By on August 7, 2013

Rooster_Cat

I come to praise the chicken tax, not to bury it. In exchange for the short-term consequence of a few people paying too much for Toyota trucks with insta-rust beds, this country managed to acquire a pretty substantial infrastructure to build “foreign” automobiles while still providing jobs to Americans. It even helped the Japanese automakers, who managed to survive the 1985/1986 spike in the yen without abandoning the US market because they were largely in the process of moving production to the Southern states.

In recent years, however, the 25% tariff has come to be ever-so-slightly irrelevant, primarily affecting buyers of the Ford Transit Connect who can’t figure out why there are wrench marks on the floor of their brand-new cargo vans. And now it might be gone for good.

The Detroit News reports that the so-called “chicken tax”, which has been in effect since 1963, is very much on the table as the United States attempts to negotiate a “Trans-Pacific Partnership” with Japan and ten other Asian countries. Apparently we’re looking for some Japanese barriers to trade to be dropped in return. It should be noted at this time that, under previous administration, the official position of TheTruthAboutCars regarding barriers to American products in Japan could best be summed up as “Japan is a completely open market just begging for loads of imports from other countries and it’s all America’s fault that people don’t buy your crap.” Our current editorial position on this is, ah, somewhat more flexible.

Who would the winners and losers be from the removal of the tariff? Well, Mahindra and a few other manufacturers might take another stab at this market. European vans like the Jumpy and Kangoo and whatnot, particularly those assembled in Turkey and other low-cost nations, might get a look in as well. So prices would likely drop a bit and customer choice would increase. That’s a good thing.

Domestic truck manufacturers, including Honda/Toyota/Nissan, would see lower transaction prices but it’s unlikely that any of them would return truck production to Japan. For those of you who haven’t tuned in lately, a whole bunch of the ol’ quantitative easing and various financial disastrous stuff have combined to take their toll on the almighty dollar and make our country, ’tis of thee, a bit of a low-cost production area. Honda’s so firmly based in the United States that it’s hard to imagine the company ever moving any production of anything back to Japan. This is unlikely to cost American jobs to any significant degree, particularly now that Ford’s tooled up Kansas City to build the full-size Transit.

We’ll keep you posted on developments as they occur. In the meantime, if you’ve always dreamed of a Skoda Praktik or something like that… hold tight, but don’t start counting your chickens.

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272 Comments on “My Fellow Americans, Our Long National Game Of Chicken May Be Coming To An End...”


  • avatar
    Jimal

    One step closer to having that Amarok in my garage…

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If you can convince a whole lot of other people that a compact truck is a desirable thing to have. Fact is the chicken tax doesn’t really have any significant effect. They would still have to make it compliant with US safety and emissions standards and perceive a market large enough to make that worth while and still leave some profit for them to take home.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        The Amarok is Euro NCAP compliant, so safety standards won’t be too hard. Neither would emissions since VAG has a variety of powerplants – Diesel and gas – that could be dropped into that engine bay.

        The dealers that know about the Amarok have asked VW about it, but the Chicken Tax is given as the “main” reason. It would be considered a risk, too much so to set up production over here, but not necessarily so much to ship some over from an existing production line.

        Volkswagen needs something different. Redesigns and facelifts are down the road. This is something they could do in relatively short order.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          There would still be a fair amount of rework to get a vehicle that passes NCAP to pass US standards. For example look at the Fiesta and Focus that need different front ends to meet US occupant safety standards vs NCAP pedestrian safety standards. If they really wanted to do it they could set up to assemble beds, either from existing pieces or ones stamped locally in Mexico and bring it over for only a slight increase in cost.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            All you need is an oxy-acetylene torch for cutting and welding and a compact or midsize AWD SUV, and you can have an unique work truck that meets all standards.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            My understanding is that the “kit” loophole was closed a while back, which is why Nissan and Toyota went with domestic production while Mazda started badge engineering Rangers, Mitsubishi the same with Dakotas and Isuzu with Nissan.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Jimal
            The only Mazda’s were Ford’s were the NA ones. Global Mazda’s and Ford’s were built on a Mazda platform.

            The T6 Ranger and BT50 was sort of a joint venture between Ford and Mazda here in Australia.

            Ford still holds about 4% of Mazda.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No the loophole has not been closed, the Sprinter comes to the US as a CKD or complete knock down kit. That was the way that the Mahindra truck was going to be imported too. Importing one w/o a bed is considered an incomplete vehicle and it’s final assembly point becomes where the bed is installed.

          If all they imported were the crew cab they could likely have it classifed as a passenger vehicle as it would seat more than 3 people. That is how Subaru got the Brat with it’s jump seats in the bed and the 4dr Baja w/o paying the chicken tax.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            CKD Kits disappeared a long time ago here. It was more profitable and practical for the manufacturers to set up an operation here.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          VW would build the Amarok in Mexico, just like their cars, so it’s interesting they would bring up the Chicken tax. Obviously they’re not building cars in Mexico because of the Chicken tax. But just because VW doesn’t have full-size trucks to cannibalize, doesn’t mean the Amarok wouldn’t eat away at other, more profitable VWs. That’s a lose/lose situation.

      • 0 avatar
        narcoossee

        Actually, I’ve been pondering the “small pickup truck” thing for awhile (I miss them, too), and then it occurred to me that we’re are almost there. Anyone notice that John Deere, et al, have vehicles which replace the space which was formerly occupied by cheap pickup trucks? http://www.deere.com/wps/dcom/en_US/products/equipment/gator_utility_vehicles/gator_utility_vehicles.page

        I like to think that, in another 10 years, John Deere will be able to size those up just a bit more, and we’ll have access to street-legal versions.

        • 0 avatar
          Les

          @Narcoossee

          That, would be Awesome!

          I so miss small capable (and road-legal and affordable) 4x4s, which have dried up largely because the urban-cowboy market that wants bigger and softer is just too lucrative.

    • 0 avatar
      mike1dog

      I think when the Anarok first came out VW said that they wouldn’t be bringing it here, because it was too expensive. They would probably have to sell for $30k to be profitable. When an f-150 can be had for twenty grand, it’s a dead issue.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        You can buy a fully optioned Toyota Tacoma for around $36,000, and a similarly maxed out Nissan Frontier for around $35,000. I don’t know how many fully optioned Tacomas and Frontiers they move, but it is certainly not a dead issue.

        The point isn’t to go after the F-150s and the Silverados of the world, so the price of fully stripped models is irrelevant.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          That’s $10K too much for both of those.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            And yet they sell.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That’s the point, Jimal; those “mid-sized” trucks should be about $25-26K.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            And yet, as Jimal just said, they sell…

            You’re too fixated on the, “Smaller MUST be Cheeper, that’s the ONLY REASON to Buy it.” mentality.. but a lot of people have already said how much they would like the utility of a pickup truck but despise how difficult to deal with the full-size trucks are on sheer size.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            There will always be buyers willing to pay more for less truck. That’s a small minority and why the small truck market will remain small. Even in a FREE market. Not that full-size are that much bigger and no one is forcing you to get get crew cab longbed,

          • 0 avatar
            fincar1

            I see plenty of Toyota Tacomas that are taller, longer, and have bigger tires than my 2003 regular-cab short-box Silverado. So imo this talk about Tacomas and Frontiers not being competitive with US pickups doesn’t make sense.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The other day I saw a <5 years old RAM 2500 crew cab, long bed, Cummins, 2WD.

          I think that must have been one of the rarest vehicles I've seen in a long while.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Jimal
      And quite a few other “Unobtainable” previously vehicles. No tariffs to keep them out.On the other hand a devalued currency will.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      One step closer to having a Mahindra pickup in my parking place, instead of a Road Whale™ F-150.

  • avatar

    I’m ambivalent about this. Brazil has made a life out of such barriers. It could be argued that had the guv not taken any actions back in the 50s, we would still not have an auto industry. As is all major makes are here, from Chinese to Mercedes (and everything in between) and as we speak at least 4 or more new factories are being built. Yes, we pay a lot, but because of it, some of my fellow countrymen have well paying jobs and have been able to make something of themselves. If they were still down at the farm, somehow I don’t think they’d be as well off.

    BTW, the weak dollar has made the US an exporting powerhouse again. Right now BRazil runs a deficit with the US, something that had not happened in well over 40 yrs. Not saying it’s the solution for everything, but a strong currency can be a drag (one has to look no further than Southern Europe to understand).

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Or, your country may have been better off. You just don’t know. Apparently you do know that you are worse off when you buy a car.

      • 0 avatar

        The way I see it is that protectionism has helped us along. The number of foreign makes and factories we have here now would surely not have happened were we still bartering agricultural foodstuff for industrialized goods. In the 70s, at the height of our protectionism, manufactured and semimanufactured goods made up almost 40% of our export list. Nowadays it doesn’t amount to 10%. In some ways, since the 90s, when we started liberalizing our international trade, our exports have been looking more and more like it did before we went protectionist (basic foodstuffs and minerals). Part of that is that makers of industrialized goods prefer to sell internally as their products fetch much higher prices here, but part of it was the result of the more flexible laws that made importing (and the subsequent crushing of our industrial sector) that much easier.

        I really thing the devil is, as always, in the details. Such measures work to fine tune the economy along. Restrict some when needed, flexibilize some when called for. The problem is that takes dedication and genius. Not to mention immunity from “temptations”. When protectionist measures are done unscientifically and for too long, ossification and corruption do spring. However, in a country like ours, severely lacking in education, infrastructure and other things, totally opening up is just an invasion for the Vikings to come in, ransack everything and lay ruin to all.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          I am a free market guy. While I do believe that some interference can be beneficial in leveling the playing field to foster competition, I more strongly believe that interference is usually done badly because at best the fair trade guys have to compromise with the free lunchers.

          I really like your second paragraph, and I want to use the first as an example. If instead of going protectionist with a goal of enrichment, it had truly been done with a goal of creating a sustainable, competitive market place, don’t you think you would have been better off? Why assume your country would have stayed agricultural? Is Embraer a product of protectionism? I don’t know the history there, but with different policy perhaps instead of VW plants you would have gotten VW imports being tariffed too little to force local plants but enough to allow infant domestics to squeeze in?

          Seems to me the policies are always dressed up in good intentions, but in practice favor exploitation by intent or incompetence.

          • 0 avatar

            Good points and I can’t say I disagree. However, I have lived enough to see that a totally protected market is terrible and leads to backwardness and loss of opportunities (the 80s in Brazil), while the opposite, the effects of a suddenly opened, in all sectors, market can and does lead to the squashing of the local guys. This was acutely felt in the industrial sector in Brazil in the 90s. The benefits of such openings however cannot be denied, specially in the telecommunications, services and commercial areas, not to mention the car industry (just look at Brazilian cars from the 80s and those of the 90s – most, though not all, Brazilian cars in the 80s were more or the less the same as the late 60s, early 70s cars!).

            Embraer was a little bit of both. It started as a State company that gained a foothold in the aviation business. In fact, it created wealth by demanding and giving employment to subcontractors, engineers, university courses in the area. All of which that did not exist and probably would never have existed had gov largesse not been involved. In the 90s the company was privatized (though the guv still holds some participation, the degree of which I’m not sure) and those guys were able to modernize and compete internationally (something it had done but barely previously). So I think Embraer could be an example of the very difficult, but necessary, balancing act.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            Philosophically, I’m a free-market guy as well. The problem is that in order for free markets to work, they have to be truly free. And that is just never going to happen. One country or ogliarchy is always going to be looking for an edge and the leverage afforded by manipulating regulations or foreign-currency rules is just too great.

        • 0 avatar
          otter

          Protectionist trade policies have indeed helped Brazil, including in the ways you described, as they have helped most developing countries that held them, including the United States 200 years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            I was going to Respond to Marcelo. Wonderful posts as always.

            But, this is true. America was founded on Protectionism. Heck the downfall of American industry recently ( last 50 years ) is removal of these protections.

            The us government used to be completely funded by tariffs. I can imagine they must have been high.

            I’m like most people there is a balancing act. Its sure helps a country get on its feet.

            But, i think it shouldn’t stay like that forever. The removal of barriers eventually allows countries to produce what they do best. But, they need some money to start with.

            I’ll be looking forward to what Brazil has in store for the future. You can’t help but root for the under guy.

            We need some friendly competition. One thing i know competition makes a better product for everyone. It also makes for wonderful innovation.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @otter- In discussion about China, my father often pointed out that America got its start by stealing British technology.

            Protectionism was a significant economic driver of the American Civil war as it disadvantaged southern states for the benefit of northern manufacturing.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Could someone give an example of a 200, or newer protection that benefitted the US?

          • 0 avatar

            Doctor Olds, you are correct on all counts!

            American genius was not just stealing British technology, it was improving on it. Americans took the processes apart, streamlined, made them shorter, standardized and mechanized. Thus you were able to see great gains in productivity and price drops. Not to mention that in the US, as a rapidly expanding ‘frontier” economy at the time, the workforce made redundant could almost most West and find even more gainful employment. Thus America was a very dynamic society, with lots of mobility and growth. Some of the problems the US now faces are akin to those of Europe in that laid off workers cannot immediately find equal or better work.

