mid-size SUVs or one and the same. Our 1/2 tons are commercial grade.

            If ANY of this is news to you, allow me to translate.


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