            Hershey is a good example of the American way, As a young man he travelled to Switzerland and observed the processes. He went back home and devised the machines and processes that made the price of chocolate drop from 3 dollar a pound to something like 30 cents (not the exact numbers but roughly the right order of magnitude). In that way he turned chocolate from a well-to-do affliction or a very rare treat into something that almost everyone could enjoy.

            In a way, it’s what the Japanese were later to do too. Of course they copied and stole everybody else’s technology. But then they led the way in miniaturization and made their fortune.

            Let’s see if the Chinese can pull off something similar.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            Hershey may have dropped the cost of chocolate by 90% … but in the process he made the product a pale imitation of the Swiss original. Not for me, thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Protectionist policy has also increased inefficiencies in Brazil.

          Brazil should have capitalised more on its best resource, people, not tariffs and barriers.

          This is the same for all countries. Brasil had cheap labour to produce, but choose to protect itself primarily from is close neighbours.

          • 0 avatar

            Very good point Big Al. You have to remember though that education was only universalized in this country in the 90s. Compare that to Northern Europe (late 19th century), the US (early 20th), Japan (30s), Korea (60s). Now is the real challenge: Improve quality. In this reality, I don’t think Brazil will be able to compete on an equal footing for a while yet.

          • 0 avatar

            Onus, many thanks for your kind words!

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          Marcello, I happen to teach this stuff. Indeed protectionism worked wonders… for a while. Indeed Andre Gunder Frank and that entire 50s generation figured this stuff out, and that’s where ISI came from. You are keenly aware of the importance of time and timing… some countries abandoned ISI for export-oriented growth at the right moment, and the Asian tigers were born, others lingered a tad too long – Brazil, Turkey for a decade or two – and stagnated.

          I hope this post didn’t come off as patronizing. I just wanted to let you know how pleased I was to read them.

          Landcrusher… the US (and EU) remain HUGELY ptotectionist in terms of agricultural subsidies. Google G-22, Doha… there’s your answer/

          • 0 avatar

            Patronizing? Very interesting in fact. The debate in Brazil is about that. “Perder o bonde da história” is how we put it.

            Interestingly, and you probably know this already, but Fernando Henrique Cardoso, as a professor, was one of the main defenders of import substitution. Later, when he became President he famously said for everybody to forget all he ever wrote. For such a proud (vain?) man you can imagine the dilemma,

            What you wrote is perfect. We always seem to be a little late to the game. The country is huge, with vested interests, entrenched local powers, a non-patriotic elite (who sell the million dollar future for a couple of grand now), a huge social debt, not to mention that little thing called democracy. I imagine it’s much easier to do whatever needs to be done in Singapore than here.

            Our history…You may notice we were the only colony in America not to splinter (Spain-all Hispanic America, Britain-Canada, US). Oh there were wars (nothing like the American Civil War though the Farroupilha War was pretty bad), but mostly we stayed together because one of our great characteristics is accommodation. We accommodate everything. So you can imagine the effort to right this ship. From that fact alone I think we will always be a little late.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Nope, no answer. I disagree that farm subsidies helped the US. They claimed to have done so, and there may have been benefits, but net net they have been bad for our country. Perhaps they have been even worse for competing countries, but lose-lose is a common outcome of market manipulation.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Death to the Chicken tax! It certainly should go, though I’d like to see CAFE go, so consumers could really have vehicle choice. Liberty!

      Reasonable commonization of global auto standards is another great idea. Frankly, many developing countries simply can’t afford to meet some of the high standards. American cars typically only need details like exterior lighting differences to comply just about anywhere. Engine displacement regulations, taxes sometime force smaller engines.

      Some may see CO2 emissions as something other than another kind of fuel economy standard that limits consumer choice, but that is all it really is.

      Aside from the Chicken tax,the primary requirement to compete in America, the world’s richest auto market, is to be good enough in the face of intense competition to pay for development and certification with some profit left over to justify the effort. The market is so competitive that many makers just can’t do it. Fiat is not taking the market by storm, with a history of failure. Peugeot-Citroen, Renault et al gave up. Mahindra and home grown Chinese car makers face a serious challenge as well, at least at this stage. The Japanese after initial failure obviously have done well. Korea offers the most recent example of successful development to world-class.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Brazil is a good example of how a country can use protection laws to grow or develop domestic manufacturing industry so I am 100% with you there. The down sides are typically higher than average costs to the consumer for products and, if not carefully managed or reduced, stagnation of development.
      I would say the US’s chicken tax has lead to some serious stagnation that seems to be showing signs of movement just recently.

      • 0 avatar

        You are correct. The “substitution of importation model” that closed Brazil off and was so successful from the 50s to 70s hit a brick wall in the 80s when Brazil just stagnated. It was very successful though, so much so that it has been said that Brazil was, after Japan, the country that most rapidly developed in the last century.

        When the opening came in the 90s, at first it was exaggerated, but like everything that is suddenly liberalized, there was a burst of growth. All through the 00s the guv tampered with the new model (more open market, relatively strong, free-floating currency, inflation targets, privatization). In the 10s it seems that this models is also on its way to some exhaustion. It’s a very tricky time now. Or we’re going into another stagnation period (like the 80s or much of the 90s) or this country will take off pretty fast.

        Fingers-crossed.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    In the short term, cheaper labor may allow a foreign competitor to take truck share with a cheaper truck made with cheaper labor.

    In the long term, the first guys with labor replacing robots and no legacy costs will win.

    That would look bad for domestics, but Congress can always bail them out in one way or another. The real losers will be citizens who have to deal with the rot infested politics that will develop. We are still living in the good ole days. Enjoy.

    • 0 avatar
      J.Emerson

      Very cheap labor is already available south of the border in Mexico, as it has been for some time. Despite extensive truck and vehicle production there, the U.S. consumer has not seen any significant price benefits in motor vehicles. Most of the cost savings have simply been sponged off to the corporate profit line. Ditto electronics and a whole other swath of imported sweatshop goods, whose price reductions are too often attributed to cheap labor and not technological development.

      “Cheap imports benefit developed economies” is an unclothed emperor, and it’s been that way for far too long.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        An interesting argument, but where is the evidence we have not benefitted from cheaper prices? 15k buys more car than it did 20 years ago even without accounting for inflation. At the same time, you do realize the sponging hasn’t been all that great at keeping the big three in the black?

        Furthermore, tech innovation isn’t magic or free. It has to be paid for.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree, consumers see little benefit of reduced Mexican production costs but run the risk of any additional manufacturing maladies vs the so called developed world.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      “In the long term, the first guys with labor replacing robots and no legacy costs will win.”

      This is exactly why the Germans, South Koreans and Japanese are rushing into right to work US states. They don’t need the cheapest labor, they need the most flexible labor.

      The only reason the domestics are shifting production to Mexico and South Korea is that they are stuck under UAW contracts for US production.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

        Complexity is what will kill your Mexican manufacturing operation. I have witnessed this first hand with an OEM.

        I now work in a supplier plant that has multiple operations in sourced from a supplier that exclusively produced in Mexico. How this plant is successful is the operators are paid $7-8 USD more per hour and each work cell is flexible. Could you get the same flexibility out of a Mexican plant? From my experience: hell no.

        The Mexicans are great for 1) manufacturing and 2) fucking your brains out in ways white chicks will never be capable of. Only the latter does not require hand holding, tedious dialogue, and implicit instructions. The latter can entail various levels of complexity whereas the former item cannot.

        The next evolution of NAFTA outsourcing is engineering resources and that is well under way at one major OEM I am familiar with.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You’re making me want to visit south of the border, down Mexico way…

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          “The next evolution of NAFTA outsourcing is engineering resources and that is well under way at one major OEM I am familiar with.”

          Interesting bit. I know (from the news) that Nissan is doing it with a Micra-size car. And, tus cuates en GM alla arriba hicieron un facelift on the Chevy/Corsa that looked alright.

          “2) fucking your brains out in ways white chicks will never be capable of.”

          I guess you got a close encounter with a “cuaima”. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cuaima

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          #cotd

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @tresmonos
          There are Chinese vehicle manufacturers that are already outsourcing the design of vehicles.

          There are a handful of ‘vehicle design centres’ in China that deal with any company.

          They say they can put a vehicle into production in less than 18 months at the moment.

          This is what the ‘West’ should fear more than worrying about protectionist measures.

          The Chinese will become very dominant in the motor industry over the next decade.

          Fighting them with barriers and tariffs will only cost more jobs than necessary.

          We must challenge them with technology in both vehicles and vehicle manufacturing.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @racer-esq- well said, more flexible shop rules have long been seen as equal to, perhaps more important than hourly rates, though lower is always better in the quest for cost reduction. gotta go, heading for mexico ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      About robots. There was a plant in Japan that Toyota built with no robots. It proved to be cheaper than robots to just have people do everything.

      They weld the uni-body, paint the car, assemble it, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      JD321

      “In the long term, the first guys with labor replacing robots and no legacy costs will win”

      Correct…As long as the entrenched established dinosaurs don’t purchase political terrorist to kill entrepreneurial competitors. Rot infested politics and tariffs are their ways and means. How do you think a “1%” exists? Do you think they will ever stop buying government terror (aka, Laws) to fleece the rest of us?

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    It’s really not going to make waves, one way or the other. If the trend towards smaller commercial vans continues, we might see more imports as manufacturers utilize existing capacity. But there will be no wave of imported pickup trucks. As it’s already been pointed out before, the small pickup market is almost completely moribund, and it makes no sense for any company to start shipping in large pickups from outside NAFTA.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      The small pickup market didn’t die, it was killed by the big players. Offer a GOOD small pickup and sales will come.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yeah it did die sales peaked in the 80′s and have kept slipping away ever since then while the number of vehicles sold in the US kept rising.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          I’m not retyping my response from the earlier article on this topic, but the sales decline was tied to lack of development. Toyota still sells plenty of Tacomas. In fact, more Tacomas than Tundras. The only thing that killed the Ranger was Ford not updating since 1993.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            But it’s sales started to decline before the updates and still declined after the updates after a one year up tick when the new model was introduced. Fact is Tacoma sales have only rebounded since some of the other players left the game. The Tacoma and Frontier together don’t sell as much as the Ranger did in the 80′s-early 00′s. Granted Toyota and Nissan likely are to blame a bit for the loss of their sales since the likely stole some of their compact buyers with their full size offerings. However all Toyota and Nissan trucks together don’t sell as much as the Ranger did by itself at its peak.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            More Tacomas than Tundras is just evidence of Toyota’s failure to compete with the big boys.

            Nothing wrong with small trucks, they just don’t offer enough fuel economy advantage vs. capability to be of interest to American truck buyers. They didn’t get more development money because no one wants to buy them.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            Doctor Olds.

            It’s not fuel-economy vs. capability. It’s the truck market being swamped with urban-cowboy buyers wanting ‘The Biggest and Bestest’ and the market chasing that money and pandering to those buyers at the expense of anyone and everyone who could get more utility out of something lighter, more agile, more able to navigate tighter areas and with a more accessible bed.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I agree with Jimal; it was killed, which is far different from dying a ‘natural’ death.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Vulpine,
          Allowed to die. Ford wanted to maximise profits rather than develop the Ranger. They are trying to get the Global Ranger to compete with Toyota’s Hilux, with little success at the moment,

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Killed. The Ranger, Dakota and S-10 effectively drove all the others out, then got steadily up-sized to the point that they’re little different from American full-sized trucks–then shut down.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        The bogus CAFE ‘footprint’ formulas work against small pickups. They don’t cost much less to build and aren’t especially economical, so the manufacturer benefits by sticking to the full size trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          Which is why there is an opportunity for a company like VW – that doesn’t have a full-size truck in its inventory – to own the market. The legacy competitors in the segment had their reasons to starve the market and put people into their full-size offerings. You’re just not going to sell something that isn’t contemporary and capable. People aren’t going to buy small just because it is small and they’re not going to pay a premium for something that is out dated.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            Jimal, that’ll only work if they market to the potential buyers who want/need smaller and more user-friendly trucks instead of chasing the same urban-cowboy market the Big 3 are pandering to.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            Step 2 is they’d have to do some marketing. Step 1 would be to make sure that the vehicle, if they decided to roll the dice, isn’t crap.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          The “small truck” footprint in the CAFE schedule is on a truck that no longer exists. The base Chevy S10. The Tacoma is much bigger and the regular cab will no longer be built after 2015. The regular cab Tacoma and Frontier have not been sold in Canada for a while.

          Base small trucks will eventually have the same footprint as base full-size. And it’s getting harder for small trucks to beat the fuel economy of full-size. Their only real advantage will be the narrow body, if that’s what you need.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @J.Emerson,
      The Japanese and Koreans are waiting in the wings to sell their Vans if the OEMS hit a “Home Run” with their rebirthed European Vans.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I am not a fan of “protectionism”. That does not mean it should never be used. It has it’s uses but this chicken tax is draconian, ancient and hopelessly inappropriate. Best to get rid of it and only if necessary, have a much more flexible, managed import tax.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Mahindra was never interested in the US market, the attempt to bring it here was all due to the potential importer. One of the things that shot it down was the fact that Mahindra wasn’t willing to spend the money to make it comply with US standards, neither was the importer and both claimed the contract made the other responsible for doing so. So the likelihood of the Mahindra truck making it here if the chicken tax goes away is very slim.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Scoutdude,
      Correct they thought it would be fairly easy to pass into the US market. Unfortunately Mahindra has failed in every other market they have entered.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I don’t think either of them had a clue as to the real cost to bring them up to US standards and have them certified. They had the chicken tax all figured out though and contracts inked for the location to assemble the CKD.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Mahindra would have had two advantages here in the US which you may not be aware of:

        1) Mahindra tractors are extremely popular, working right alongside of John Deeres and Kubotas.
        2) Mahindra was licensed in perpetuity back in the late ’50s to build vehicles based on the Jeep CJ and the Mahindra pickups (and SUVS) are direct descendants of those old CJs–without the ‘fancifying’ that Daimler did to the American Jeep. Granted, the new JKs are selling remarkably well, but for the once-Jeep-purist, the Mahindra could well be the rig to put a Jeep pickup truck on the road again, even if it doesn’t have the Jeep name on it.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Vulpine,
          Mahindra has really struggled here a very basic product that has not made waves in the Pickup or agricultural market.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            While I can’t speak for Australia and I know very little about their trucks’ real performance or capabilities, Mahindra tractors in the US seem to be very popular in the US–at least in the 80hp size class. http://www.drivespark.com/four-wheelers/2013/mahindra-tractor-usa-sales-004608.html

            Now, the hows and wherefores of Mahindra’s failure to arrive in the US seems more convoluted maybe than it needs to be–apparently the US vendor of the tractors wanted to be the exclusive vendor of the trucks while Mahindra itself may have run into some import issues due almost entirely to the Chicken Tax preventing them from shipping the trucks at any kind of economical rate. We’ve got each blaming the other for the failure of the trucks to arrive, when it may be the tariff alone preventing it with a side order of monopolistic behavior by the company wanting to import them. That issue is going to be in the courts for a while, I’m sure.

            The point is that the tractors seem to be rather popular here in the States and apparently also in other parts of the world, even if not Australia. The trucks have real JEEPs in their ancestry and apparently have stuck pretty much to the original concepts without changing the technology too drastically. I would also expect that they’re working on almost purely mechanical control with limited, if any, computer monitoring. This could make those trucks, especially if they’re significantly smaller than American full-sized trucks, rather popular.

            Then again, our Nanny-State government may end up blocking it because it doesn’t have all those cushy pads and expensive computer triggers for each and every possible catastrophic event.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Come on down Toyota Hiace! You too, VW California!

    Not 100% sure if those two would even be affected by the tax, but I sure would love them here.

  • avatar
    wsn

    I think it would benefit Chinese truck makers the most.

    1) They don’t have to build a plant in the US any more. It’s much easier just to export a small quantity to test water.

    2) Light trucks are better export items than passenger cars, because safety (or just the perception of safety) is not as important and a low price is more important.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      China isn’t part of the TPP, and this FTA will definitely hurt China the most. London’s Financial Times called it the “anybody but China club”:

      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/trans-pacific-partnership-trade-agreement-or-anti-china-alliance/

      In fact, the TPP is designed by the US specifically to cast its sphere of economic influence throughout Asia and Latin America. The TPP forces all signatories to adopt US style intellectual protection and adopt American standards and regulations to reduce trade barriers. Something that China will never take up.

      More importantly, the TPP will create a massive free-trade zone (US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Thailand, Australia, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, etc.) that encompasses 60% of the world’s GDP. Supply chains will be entirely focused in those areas: raw materials will come from Australia/Chile/Peru, low-cost labor will come from Mexico in the Americas and Thailand/Vietnam in Asia, and parts will flow to-and-from developed countries like the US/Japan.

      Its a air-tight club of countries that’s designed to dominate global supply chain. Either you are in the club or outside it. China HATES the TPP.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The reality is as the world globalises countries will either be protectionist with little trade or have liberal markets.

    As far as OECD economies go the US has a very protected vehicle industry, contrary to what most US people who post on this site think.

    The issue with the Japanese is, they don’t really manufacture pickups in Japan, they are mainly produced in Thailand in our region.

    The UAW doesn’t want their position of protectionism in any way shape or form altered. They are very protectionist. But the union supporting Dems have to give into international pressure for the good of the US and not what the UAW want.

    The value of vehicles protected by the chicken tax is over half of the vehicles sold in the US.

    Look at ‘cars’. If 50% of vehicle sold in the US are CUV/SUV/Vans/pickups/big trucks and the other 50% are cars and imported vehicles are about 25%, which is primarily cars, then eventually 25% of the vehicles affected by the chicken tax will be imported.

    That will make it 50% of all vehicles sold in the US potentially will be imported from outside of NAFTA. This is a good figure, especially if the US exports 50% of what it produces. Competition.

    This will force the US manufacturers to compete on a world level and not at regional levels like they have been.

    Remember the size of the US vehicle market is shrinking everyday. Within a couple of decades it will only represent 10% of global sales. That size market can’t afford to be independent.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    No rants about how the chicken tax is the UAW, Democrats, protectionists, Obama’s and Santa Claus’ fault?

    No claims that with the end of the chicken tax a HiLux will be in every driveway, parked right next to the Tacoma and the Tundra?

    No claims of the death of GM due to Indian trucks being sold for half the price – and anyway GM will be sitting on 2013 Silverados until 2016 because they built so many of them under the guise of retooling for the 2014?

    No diatribes on how Japan is a wide open market that would love to buy American products – they just don’t want them?

    Just the facts ma’am on potential winners and losers – and it really doesn’t appear that it will be that impactful to the US reporting and the B&B can dispense the fanboism and haterade?

    Wow, loving the new TTAC

  • avatar
    turbobrick

    Yes! Get ready for the Dacia Logan minitrucks!

  • avatar
    cacon

    The truth is that American trucks are a NAFTA only phenomenon, they only sell well in Canada, USA and in a less scale Mexico.
    They’re big and thirsty, and can’t haul much (even less) than their third world work designed counterparts (single cab, 4 cylinder gas or diesel, manual transmission, 1 metric ton of hauling capacity at least, etc).

    When you need a workhorse, you’re looking at most hauling capacity and less fuel consumption because you’re running a business, which none of the Big 3 trucks are good at. Just look at Nissan, Toyota or Mitsubishi small work pickups (not talking about crewcab, big suspension hight, power all, automatic, A/C, comfy ride, luxury trims, etc.) spec’s and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    In Europe the small van (like the transit, kangoo, etc), is more popular, but is the same formula of small engine, most possible area used for cargo and low ride height.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      The US Pickups are “SUVs with a bed”. Global ones have been developed to do a lot more work, more fuel efficient vastly more capable Off Road
      and yes they can be “SUV’s with Beds” as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Sorry but that just isn’t true, which one of those global pickups can haul 3100lbs or tow 11,000lbs, like a properly equipped F150? How about the 7000+ lb payload of the F350/Silverado 3500 or 23,000lb towing capacity of a Silverado 3500?

        You also must keep in mind that the Frontier is the same truck that you get down under but made to pass the US safety and emissions standards. In the US we have 2 lawyers and 3 regulators for every civilian, ok not really but we have a lot of lawyers and regulators. Which means by the time the meet US standards and the US lawyers demands, you get the Frontier and Tacoma we get in the US.

        Also as far as fuel effeciency goes as I posted in the last thread where the chicken tax was brought up the 4cyl AT Frontier gets the same MPG rating as the 6cy AT F150.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Scoutdude.
          US Pickups lack the Off Road ability, fuel efficiency and general payload of a Global pickup. Yes they also carry over 3000lbs of payload, most F150′s are “SUV with Beds” with roughly 1600lbs of Payload. A F150 HD will carry slighly more than 3000lbs but it is hopeless Off Road.
          11,000lbs towing at 60mph? No fantasy stuff. US Pickups get considerably downrated here
          The Frontier is not the same,, When has it ever carried 2,500lb in the US? Towed a a 27ft 5Ver?
          If ANY of the characteristics of US Pickups had any validity people would be knocking down the doors to get them.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            You are the one living in the fantasy world. What I see on the AU Nissan website is that the Navara can tow 3000kg which equals 6614lbs, when properly equipped, while the Frontier is rated to tow up to 6500bs, when properly equipped. So not really a significant difference just rounding to the local units.

            Yes not every F150 is rated for a 3100lb payload or a 11,000 lb trailer but that is because not everyone that buys one needs or wants that capacity. Properly equipped it will tow that 11,000lbs all day long and not just at a wimpy 60 mph speed limit but at the more common 70~75 mph speed limit or even the 80 or 85 mph speed limits we have in some areas and going up some very steep grades.

            As far as the rated payload there is no reason, other than what the lawyers recommend, that they couldn’t give it rear springs capable of hauling more IF they wanted to because they thought it would sell. See the fact that the most popular consumer version of the F150 rolls out with the door with the 1600lb payload instead of the 3100lb rating.

            Years ago Toyota used to offer “1 ton” versions of the current compact pickup you knew as the Hilux but dropped them. They didn’t sell in large enough numbers to warrant it, and they got sued over the weak rear axles and wheels they were specifying to carry that load.

            The US market is not the AU market and the AU market is not the US market. I’m just not sure what you don’t understand about that. As far as people knocking down doors to get them yeah that does happen in the US and Canada since the F-series and Sliverado and F-series and Ram are the best selling vehicles in the respective nation. Note Canada doesn’t have the chicken tax so that isn’t stopping the importation of any of the Global trucks.

            As I’ve said before we will soon if the new GM Global Mid-size twins sell enough for GM to actually make a profit on them. You can be certain all eyes will be their sales statistics.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Scoutdude,
            The Frontier does not actually tow 6,600lb and the Frontier certainly does not have a payload of 2500lb.Can the Frontier tow a 27 ft 5th Wheeler answer NO.
            “Properly equipped it will tow that 11,000lbs all day long and not just at a wimpy 60 mph speed limit but at the more common 70~75 mph speed limit”

            ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. Walt Disneys Fantasyland is now US Pickup Lore.

            “See the fact that the most popular consumer version of the F150 rolls out with the door with the 1600lb payload instead of the 3100lb rating. ”

            That is because adding more THAN TWICE the rated Payload is dangerous.

            “Years ago Toyota used to offer “1 ton” versions of the current compact pickup you knew as the Hilux but dropped them”

            They decided to produce the Tundra and Tacoma instead, It suited the US market.

            “The US market is not the AU market and the AU market is not the US market. I’m just not sure what you don’t understand about that.”

            Correct and the Global Market is not the US One.

            “As far as people knocking down doors to get them yeah that does happen in the US and Canada since the F-series and Sliverado and F-series and Ram are the best selling vehicles in the respective nation”

            Non-exist ant here and in the rest of the world.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Scoutdude
          We have what is called a Kia K2900 truck that is smaller than one of our midsizers that has a load capacity of 3 800lbs. It’s powered by a 2.9 litre turbo diesel and gets around 25mpg mixed driving.

          A Holden Colorado has a payload of 3 180lbs and can tow 7 800lbs. We get them and put a 6′ 4″ x 8′ tray on the back.

          The 2wd version of my BT50 has a payload of 3 050lbs and can also tow 7 800lbs.

          We have LDTs the size of a full size 1/2 truck that is 4×4 and can carry 6 000lbs and tow 10 000lbs.

          And I can even buy a new dual cab high end 4×4 Tundra or F-350, any GMC or Chev, Ram.

          You guys just don’t have these options. Australia has a fantastic vehicle market to select and choose from.

          We have many ‘bit’ players, like Mahindra, but because I don’t think they are any good why should I stop someone else from having an opportunity to buy one?

          Why stop your neighbour from buying a Mazda BT50? The only trucks that can be produced in the US need to be produced at a minimum of 100 000 pickups a year. Because the chicken tax, CAFE, and all of the other design and technical barriers make it unviable.

          Liberalise America and become a free country!

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – Can you give specific examples. The truck capacities you quote (and MPG) are usually traced back to a regular cab, 2wd, cab/chassis (sold without a bed) or something else, basically unwanted. Clearly Aussie capacity ratings would drop dramatically when set to international SAE standards.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverMike
            Again, you are being a ‘dickhead’. You very well know I posted this information on a competing site (PUTC).

            Why is it so hard for you to ever obtain information yourself.

            Do I look like your lacky.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – If a few hundred dollars in Chicken tax workarounds are going to kill the deal, we’re talking about a very weak product potential. Even in a completely FREE market, why would an OEM take on the US market with pickups not in demand and would struggle to sell 20K unit a year with rebates piled on. Drop its price low enough and fleets and other cheapskates might jump on them. But why would OEMs subject themselves to this?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – How hard is to give a specific example? You have the exact specs right in front of you, so letting us in on the exact model shouldn’t be much of a chore.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverMike
            You are losing a debate? You are going into your prove it mode of questioning. You do that when all else fails.

            Why?

            Google has worldwide coverage, the world doesn’t stop at Canada and Mexico, I think its a little larger than that.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAF0 – Your posts are vague runarounds where you take the best example from one group and compare it the worst from another. Meaningless without specifics because trucks vary so much from model to model

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      US pickups are far more capable than any trucks available outside North America. Light years more capable as anyone who actually comes from those markets understands when they experience them. My Aussie friends just drool. Much cheaper that anything approaching their capability outside NA as well. To compare what others have available to buy and think otherwise is simply laughable. Please let me know what similar vehicle anywhere offers 700-800 ft-lb of torque, if I am missing something.

      These are the facts, and nothing but the facts. They don’t sell elsewhere because no one can afford the fuel.
      Only trucks that seat two with no passenger seats are subject to the chicken tax and the sales of such vehicles is miniscule, so the chicken tax really has little impact. Americans don’t care about fuel economy.Americans are blessed with high incomes and low fuel costs. We’d still have large cars if not for government intervention to limit consumer choice.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        What a load of Cobblers. Unlike the Iphone (made in China)they are basically NA Only. We get them here too , unlike the US where Global midsizers do not exist. No ,the Tacoma is not the Hilux and the Frontier is not the Navara.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yeah the Navara is the Frontier but the Frontier meets US standards as mentioned above and keeps the US based lawyers happy.

          It is not the chicken tax preventing Toyota and Nissan from selling the same truck in the US that they sell in the rest of the world.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          I will give you the Tacoma not being the Hilux, but I own a Frontier and spent 9 months with a Navarra. With the exception of the Diesel vs the VQ 4.0 they are the same exact truck down to the pattern on the seats and the badges. And while the diesel was nice for knocking around the FOB here in the wide open US I’ll take the gasser. But make no mistake, they ARE EXACTLY the same truck.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @mkirk,
            They do this?
            http://www.australianmotorhomes.com.au/SiteFiles/australianmotorhomescomau/umh/4669U/Gallery/5th_Wheeler_01.jpg

            Does the Frontier have a 2500lb payload?

            Does it have a 405lbs ft of torque diesel?.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            My Frontier’s payload is not rated that high, no. But then again as I have signifacant experience with both I will say your payload figure in the Navarra I had would be in the “wet dream” category. Though perhaps a couple of thousand pounds in the bed would have helped it to not get stuck constantly in the gravel outside of my office. Fortunately or 70 series Land Cruiser had a winch. The towing capacities are about the same though…6500 pounds for the v6. Anyway, I said aside from powertrains they are the same truck which they are and for my needs the V6 is great. Also, towing capacities and payloads often vary country to country based on nothing mechanical. My Land Cruiser is rated for 5000 yet in other countries it is rated much higher with the same power train. That 5000 pounds is also a wet dream figure BTW. So it is likely my Frontier can do everything your Navarra can since THEY ARE THE SAME FREAKIN’ TRUCK.

            As to your diesel, well here in the US it would likely sell for about the same as a base model Cummins Ram which has a bit more torque than your quoted figure.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @MKirk,
            I would like to know where you drove these generally unobtainable Foreign Vehicles?
            Secondly you cannot change the payload otherwise F150 owners would be running around with substantial TC’s on their vehicles.The Global Navara has more than twice the payload of the Frontier?

        • 0 avatar
          cronus

          Australia gets the D22 which is the previous generation Frontier that Nissan stopped selling in the US in 2004. The US now gets the updated D40 which is also made in Brazil, Thailand, Spain, and the Philippines. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Frontier

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        That is American conceit talking–not necessarily factual.

        Now, had you qualified that to “more capable than any other pickup outside NA” you would have been closer to the truth, but still not completely so. There are trucks in many other countries from nearly every continent that are carrying and pulling Bigger and Heavier loads than American pickup trucks with smaller engines–some of them using diesel engines we consider less than useless for American purposes. Why? Because they’re not concerned about How Fast the load gets there, so long as it gets there.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Vulpine,
          They also get vastly bigger loads to a destination m much more quickly and at less cost. The engines maybe a lot bigger as well.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          US is a different market than the rest of the world. We are more spread out and vehicle focused and a truck that can’t do 75 on the Interstate is not anymore suited for our market than a giant truck is for yours. We are concerned with how fast the load gets there and nothing is going to change that.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The problem is, Doc, that most buyers simply don’t NEED that much power. Sure, there are exceptions, but the vast majority of pickup trucks I see around where I live (about 50% farming, 50% bedroom community) are NEVER loaded. They have huge diesel stacks sticking up through the bed or they have a hard tonneau cover or they’re simply brightly painted and highly polished–they simply aren’t used as trucks! Yes, some are used as trucks, but most of those are a minimum of 5 years old and they LOOK well-used.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          And those people you describe that never load their trucks and have the stacks sticking up through the bed would never be seen in something less than a full size “3/4 ton” pickup. Yet the heaviest thing the normally carry is a case of beer and the most they tow is a pair of Quads, Snowmobiles, or Jet Skis depending on the season.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Well, they do tow something more–
            For one week out of the year they go to the county fair and tow the ‘Sled’ as far as they can.

            Funny thing about that… The government was flying an air-quality research flight that month and happened to pass right over the fairgrounds during the truck pulls. I can IMAGINE the readings they got!

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          @Vulpine- It is obvious to me in my life’s experience that the vast majority of us in America live well up into the “wants” realm, far above meeting basic “needs”!

          No doubt, pickups are a lifestyle statement for many, particularly the customizing touches you mention. Others actually use them. Mine has a bed full of mulch to be spread when I get off this PC!

          Personally, I might have chosen a Traverse or Acadia for my needs. It is more appealing, having the capability to tow a car trailer nicely and also carry 7 passengers. I have pulled my car trailer with one and it performed fine, though with just 2wd, the front tires break loose and spin on abrupt acceleration or downshifts to 1st. They get slightly better mileage, but were about $10,000 more than my ’08 Sierra cost new!

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DocOlds
        I really like US pickups very much and loved driving the F250 Super Duty last year in Vegas for a few weeks, but don’t get me wrong on this.

        That Super Duty wasn’t a very good and economic vehicle for a business. It has a low payload considering the size of the vehicle and even though it was diesel it still consumed a considerable amount of fuel.

        The US might have been affluent enough in the past to have these things, but now it is starting to change.

        You can’t just keep on looking into the past, look at the future and if you did you would realise it is unsustainable for the US to keep on heading in its current trajectory with it’s under utilised and oversized commercial vehicles.

        If your vehicles had triple their payload or even more, I would agree that your vehicles are good and capable. Most of your 1/2 ton pickups are toys and used as such. That is why they don’t have any payload.

        HDs I don’t really consider a ‘pickup’ as such even though you guys call them pickups. But HDs can’t compare to the forward control trucks we use in their place.

        The US commercial vehicle fleet has morphed into an unsustainable segement, much different to the rest of the world.

        But its slowly changing now with the Ducato’s, Transits and other Eurovans/trucks you will be getting soon.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @BAF0 – ‘Forward control’ trucks (or tilt cabs/ cab-over-engine) can hardly replace HD pickups. Clearly you guys lack any pickups between mid-size and commercial HDs, so that’s a severely limited market. Vans can hardly replace pickups either. Would you own a minivan instead of your mid-size Mazda?

          Of course net payload suffers when you load a pickup with a big diesel, crew cab, long bed, 4X4, etc. Something has got to give. Funny you didn’t mention its towing capacity. What you were looking at was a tow rig. Those that want max payload get the basic truck, not the full boat, luxo truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DenverMike
            Actually I would if I didn’t live in the Outback where I need 4×4.

            After driving the diesel Yaris in France a couple of months ago I would look at one of those small diesel Kango style vans.

            Why not, on the Autoroutes they were flying past me when I was doing 130kph (near on 85mph).

            I know even with my high speed driving and mountain driving and French city driving I averaged a FE of 5 litres per 100km. I would get near that with a Kango van, I could even make a simple camper out of it as well.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          @BigAl- I fully support bringing all sorts of vehicles here with much, much less government intrusion! My first post was “death to the Chicken tax”, you may recall!

          My purpose in posting so many comments on this thread has been to clarify what our pickups really are, not to denigrate others or lobby against smaller trucks.

          As a nation, we are still rich, and the higher income segment has been getting richer despite some of the media spin on things. I can see this by watching the traffic pulling boats and trailers loaded with ATV’s and motorcycles north every weekend! Michigan is the third largest tourism state after California and Florida.

          Americans have it better in terms of PPP, (Purchasing Power Parity) than any large nation on earth. For example, using PPP GDP data, it costs an Australian $1.59 to buy what an American can get for $1. Our PPP output is about 17% higher, per capita.

          When you consider our much lower fuel prices, the difference is even greater. That’s why we have so many trucks and large SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DocOlds
            Your PPP is generally used as the standard basis.

            What you fail to realise is our average wage is over $70 000 per year. That’s average. Australia also has the highest ratio of millionaires amongst large countries per capita.

            Your measure is a chalk and cheese measure. It’s like saying you are better off living in Mexico. The purchasing power of a US dollar in Mexico is much higher than in the US.

            Remember the US is the richest country, but it might not have the richest people.

            We pay more because our earnings are higher. A high school kid at MacDonalds makes $14 per hour flipping burgers. An 18 year old at McDonalds is on $23 per hour.

            Much different to the US and even Canada.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @BAFO- I introduced PPP to help you understand why Americans don’t care so much about fuel economy and prefer larger vehicles.
            Data shows your incomes are higher, but your costs even higher yet such that the average American’s buying power is higher, 17% higher, as I wrote.

            This isn’t opinion, it is simply what data shows. Your nominal incomes are 35% higher, good for you, but your costs in general are 59% higher, even more than that for fuel.
            Gasoline(petrol) is $3.61 per US gallon today. This article says your petrol is $1.70 per liter or $6.45AU per US gallon. That means your fuel costs you 77% more than it costs us, much more than your 35% higher incomes.
            Similarly, your vehicle prices are higher compared to your incomes. This data is the basis for my statement, which I stand behind.

            http://www.news.com.au/money/cost-of-living/petrol-prices-tipped-to-soar-as-australian-dollar-weakens/story-fnagkbpv-1226675607390

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DocOlds
            Do you understand what PPP is? Also, do you understand what tradable and non-tradeables are?

            What are the problems when trying to compare with PPP between countries? How about the price of fuel? Look at say India in PPP terms do you know what the per capita is? So, a commodity like petrol is the same price as the US pays. How do you work that one out?

            Do you understand nominal GDP. Or the difference between GNI and GDP?

            You might find I understand much more than you realise.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DocOlds
            I figure through my extensive stays in the US and Australia that the actual cost in pure nominal terms is 125%-133.33333% more to live exactly as the US.

            So say I earn $100 000 in Australia I would need to earn $75 000-$80 000 in the US to live like I do in Australia.

            Yes you might be able to buy a pair of Nike’s for half what we pay or buy a can of Coke for a certain price.

            But when you look at the actual cost of living, you’d be surprised.

            A classic example is milk. Last winter there was talk in the US of dissolving your dairy ‘regulator’. Milk was $3.49 a gallon at Shoprite (supermarket brand).

            The scaremongerers tried to say if the subsidised milk was stopped it would rise to $8 a gallon. I laughed. In the early 80s we got rid of our dairy board and the same was said.

            We pay $1 per litre ($3.78USD) for unregulated and subsidised milk. A loaf of supermarket bread a Shoprite was $1.69 a loaf. We pay $1.19 for a pound and a half loaf of white/wholemeal/multigrain.

            Branded products are more expensive here and so is meat.

            What about medical, it is half the price per capita here than in the US. The US is now about $8 000 per person.

            I can go on and on. We do pay more for things but overall we have items like medical that cost you thousands.

            Insurance is another one. I pay $550 per year for a $51 000 vehicle and another $1 600 per year to insure 2 homes for landlord insurance. My mother is paying $1 700 for a $16 000 Ford Focus in New Jersey.

            I think you must look beyond PPP and look at what the average can use there income for.

            We also pay less tax than the Canadians and a little more than the US as a percentage of GDP. So we aren’t taxed heavily like some Euro countries.

            A killer for us is housing as we never had a real housing bubble burst.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DocOlds
            It should read also our milk is unsubsidised like all of our agri products.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @BAFO- Of course I understand what PPP is about. that’s why I brought it up!

            It is a method to show the relative buying power between economies based on a “market basket of goods”.

            It shows that your cost of living is 59% higher, though that is an “average market basket”, so we can look specifically at fuel prices.

            Your fuel actually costs 77% more.

            It explains why America is a relative consumer paradise and we choose bigger, thirstier vehicles without much regard for fuel efficiency.

            I was particularly amazed to learn that a Toyota Tundra, which I am assuming to be the same vehicle as offered here, is FOUR TIMES AS MUCH, 400%! In fairness, if your incomes are 35% higher, that shrinks your real cost disadvantage to only 300%, just THREE TIMES AS MUCH!

            Correct any error here, my mind is always open.

            I can appreciate that some things are cheaper for you, but we are talking about vehicles and petrol, aren’t we?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DocOlds
            Then if you understand economics PPP isn’t as simple as you are making out.

            In the basket of goods what are tradables and what aren’t?

            Really, PPP isn’t the best tool.

            PPP was created in 1972 for EEC purposed to be used against like market in the EU.

            It was then adopted by the WTO. Who admit it isn’t the best tool for measuring economies as there are to many discrepencies.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    c’mon Ryan- you have never seen or talked to anyone in Oz with a duramax GM truck. If you had, you would know there is nothing else available that can even begin to approach its performance. Even after conversion, a GM truck is $25,000 less than the best Toyota and can run rings around it in performance. These are facts in the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Proof? Show me the evidence.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      You are totally clueless at best. Why do you think they do not sell here, because they are fabulous? We are a very much a a “truck country” US Pickups not classified as trucks, but US Pickups are as rare as hens teeth. The demand is not here. Globally outside the NA it does not exist.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        I know why they don’t sell there. There aren’t enough of you who can afford to buy and operate them to justify them being offered. They are just too large for most global markets as well.

        Enlighten yourself, talk to someone who actually uses one. They are, in fact, pretty fabulous in capability and comfort. That’s why Americans buy so many of them.

        The two top Japanese competitors with maximum effort sell also-rans in our market. They just don’t cut it – Toyota & Nissan combined can’t even match GM’s smaller brand, GMC. Toyota tried hard, actually had the fantasy they could sell enough for a whole assembly plant. Their failure is simple- they aren’t as good.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Remember, I’m the person who coined the term Road Whales™ for American pickup trucks, and I AM an American.

          The modern full-sized pickup truck is more than 10% larger than 1990 and roughly 20% larger than 1960. Today’s American pickup truck is expected to perform the tasks of yesterday’s purpose-built medium-duty trucks–consolidating the classes and bringing the F-250/F-350 (and equivalent GM/RAM trucks) into corporate-level trucking to reduce the total number of models these manufacturers are building–consequently taking advantage of the CAFE mileage giveaways for larger and heavier-class trucks.
          The problem is that to be quite honest the vast majority of buyers simply don’t NEED a truck that large; they just want that big engine so they can claim to have the most power in their driveways.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          What are smoking? They do not sell them virtually anywhere outside the US. Too big, Too expensive? YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN to Australia and highly likely anywhere outside the US.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Doc Olds
          That’s sort of a ridiculous comment. As a matter of fact Australia has the highest ownership of performance vehicles in the world per capita. We can afford American pickups, we choose as opposed ‘forced’ by taxes and barriers to buy midsizers.

          American pickups never took off here and they have tried on several occasions to sell them. Why have a 1/2 ton or HD when I can buy something that has twice as good FE for less? And get the same job done just as quick.

          I nearly spent over $90 000 on a Land Rover Discovery 4. I can sure a hell afford to run a $60-70 000 US truck. But I ended up buying a BT50. Why? Because it is all I needed, plus some.

          0-60 times are great on a website like this, but in the real world most just want to drive to work cheaply and without any breakdowns.

          Bigger isn’t better. Do you upsize at MacDonalds? Because you can.

          The money I save on buying a cheap $51 000 vehicle allows me to do other things, the reality is I only drive maybe on average half an hour a day.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            Ryan- In fact, I have been all over the US and Canada and to many countries in Europe. I had the delightful opportunity to spend a month in Australia riding with Aussies in their Model T Fords and driving a wonderful Commodore SV6 with the DI 3.6L from Sydney to Melbourne and back. We stayed with Aussie friends nearly half the time on our visit. We have personal friends from those areas who have stayed with me and travelled across America on at least a half dozen occasions over many years. My father twice did something that neither you and nor more than a handful of your countrymen will ever do, driving completely around your continent, first in a Model A and later in a Model T. Additionally, my folks have travelled extensively to many countries on every continent with the exception of Africa. I grew up knowing foreign students attending Michigan State University from Africa, Indian, Indonesia, Taiwan and had global responsibilities at GM that put me in contact with Aussies, Indonesians, Germans, Japanese and Koreans to name a few.
            I am confident of what I write because I earned the right. I know what I am talking about with a wealth of life experience.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Big Al- You can’t have it both ways, admit they are too big and thirsty and then say it is ridiculous for me to claim you can’t afford them! You contradict yourself.

            I expect you have little experience with towing, since you have virtually no lakes. We have far, far more lake area just in Southern Michigan than all of Australia. For that matter, our neighbor, Canada has more lakes than the entire rest of the world!! A good share of the Pickups and large SUV’s here see use pulling boats.

            My point is not to question your personal financial capability, but to explain the key reasons US trucks are not being marketed outside NA. They are great for their intended purposes, and if fuel was as small a share of your income as it is here, you would probably want one too!

            We have very, very many larger vehicles freely chosen by consumers on our roads compared to the economy cars that are growing to dominate down under. That is just a fact.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @doctor olds,
            “Ryan- In fact, I have been all over the US and Canada and to many countries in Europe. I had the delightful opportunity to spend a month in Australia riding with Aussies in their Model T Fords and driving a wonderful Commodore SV6 with the DI 3.6L from Sydney to Melbourne and back. We stayed with Aussie friends nearly half the time on our visit.”

            That is what I suspected, you had either never been here or you had a small jaunt in a car(driven by someone else). I have been right around the US(excluding the Southern States and Alaska) .Yes and have driven around all three Hawaii Islands as well.
            Never seen a road divider? as Big Al noted, then either you were asleep or not noticing the road. I get one 400 yards from my house.
            Then came the very silly 99.9% of Australia do not have infrastructure. Not bad seeing supposedly you traveled from Sydney to Melbourne., that was your total
            experience of Australia? Sounds like as the English would say a “Cock and Bull Story” a reference to to the yarns told by drinkers in Pubs.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            Ryan, You can’t read. If you are really dumber than a box of rocks I pity you and apologize for mistreating a poor fool, but I think it is bull headedness.

            I drove the SV6 from Sydney to Melbourne and back MYSELF,and also spent some time DRIVING a rented Nissan SUV in Cairns and a DRIVING a borrowed Ford territory in Sydney/Kiama area. It was only in the T’s that I had the chance just to observe.

            You continue to prove yourself to be a provincial ignoramus with an inflated self opinion. Of course you have some divided roads. I never claimed otherwise. You surely don’t have any knowledge of American roads. Were you sitting on your mum’s lap on those travels?
            As for the 99% comment, It refers to the share of Australians who DO NOT live in NT, nothing about infrastructure at all.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @doctor olds,
            You are becoming more unbelievable at ever post.
            “I drove the SV6 from Sydney to Melbourne and back MYSELF,and also spent some time”
            As Big Al said No Road Divider? Total fantasy, some people on this blog exaggerate, but you making Pinnochio look truthful. As I have said before your a “phantastist” Who drove you or what you did does not matter as the thread “was” about large and small pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        At $150K a pop (after switching the steering to the wrong side of the car and getting all the ADR compliance paperwork), not a lot of people can afford an US truck. We are talking middle of the pack 5-series money here. When a loaded Hilux goes for $50K+ you know how the story ends.

        And even so I see some of the big bangers down here in the big smoke. Heck, there’s a tradie with a F-250 (converted to LPG and with a tray) around 2 kms away from where I live.

        I reckon that at the right price they would give the “midsizers” a proper run for their money.

        And US trucks with all their bling/chrome look flat out cool. I always smile when I see them around.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          @AthosNobile- I ran in to a fellow at the National Model T Ford meet in Richmond, NSW, outside Sydney in 2010. I introduced myself because I want to talk to him about the GMC Sierra 3500 he used for towing car trailers or his boat. He raved that it cost “only” $95,000 after conversion and could pull around and pass the best Toyota alternative as it maxed out trying to pull hills. Of course, with 765 ft-lb of torque that should be no surprise. He also claimed the Toyota would have been at least $25,000 more. I found that amazing, considering I picked up an identical appearing Sierra 1500 series in 2008 for just $22,000 including taxes and fees! My pulling capacity is much less. but still adequate to pull a car trailer very nicely with just the gas 5.3L and 3.73:1 towing axle ratio. The automatic 4wd is fantastic in the snow, too! Our trucks really are very good, and your sentiments were echoed by the head turning of our Aussie friends at car meets here in America when they saw the bigger ones go by.

          • 0 avatar
            Athos Nobile

            The figure I put the is based on prices I’ve seen on carsales. Of course, I may be off.

            A Hilux Workmate goes for $24-27K DA, dunno if it comes with a tray. 4 cyl petrol.

            You guys have it very good, pick up truck wise.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @AthosNobile- I didn’t intend to argue, just share what I was told.

            We have it great in very many ways and not so well with not enough Holden Commodore derivatives!

            My observations in greater Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, including the two highway primary routes in between, were that you have some interesting brands and models not sold here, such as 2 door Toyota subcompacts, Citroens, Renaults…. I also noted that very many of those models not available her were small economy cars.

            On the other hand, the wealth of Commodores, a surprising share customized with Chevrolet badging added by their Aussie owners, was simply incredible.

          • 0 avatar
            Athos Nobile

            Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat are bit players down here. Skoda is slowly growing. Save for the Czech (the Octavia and Superb seem to be nice cars), I really don’t pay much attention to them.

            Commodore for me is like the de facto national car here. You see them in the streets, TV adds, news, Police, my garage…

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Athos Nobile,
          As @Spike in Brisbane said they are used as “Lifestyle vehicles” primarily. I know a fellow who owned a F250 but had someone driving his Isuzu NQR as his work vehicle. The F250 became his “car”. As actual work vehicles the MDT Japanese vehicles are used primarily with some European competition. The Midsizers are used as “tradies utes ‘ and their “cars’
          Not that enamoured with US Pickup looks.
          http://imgc.classistatic.com/cps/blnc/130524/876r1/5522d73_20.jpeg

          http://www.cablehandlingmelbourne.com/img/capstan-winch-and-tradesmans-ute-combo.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @AthosNoble
          You can buy a top of the line Tundra for $110 000 with the RHD conversion done.

          That’s the Platnium dual cab.

          I know they are more expensive in the US. But to our US readers how much is a T6 Global Ranger in the US?

          You can’t even drive one on the road.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            Per Wikipedia:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Ranger_(T6)

            “Although the T6 Ranger is offered in 180 markets globally, it is not currently planned to be sold in the United States or Canada,[2] due to the new platform being too close in size and cost to the F-150, and due to overall declining sales of compact pickups in North America.”

            The Toyota Tundra Crew Max lists at $30,635 US, with a $2,750 discount. for a net of $27,885 list price. Dealers are surely discounting them further since they aren’t selling well.

            This vehicle costs an American 1/4 the price you quote for an Aussie ($110.000)!
            Said another way- you pay four times as much!
            http://www.toyota.com/

            Everything I have been telling you is true.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DocOlds
            WTF?

            $110 000 for the Tundra is a vehicle bought retail in the US shipped to Australia, then a RHD conversion done.

            If the barriers and tariffs were not in place in the US you will have Ford with the Ranger.

            Why? Because there are a dozen manufacturers waiting for the barriers to be lifted. If VW brings in the Amarok, as sure as $hit Ford will have the T6 on your shores.

            And a base model with a gas engine will sell for about $18 000 in the US and the top of the line with the 3.2 diesel dual cab 4×4 would be well under $35 000.

            That’s imported, the US can’t build competitive midsize vehicles.

            Remember my Galaplogos senario.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @BAFO- You are chasing your tail! The barriers are not the reason Ford chooses not to build the Ranger, they have built a smaller truck in the past and have plenty of capacity. All they would have to do, if it made business sense, would be some minor final assembly.

            They don’t think it will sell in competition with the F150, and that is based on experience.

            Unlike you and I sitting on the sidelines chattering, they are in the business of making money and they know it is not in that truck. If there was any money to be made, why do you think Ford wouldn’t do a work around something like they do with Transit Connect? Use some logic, its not that hard.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DocOlds
            Yes Ford is out to make money, they don’t want any competition.

            If the barriers and tariffs are removed full size trucks will have to be sold cheaper.

            Something the UAW doesn’t want.

            I’m starting to think by your writing that you are a UAW sponsored blogger.

            I’m not confused or tail chasing.

            Learn economics, you might find out that barriers and import tariffs affect and distort markets.

            Really, DocOlds your position is unprovable.

            Remove those dumbass barriers and taxes and lets see what happens.

            You know I’m correct. So, why do you, like DenverMike keep on creating or generating supposed senarios that just don’t exist.

            The import tariffs and barrier are for real. They do affect how the consumer is affected. They do create inefficiencies etc.

            The popularity of fullsize trucks (all Chicken Tax protected) vehicles are to a degree distorted.

            This information is well documented. Your opinions are getting quite boring and very unsubstantiated.

            Have a nice day.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Big Al From Oz,
            I find it funny that these people will argue with you till they are blue in the face that their “barriers” are actually “harmless’ and “ineffectual” but they have to be maintained anyway. Yes they are unnecessary, but scream blue murder if you even contemplate them being eliminated..Hmm strange that.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @RR&UBAFO- You Aussies must use a whole different language. Who has made any argument that the Chicken Tax is good and should be extended?
            The consistent argument has been simply that you guys don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about, not that the tax is a good thing. Just that the impact you claim is mostly imaginary.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That IS the point, Doc; whether or not the effects of the Chicken Tax are imaginary. While many on this site believe they are, there is quite evident proof that they are NOT imaginary and have seriously affected American imports from Japan & Europe for a minimum of 30 years with each little addendum that has been placed upon it.

            Cars and trucks that were once quite popular here–in fact, many of them that have been showing up on TTAC’s “junkyard finds”–simply cannot be found here any more. Not because they weren’t popular, but because they were effectively priced out of the market BY that tariff.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Vulpine- there is no doubt that a 25% tariff impacts the importation of a vehicle! There is far more proof that the impact on what is available is nil.
            Some key questions being addressed are:

            1-Are American trucks uncompetitive? reality proves a resounding ‘NO”. Toyota and Nissan both fail to compete on a completely level playing field. They remain the backmarkers.
            2- Are American Truck prices artificially inflated by the tariff? No. The logic is simple: How can that occur when these illustrious foreign models are built here. If that premise were really true, Toyota and Nissan should be able to simply undercut domestic prices and take the market. That is not a reality, not even close.

            You are defeating your own argument with the comment about all these great trucks we used to have. How were all these great trucks successful in the past if they were blocked from the market by tariffs? The fact is, not enough Americans wanted to buy them. All the big makers have plants here, can easily complete CKDs anywhere in NAFTA to circumvent the tariff, but they still withdrew from the market due to poor demand.

            Logic and facts lean far more in favor of the argument that the tariff has little real impact, rather than that it distorts the market as imagined by outsiders.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DocOlds
            No-one stated the full size trucks are uncompetitive. What was stated is that midsizers are competitive to full size. Completely different argument. You again are deflecting the argument.

            Yes, American trucks are artificially inflated by these tariffs and barriers.

            There is proof when the Chicken Tax fully came into effect the prices of both locally made Big 3 pickups and the locally manufactured ‘imports’ rose by over 25%.

            Also, there is evidence with the fact that pickups are supporting the Big 3 at the moment.

            So, you argument is baseless.

            DocOlds,
            Find me links that state other than what I’ve just put forward.

            But, not any UAW/CAW sponsored link.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Maybe if you learned how to read, “Doc” you’d realize that I said not one word about “all these great trucks…” I spoke of many vehicles that Americans used to love and which simply are no longer here. BUT…

            1: Are American trucks uncompetitive? I have to say YES. They are only “competitive” on one continent and that one not even the largest; North America. North America has only one reason why these big American trucks have an advantage, and that’s the simple fact that–unlike nearly every other country in the world–we have a lot of space between our cities and even our cities were designed with a lot more open space in them than any other major city in the world. Quite literally, an American pickup truck is simply too big to operate in most other countries. Just as other countries’ trucks don’t sell well here, American trucks don’t sell well anywhere else.
            2: Are American Truck prices artificially inflated by the tariff? Again I say YES! For the last 30 years at a minimum, American trucks have sold with AT LEAST 25% markup and I know from personal experience that in the past–especially in the early ’80s, some American trucks had a 100% markup–and people were buying them. They were priced higher than the average luxury car of the day and yet cost no more than those same cars to build–often less because they didn’t need to worry as much about form-fitting seats and other components into the cab in the same way. Simply put, they were easier to build, cheaper to build and offered the highest profits.

            BUT, they were seeing some competition from the smaller import trucks–enough that they ‘partnered’ each with a different Japanese brand to create an American compact truck just to compete on their level, then brought out their own in-house-designed trucks that were only slightly larger and dropped their partnerships. This immediately dropped those Japanese brands’ sales each by a minimum of 50% AND those slightly larger trucks could be (and were) priced enough lower than the Japanese brands that they effectively drove them out, slowly but surely. By 1990, almost no Nissans, Isuzus or Mazda trucks were sold here because they simply couldn’t compete due to the Chicken Tax. I repeat, I had an inside track at the time and KNEW what was happening because the dealership I worked for told me what was going on. Once they drove the Japanese out, they started growing the American compacts to mid-size and each new generation got larger–to the point now that they’re as big as the full-sized trucks of 20 years ago. Meanwhile, American full-sized trucks kept growing as well, for other reasons. And while their markup may not be AS high as they were, it becomes unbearably obvious that they still have from 25%-50% markup and even higher when you go for the so-called luxury trim packages. There is NO reason why a full sized American pickup truck should cost more than $40K. Anything over $30 K is pure profit, no matter the trim or performance package.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Vulpine- Sorry I re-phrased to summarize the concept you appeared to be expressing about good midsize trucks available in the recent past. Maybe you can help me understand.

            Didn’t you mention that they were here and are now gone? Weren’t they subject to the same Chicken Tax then as exists today? If nothing changed with the tax, how can it be the reason they are gone?

            Expecting this to be a waste of my time, but I’ll try again with a few more logical questions.

            Why can’t Toyota and Nissan just undercut the domestic prices since they don’t have any more tax on their US produced entries?

            Why don’t any of the offshore makers simply perform minor CKD assembly in NAFTA somewhere to bring these products in if they would inspire such market demand?

            Your writing is confusing. You say that our trucks are uncompetitive, then use exactly the same logic I have expressed to explain why our market is differeent, “North America has only one reason why these big American trucks have an advantage, and that’s the simple fact that–unlike nearly every other country in the world–we have a lot of space between our cities and even our cities were designed with a lot more open space in them than any other major city in the world. Quite literally, an American pickup truck is simply too big to operate in most other countries. Just as other countries’ trucks don’t sell well here, American trucks don’t sell well anywhere else.”

            BTW- as a matter of fact, North America is BY FAR, the richest car market in the world irrespective of it’s physical population size. There is far more money here.

            You are right that full size trucks are immensely profitable. It has been reported that 90% of Ford’s global profits are derived from F-150, and GM’s twins earn 60% of their global net. As a hard point of fact, not one single buyer has been forced to buy one. Consumers choose to do so because they want them. If Toyota and Nissan were not here, we would still have the D3 competitors, but, in fact Japan’s two largest makers are building here as well.

            Please explain your logic as to why one of the (5) players can’t just start a price war? If your idea is right, Toyota ought to be able to grab a huge slice of the segment rather than the small slice the real world exhibits.

            Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever defended the Chicken Tax or any other restraint on consumer choice.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Hey Doc. Maybe you should study Logic as it is officially described. There are college courses on it, you know. The simple definition is ’cause and effect’ and can sometimes appear rather convoluted. As an example, “expecting this to be a waste of my time” yet continuing to ask the questions is an illogical outcome. If you were expecting it to be a waste of your time, you simply should not have continued. But that’s beside the point.

            Your first question, “Why can’t Toyota and Nissan just undercut the domestic prices?” That one’s pretty simple, because there are anti-trust laws that treat such activities as “monopolistic behavior”; essentially, the ‘Big Three’ would accuse them of dumping product on the market supposedly below cost in order to drive competition out of the market and then raise their own prices; something like what the Chicken Tax has done in their favor for the last 30 years and longer. Whether or not Toyota and Nissan were actually selling below cost would be moot, as the suit would take years in court and cost both sides hundreds of millions of dollars and eat up what little profit they were making. Conversely, since the market is willing to accept the high prices (for now) both Toyota and Nissan are still making profit, even on slower-selling models. They’re just not making as much profit due to the high cost of United States labor–which, by the way, is why so many American-branded vehicles are now being assembled in Mexico and Canada, where labor is somewhat cheaper. (I blame the labor unions for this. Yes, they do still serve a valid purpose, but they have done to the manufacturers what was done to them 100 years ago.)

            I also like how you try to take my statement out of context–intentionally leaving out the rest of the statement where I said our trucks were uncompetitive *in every other country*. I stated quite clearly that they are too big, too clumsy and too thirsty to navigate anywhere else in the world. Even medium-duty trucks and busses run on wheelbases no longer than our pickup trucks and they have far better agility navigating the tight roads and alleyways in those ancient cities. At least part of that is due to the Front Control design which puts the driver in front of the steer wheels, so that the load can be carried starting at or just behind them–where our pickup cabs occupy and waste valuable cargo space. As such, a truck with greater load capacity is no longer than our American pickup truck.
            Logic. Cause and effect. Carry more load by putting the driver over the engine and waste less space. Of course, the NTHSB hates cab-forward designs because they feel it puts the driver at risk in a collision. They like the idea of a huge cushion in front of the driver. Hey! Why not put the load in front of the driver, like they do in ships? Then the entire load is the cushion and nobody’s at risk–well, maybe with the exception of a rear-end collision, maybe. Do we have a problem with being a ‘nanny state’? The rest of the world thinks so.

            As far as your next to last statement; “… not one buyer has been forced to buy one,” there you are effectively wrong. Were it not for a pretty strong used-truck market, many drivers right now would not be driving pickups at all–they simply cannot afford a new truck at today’s pricing. In fact, the Ford Raptor, just as an example, costs twice as much as the house my parents bought new in 1965! And you can’t even get a 30-year mortgage on a truck! You have to pay it off in 6 years or less! How many people in this country can really afford to pay $600/month OR MORE to buy a vehicle? Why do you think lending terms have had to stretch to 6 years? Back in the ’60s you couldn’t even ask for more than 3 years to pay off a car. The problem is, if someone needs a new truck to replace an older one, they have little choice but to buy a ‘stripper’ or spend up to twice as much to get one reasonably comfortable. Adding those two extra doors also jacks up the price about $5,000 over the extended cab price, which is only about $2500 over the regular cab price for what would otherwise be the same model. (Ah, but you almost can’t get a regular cab Longhorn or King Ranch or Denali, can you?)

            You may not be defending the Chicken Tax directly, but I believe you are defending the UAW. Where else can a common laborer get a $30/hour job?

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Vuline- What are your qualifications to question my logic and intellectual capacity?
            I have a Mechanical Engineering Degree and a successful 40 year career as an engineer in America’s largest automaker.

            How about you? Did your boss at the dealership train you?

            I am particularly curious as to a single quote, other than recognizing union workers as mostly good people, that supports the UAW. Apparently you have not read my many posts explaining why the UAW’s monopoly and influence on government policy were so harmful to our domestic industry.

            I am curious who you have seen with a gun held to them making them buy anything? I guess there is healthcare today, but motor vehicles?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – The ’80s mini-truck craze basically did put a gun to consumers’s heads. At well under $6,000, it was either a mini-truck or sub-compact Fiesta or Rabbit. Japanese OEMs should have been sued for Anti-Trust.

            And you act like the Chicken Tax started some time AFTER the mini-truck craze. And then slowly tightened the screws? The decline of the small-truck market is better classified as a return to normalcy. The small truck market saw an extreme but temporary surge in sales and demand. And?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: Can it, Mike. We all already know your argumentative style and how YOU and “doc” like to twist people’s words to suit your own purposes. You intentionally leave words out and purposely misconstrue peoples statements to mean things any reasonable debater would ignore.

            As you BOTH already know, I said nothing about the Chicken Tax STARTING in the ’80s; we already know that it started back in the ’60s and was aimed initially at Europe. HOWEVER, over the course of years many amendments were added to it to encompass other products and other regions. The Japanese were not directly affected by it until the early ’80s when sales of compact trucks really did start having an effect on the American pickup truck sales. For over 5 years, you saw as many compact trucks as full sized trucks until the Big Three managed to wrangle some governmental protection. As you pointed out yourself, Mike, “The small truck market saw an extreme… surge in sales and demand.” The reason it was temporary is that American trade legislation–i.e. the Chicken Tax–blocked the direct import of the competing compact trucks BECAUSE they were threatening big truck sales.

            As for your question about the UAW, “doc”, I was a member of the Boilermakers when our jobs went to Japan, where they could build powerplant boilers faster and cheaper because they didn’t have to pay the higher wages. Almost our entire nuclear generator business went to Japan. I was there. I experienced it for myself.

            That gun? If you have to threaten force, you’re doing it wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – You said the Chicken tax has essentially drove out and blocked competition in order for Big 3 OEMs to raise their truck prices, the last 30 years, and longer.

            Actually there’s been no changes to the Chicken tax since the BRAT loophole was dropped in ’89. The only prior change was when they closed the local-bed-install loophole in January of 1980. Of course that was long before the mini-truck craze hit.

            So nothing should have stopped mini-trucks from thriving in the US. I mean if there truly was a natural, big demand for small trucks, not influenced by cut-rate pricing or that there really wasn’t much else to buy, back in the early ’80s, with sporty character, great economy plus style, all in one small and easy to park, package.

            Mini-trucks were an absolute hit for a lot of reasons. Most of those reason went away though.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Give it up, DM. The more you repeat your old and oft-proven-wrong arguments, the more desperate you sound.

  • avatar

    I’d love to get that image on a t-shirt.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Don’t know if you’re kidding me or not, but I have this image on a T-shirt and have worn it to a lot of driving instruction gigs. Threadless makes it.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    You may be aware of an American Reality TV series called “Ice Road Truckers”. During the off season for two years these risk-taking drivers went once to Peru and another time to India to do some of the typical driving of those countries’ native driving. In each case they used the local trucks–each roughly similar to an Iveco flatbed with stake sides driving the mountain roads. Those trucks are little more than an American HD pickup truck in size using a relatively small 3.x 6-cylinder diesel as a power plant. They’re not fast but they hauled some remarkable loads to places an American truck would have difficulty reaching.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @Vulpine…Yes I watched all those shows. Its a reality show,and its about as far from reality as you will ever get.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Vulpine,
      They are typical of 4th World Trucks, capacity is not that good, performance ride and handling pretty ordinary road conditions from OK to frightening. but they keep chugging on.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Considering the loads I’ve seen them carrying (in completely random photography that has nothing to do with any TV programming), capacity is far greater than you want to accept.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Vulpine
          By US standards global trucks whether 4th or 1st World move massive loads.
          It maybe a US thing to have relatively low loads do not know, but the Maximum US HDT(with some exceptions) is 80,000lb Awfully light for a HDT outside the US.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Even Canada permits road trains to have more than two trailers. In fact, when I visited Canada about 10 years ago, three-trailer road trains were very common. I’ve seen video and film of Australia pulling four and more (not counting some of the ‘demonstration’ trains featuring 10 or more trailers.)

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Vulpine,
            Canada and some US States allow up to 62 tons for Logging and other purposes. In Europe they are going the same way 62 tonnes for HGV’s with multiple trailers. That is to cut down on the frightening number of HDT’s on their roads.
            A New US CEO of Paccar Australia said general trucking in Australia resembled the Canadian logging Industry, although we run much heavier loads,.
            MDT’s in Australia can also be multitrailer.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            Ryan- We are talking about simple pickup trucks that you can park in your garage and use for daily transportation. Since you have no inkling of what they are, your confusion is understandable.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            While 80K is the max for 5 axles you can go up to 105,500 in many states with enough axles, though of course some roads and bridges may be restricted to less than either of those ratings.

            It is not because the trucks can’t handle it it is due to the desire for safety.

            There are still places where triples (or three trailers) are legal in the US. OR is one and I frequently see when traveling.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Actually, Doc, the American full-sized pickup truck simply can’t fit in a garage any more. They’re too big at sometimes 19 feet long or longer and when you add 4×4 they’re sometimes too tall to fit, too.

            The typical garage in a new-built house today is only about 18 feet from closed door to sheetrock wall.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Doctor olds
            “Ryan- We are talking about simple pickup trucks that you can park in your garage and use for daily transportation. Since you have no inkling of what they are, your confusion is understandable.”

            I can understand ,you have been confused all along. No we are not talking of “simple Pickup trucks” we are talking of WORK VEHICLES that get used on Building sites/ forestry and construction. They are more than “simple pickup trucks” and no you will not see a F250/F350 anywhere.
            Maybe one being waxed to gleam in the sun for its owner. That is what they are

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            Doctor Olds. My grandfolks recently got a brand new Ford F-150.

            It doesn’t fit in their garage.

          • 0 avatar
            Johannes Dutch

            80,000 lbs ? That’s about the weight of the cargo they put on a 10×4 or 10×8 straight truck here, so you don’t even need a trailer or semi-trailer.
            On-road that is, off-road add another 20,000 lbs or so.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “80,000 lbs ? That’s about the weight of the cargo they put on a 10×4 or 10×8 straight Truck ”

            Almost a lightweight here. Maximum weight for a truck near Sydney is 67tonnes or 147,000lbs.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The standard 1 car garage is 12′ X 22′. That’s the ‘Uniform Building Code’ for North America.

          • 0 avatar
            Johannes Dutch

            @ RobertRyan: 147,000 lbs GVW for a straight truck ? I think that’s a tractor with 2 (semi) trailers. I mean a straight truck with 5 axles and a legal GVW of 50 metric tonnes on-road. (110,000 lbs)
            Google Ginaf X5450 for example.

            But Australia is “King of the Hill” when it comes to the weight of their Roadtrains.

            Anyway, 80,000 lbs GVW for an 18 wheeler is not very impressive.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Vulpine & Les- I understand that garages are getting smaller! My 4WD Sierra extended cab just fits in one stall due to the layout of my garage with a stairway to the lower level intruding on the other two.

            I am an old guy! I remember house hunting on a job transfer to the GM Tech Center in 1988. I had a 1980 Oldsmobile 88 coupe, and it wouldn’t fit into some of the garages in fairly upscale neighborhoods with enough room to walk by either end of the car! I found that amazing, considering how much shorter that car was than the pre-’77 model Oldsmobile 88 with it’s 124″ wheelbase. Cars were much bigger in the past. That car became my “yardstick” for determining whether a garage was deep enough for us!.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @RobertRyan- Yes, WE ARE talking about simple pickups, the very topic of this article.

            It is you wants to turn the topic to ultimate truck capability and something you imagine you know about as you knock our trucks by comparing them to vehicles which they are not intended to compete against.

            You introduced conflict by expressing naïve and ignorant comments about our trucks and market. I am simply expressing facts to help you learn, but your mind is unswayed by facts.

            Ronnie Schrieber explained the phenomenon best when he once reminded me that I am trying to use facts and logic to change opinions that were not created in that way.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            @Doctor Olds.

            My granfolks’ house is over 30 years old, the garage was big enough for a 1986 Oldsmobile 88 Sedan, the water heater, two top-open deep-freezers, a troy-bilt tiller and two 80-foot garden hoses when the house was new.

            The new F-150 will not fit because It’s Too Tall. It won’t fit under the door, it won’t fit under the edge above the door. The lip of the bed is over a foot higher than it was on the half-ton truck I drove to high-school back in the 90′s.

            TOO BIG!

        • 0 avatar

          It was Bolivia and those shows were amazing. In India the Tata trucks seemed pretty primitive but the Iveco’s were cool. Don’t forget that in Bolivia they were very up high and that you lose what? 10 hp every 100m? Crazy.

          That Bolivia road is a killer.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            How about the run to carry mirrors up to that observatory up on top of the mountain? Tight trails with very tight turns. Even if an American pickup could have carried the load, they wouldn’t have been able to make some of those roads.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Vulpine,
            US pickups do have a limited market outside the US. this would be for HD 3/4 and 1 Ton Diesels towing heavy Caravans. The Car/Truck aspect is ideal for this use.
            http://www.bushtrackerforum.com/forum/userpix/5_Dually_and_Van_2_2.jpg

  • avatar
    mikey

    doctorolds and I disagree on a lot of things. However, we are for sure on the same page in this debate. The rest of the world may indeed have some fine trucks. Some of them fine trucks function quite well in their part of the world.

    On our side of the pond its whole different world. Out in the oil fields,and construction sites, toy trucks, just don’t get the job done.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Mikey,
      I agree we would never use Toy trucks either, neither would be use US Fullsize or US HD Fullsize , they are all too small. Way bigger, vastly more capable and cheaper available.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        You have no idea just how incapable and toy-like your trucks really are. Sure, they can do work, but no where near as much.

        I ask again, what can you buy that offers 700-800 ft lb of torque, let alone in a vehicle more comfortable and roomy than virtually any automobile anywhere.

        Of course, I know the answer is nothing but another American truck.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Its seems to be difficult for many to comprehend how capable GM and Ford’s full size truck lineup in the US really are. The amount of labor, capital, R&D, and time that goes into these products is staggering. No one in the industry spends more time and money on any product than Ford and GM do on their full size trucks. This has resulted in excellent products that have no equals, especially the HD versions.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @doctor olds,
          “You have no idea just how incapable and toy-like your trucks really are. Sure, they can do work, but no where near as much.”

          You are referring to Utes. Trucks last time I looked can be had with 700hp and 2,650lbs ft of torque. The HD US Pickup runs as an alternative that should the other way around to these. A little 3 Litre Diesel Cab Chassis version of a Van that pulls up to a 38ft 5th Wheeler.(probably the limit of a F350) Slightly slower up hills very comfortable due to airbag and air seating, very good fuel economy.I am NOT Impressed by HD Pickups in the US, far more impressive vehicles around.

          http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/2559/mheo.jpg

          http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/5269/r7c0.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      +1

    • 0 avatar

      Mikey I agree with you more often than not, and I greatly respect your from “inside the trenches” perspective (not only that as you seemed to grasp quite well the workings of the business as a whole), but toy trucks they’re not. For whatever reason the smaller trucks might work better here than there, while the bigger trucks surely work better there than here, but toys they are not.

      • 0 avatar
        cronus

        I don’t think you understand how high the payloads are on top level US trucks. A F350 has a Gross Vehicle Weight of up to 6363kg and a max payload of 3300kg. That is literately enough payload to load a Navara or Hilux loaded to its max payload into the F350 and still not be overloaded.

        Sources:
        http://www.ford.com/trucks/superduty/specifications/payload/
        http://www.nissan.com.au/~/media/Files/Brochures/Specifications/D22-Navara-Specification.ashx
        http://www.toyota.com.au/hilux/specifications/workmate-4×4-single-cab-cab-chassis-turbo-diesel-manual

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @cronus
          A truck the size of the F350 here we are talking much larger payloads.

          The Hilux which is old school now has one of the smallest payloads for a midsizer. Plus no here stated a comparison between a Hilux and a F350.

          What about the Kia K2900 that is smaller than a Hilux with a 3 800lb load capacity?

          You see we just don’t have midsizers, we have a plethora of vehicles. A one size fits all approach like pickups isn’t great for business applications, you can buy exactly what you need.

          What does a Transit carry? It is still smaller than a F350.

          • 0 avatar
            cronus

            A F350 is still a pickup and classified as a light truck here. We also have the same types of medium and heavy trucks that you do. If you want a medium duty LCF truck like the Kia, Isuzu sells theirs here. They aren’t very popular though.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @cronus
            A light truck here can carry up to a 10 000lb payload.

            But you see they are only words, that’s why numbers are better.

            You know you guys have turned this into my tockley is bigger and better than yours.

            You also know what our Holden and Ford V8 utes guys have that problem with their tockleys.

            Must be a global problem with tockleys amongst the V8 set.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Cronus,
            ” We also have the same types of medium and heavy trucks that you do. If you want a medium duty LCF truck like the Kia, Isuzu sells theirs here. They aren’t very popular though.”
            No you do not. The sheer number is not there in the US. A LCF is not a Medium Duty here, but a very light truck or from a point of licences not a truck(under 10,000GVWR). A F350 is considered pretty useless as a work vehicle BUT makes a very useful one of these.
            http://www.bushtrackerownersforum.com/forum/userpix/130_Hols_2010_014__Copy_1.jpg

  • avatar
    manu06

    While Free Traders tell us that prices are lower because of Free Trade, the real reason is because of the cheaper dollar
    they demand . So we get more exports, lower wages, and. higher prices for imported goods. Great for capital, bad
    for labor. How come the price to access our markets has to be zero ?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Smiling as read some of the comments. Drive by a construction job site, farm/ranch, or some heavy-duty blue collar work site. Count the number of full-size American trucks. Those who use their trucks as trucks buy; well, full size American trucks. BTW did you notice they use full size American trucks on Ice Road Truckers? Product placement? Maybe.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    There seems to me to be some misunderstanding going on here in regards to US pick up trucks and the rest of the world. Let me try to clarify. The rest of the world uses actual trucks to do the work pickups do in the US. These trucks are the same size or bigger, can carry or tow the same loads and are more efficient as they have only one purpose. Pick up trucks in the rest of the world, therefore, do not need to be HUGE. Just big enough and strong enough to carry random, extra loads not needing a truck and able to endure hard work in the field.
    The one size fits all approach in the US has it’s upsides but is not very efficient and, in my mind, in need of a re-think.
    Hope that clears things up?

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Beerboy,
      Spot on Each different type of vehicle has its uses. The “One size fits all ” approach I saw in the US, is awfully inefficient and ineffectual in some cases. Like playing the US Masters with just a nine iron in your bag.
      The trucks can tow and carry vastly greater loads as well ,than a US Pickup making them fairly cheap to operate.
      Midsize Pickups have better payloads, off road ability and fuel efficiency that US 1/2 tonners and are used as work trucks primarily. Still they can be used as “SUV’s with beds” as well.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        The United States also has “actual trucks”.

        Pickups are primarily personal transportation with very high capability for pulling loads for work or play.

        Those who don’t know them really can’t understand. The SUV variants are actually quite different in ride with more bias toward personal comfort. They are still very capable for pulling loads while travelling in comfort. The US Presidential vehicle is the Chevy Suburban.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          Don’t pull the can’t understand card, not here. My point is that US full sizers are a compromise. They are not bad and in fact they are good at being just that. My goal is to highlight the difference in thinking and understanding on what uses trucks have. Basically I want you to understand how other people view priorities of a truck and how everyone else views your priority.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Beerboy- believe me, people in other areas really can’t understand how cheap and capable our trucks are, at least that comes through in their posts. They just don’t seem to comprehend how many of us really don’t care much about fuel economy because we can afford it with our incomes and fuel prices. They don’t understand that we are talking about pickups which they call Utes. A Chevy pickup gets similar mileage to a Commodore based Ute, with far more carrying and towing capability in base trim. Some of the Aussies seem to have the delusion that our trucks are not capable and need protection in spite of the obvious and clear failure of either Toyota or Nissan to crack that market segment with no chicken tax involvement. Maybe the tax restricts some trucklets that could be brought here, and I have clearly stated my opposition to it and any other restrictions of consumer choice. On the other hand, if there was a market for them, at least one of the majors would be trying to sell them. I might want one myself and found VW’s failed effort to create a sort of crossover pickup years ago kind of appealing. It was an utter flop.

            I am describing reality, not supporting any restriction on people getting to buy whatever they want, mid size truck or brown manual trans diesel station wagon, for than matter!

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Toy haulers don’t need 30,000 pounds of pulling power. The heaviest load they’re likely to pull is 10,000 and even that’s a HEAVY 5th-wheeler.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          The U.S. Presidential vehicle – aka The Beast – is a custom build “Cadillac” on a Kodiak chassis. It has zero to do with the Chevrolet Suburban.

          What you and others don’t understand is that not every American has a need for a full-size truck. I personally have no interest in driving around a F-150, Ram or Silverado as a daily driver. They’re nice, but simply too much for my needs and for the needs of many more people than you realize.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            I am well aware of the Cadillac with a heavy duty chassis that was using a big block engine before I retired in 2008. Don’t know detailed spec’s.

            I am also aware of the Black Suburbans the President more typically travels in that you also must have seen on TV over the years. That vehicle is certainly armored and may be modified in other ways, but it is clearly and obviously a Suburban.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    @RobertRyan- still waiting for that 700-800 ft-lb truck. How about 600? 500? even 400???

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Doc Olds
      Our Nissan Navara comes with a 420ftlb diesel, that’s a midsizer.

      How about a 6.2 litre HSV Maloo ute, I would think that is more than 400ftlb.

      What about the Ford FPV ute with the supercharged 5 litre Coyote in it, that has to be more than 400ftlb.

      Even my BT50 midsizer has 350ftlb.

      We have trucks the size of you HDs with over 1 000nm of torque, but they are trucks.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    My family owned company used to run about 15 F-150′s, 2 Cube vans, and two semis with lowboy trailers. Some of the F-150′s were 4WD work beasts with trailer controls. The cube vans were for hauling large/bulky things I didn’t want to get wet. The semi’s and lowboys were used to haul heavy construction equipment; steam rollers, earth movers, etc. Do you want to talk to a former fleet owner about real world usage? Or is it more fun to play silly buggers about a TV show and anecdotes from some media source? Your Iveco may get a steel I beam to the job site but it won’t do it quickly or well. But hey, what do I know? So many internet expert are smarter than a real world owner.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      So you’re telling me you hauled those I-beams in your pickup trucks.

      Stop jumping to conclusions. Not everything we look at is American television. That Iveco can probably carry more I-beams than any two of your F-150s. Sure, it may not be as fast, but they WILL get there. I’m glad to see you at least had sense enough to use a heavier truck to haul the actual construction equipment.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Yet you cite American TV to argle-barle on about how the Iveco’s just a little bit bigger than a full sized truck took curves that a full size American truck couldn’t. You contradicted yourself in your own writing. The I-beam were hauled on lowboy trailers; also the heavy equipment, nothing else would haul the weight.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I used to buy into all that “grass is greener” crap about how the US didn’t get the good trucks. So I got a Land Cruiser and realized our trucks are pretty damn good after all.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    I read all the regular posts about full-size vs medium size trucks and having lived on both sides of the pond I should know all the answers but I do not. I am bewildered. I know many Americans who LOVE their F150s and never carry anything. Aussies feel this way about their car-based utes, not their mid-size trucks.
    I once took a visiting Aussie farmer friend to visit Californian truck dealers and he could not believe his eyes, he would have bought a giant F-series or Ram in a minute but they are effectively unavailable at home. Sure you can get one for $100K+ but since the manufacturers do not make any allowance for RHD the conversion costs are prohibitive. I once tried to import an E-series Ford based RV only to discover that the engine is offset to one side and therefore the steering gear cannot be swapped to the right.
    Another issue for big pickups in Oz would be the lack of infrastructure for big stuff. We do not see “RV Parking” slots at McDonalds. We do not have the double lines between parking slots at K-Mart. Day to day life with an F-150 would be challenging.
    There may be a market for mid-size trucks in the U.S. if they were priced right but I don’t see that happening. I know I always requested a mid-size car rental when travelling in the U.S. and usually got a Camry or Impala but in Texas they always “upgraded” me to an F150. Nobody will ever convince me that these things ride or handle like a decent car and I found them ponderous and thirsty – am I alone? am I just a stupid foreigner? maybe.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No a F150 doesn’t ride or handle like a good car does, while it does much better than its predecessors. Personally I don’t understand those people who drive a full size truck as a daily driver. I’ll take a car for a daily driver and my truck sits unless I need to haul something serious.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        “Personally I don’t understand those people who drive a full size truck as a daily driver.”

        How about safety, comfort, visibility and now almost exclusively 4-door cabs?

        Away from big cities, in the 50,000 to 150,000 population cities expanded from farming/mining/manufacturing towns of old, pickups have little downside beyond fuel consumption. Most shopping is done in newer shopping centers right off the highway on the outskirts of town that were designed for big vehicles.

        The closest city to me like that is Green Bay, WI and there’s practically no business catering to the middle class more than 2 miles away from a major state or federal highway.

        Texas may beat us for trucks/big SUVs per capita, but not by much. And ours are at least 70% people haulers with empty beds. They are today’s big, safe, de facto 4-door sedans for those who can afford them.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Even 2 miles is a long ways when you have stoplights every 1/8th mile. Granted, downtown anywhere seems to be mostly dead any more, but I know people even now who would rather drive two miles out of their way to go around town than drive even a half-mile THROUGH town because of all the stops.

          Yes, the different US brands are working that engine-stop program for some trucks, but now you’ve added incredible wear to the starter motor–multiplying its wear on the order of 16x or more on nearly every trip taken just for “grocery shopping”. Cost of maintenance on these Road Whales™ WILL go up!

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Agreed. The concept of deliberately starting/stopping a high torque motor when you don’t have to like in, say, elevators is nuts. You turn normal usage into torture testing.

            But nonetheless, I think trucks/BOF SUVs are now so refined that they are the first choice for safe, comfortable people haulers among what’s left of true middle-class families.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Spike in Brisbane
      “I know many Americans who LOVE their F150s and never carry anything. Aussies feel this way about their car-based utes, not their mid-size trucks”

      Basically they are a Lifestyle appliance, like a Sports Ute. They serve that need to be seen in, not really have to do anything. Difference is the Ute does handle and have very acceptable performance and roadholding.
      As well the Dual Cab or Supercrew F150 takes the place of an SUV and Family car, probably it’s most important aspect.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Robert Ryan – Our full-size pickups do serve as the family car, work truck, sport utility, muscle car, luxury, weekend warrior… And so what? Do you own a parking lot full of vehicles, instead of one that does it all? Or are you all work and no play???

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          What, you only own one vehicle?

          Statistics show that the average American household owns a minimum of 2 vehicles and personal observation confirms that. True, a very few are one-car only–even I was until 10 years ago, but now I own two and see a near-need for three as I still need a high-economy vehicle for much of my daily driving. Then again, if Jeep comes out with a true pickup truck I can drop that back to two by trading both my JK and my F-150 on the Jeep and get an economy car for all other purposes.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Most households that own a crew cab full-size will own a cheap small car for who ever has the furthest to go, with the least passengers or loads to haul. And there’s usually 2 or 3 licensed drivers at any given time.

            But a crew cab full-size could do it all for most households, especially if their in the ‘trades’. A regular cab and 2wd Holden with a tray back has to be unbeatable for delivering small parcels, but a bit of a one-trick pony.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @BigAlfromOz- Thanks for the numbers! By way of comparison, the 5.3L V8 in a 2014 Silverado makes 383 ft-lb and 355 HP. (The base 4.3L V6 produces 305 ft-lb and 285 HP.) The 2014 Heavy Duty applications have not been released yet, but the 2013′s are available with a 6.2L Diesel V8 that produces 765 ft-lb and 397 HP. The base price on a 2013 Silverado 3500 is about $31,000. I bought a new 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 equipped for towing an open car trailer for $22,000 “out the door”.

      This is nearly twice the torque of anything you can buy, other than “big” trucks intended for commercial use only at huge cost. There is nothing like our HD pickups to pull a good sized boat or multi-car racing trailer at 80 MPH down the expressway and keep up with traffic on acceleration.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Doc Olds
        But what do you need that torque for? Your trucks I see in the US when I visit are mainly empty. Not working.

        Like I stated we have trucks with over 1 000nm of torque the same size as your HDs, but these trucks use that torque for work.

        I have nothing against someone who wants to drive a dual cab HD to the mall, but is it any better than driving a Focus to the mall?

        This logic is the logic that will modify in the near future. Does bigger equate to better in the case of 85% of US and I might add Australian pickup and ute owners.

        Look at me I drive around in a vehicle that weighs over 2 100kg and rarely use the vehicles potential.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          @BigAl- I don’t need 765 ft-lb, but I’d love it to pull my fantasy race trailer to the track! My Sierra 1500 pulls the trailer I actually do own. I am not trying to sell you or anyone a pickup or advocate for anyone who drives one to create an image. I prefer efficiency, particularly for personal transport, but love performance, too. As far as vehicle availability here, the more, the merrier!

          My words are primarily in response to comments founded on the ignorant perception that our trucks are lousy and need protection. They are actually very good and win in direct competition with the best Asian efforts. The full sizers actually now get the mileage of a Holden Commodore. If you choose a hybrid, it will match a Camry 4 cylinder in town. These are good vehicles with huge development budgets. They sell because people choose them in very large numbers. The carmakers love them because they make more on each than some cars even sell for. On the other hand, the market has shunned smaller, more efficient pickups. I sure hope the Chicken tax is rescinded so that some of these notions about our lack of competitiveness deflate.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @spike in Brisbane- From the comment you wrote it is clear, you are certainly NOT a “stupid foreigner!” Some of your country men who post here, on the other hand, possess a combination of presumptuousness and ignorance with regard to our pickups and life here in “the land of plenty” ;).

      I concur with your observation of the “ponderous” nature of a full-size pickup. Personally, I prefer driving and parking my Corvette or wife’s Buick Regal sedan. I love a Commodore/G8/SS, and also would like to inform you and others that a 2014 Silverado V8 actually returns slightly better fuel economy than did the V8 G8. (I don’t find the rating for the new SS, so I looked at the 2009 G8 for comparison.)
      On the other hand, I have a large load of mulch in my pickup bed that I’ve got to spread today, love the size and comfort of the interior and find the ride to be “OK”. The SUV relatives actually have a different rear suspension, and ride much better. They are still 5,000 lb behemoths and will never handle like a sports sedan. Most importantly, and my reason for purchase, it can pull a car trailer with ease.

      At one time, our cars were very large, too. Pickups are about the same size as they were before CAFE while cars have really shrunk to comply.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    “a whole bunch of the ol’ quantitative easing and various financial disastrous stuff have combined to take their toll on the almighty dollar and make our country, ’tis of thee, a bit of a low-cost production area.”

    Yes Jack, please enlighten us with your expert understanding of quantitative easing…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Jack – I appreciate the headline’s subtle nod to President Ford’s inaugural statement about Watergate. Very nice touch.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLyX4DbE6Hc

    Look up ‘our long national nightmare’ on YouTube.

  • avatar
    Les

    Is it so wrong to want an S-10 sized pickup truck with a sub-3-litre 4 or 5 cylinder diesel engine?

  • avatar
    JD321

    You really can’t bring Europe into this…The sidewalks in Texas are wider than the roads in Europe. Europeans build things small unlike Americans. A 3500 sf. house on 1/2 acre is almost non-existent in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Bit of an exaggeration. You do get much larger houses in Northern Europe. England has the smallest in Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        RobertRyan- The sidewalk analogy is not as far off as you imagine. Only the rich can afford houses in Northern Europe, which run well over $1,000,000 to start, btw.

        A friend in Munich just bought a two bedroom apartment for $320,000. This will buy a large luxurious home on a very large plot of land in most areas of the US, and won’t buy a starter home on a postage stamp in the Sydney area, according to my friends there.

        My Aussie friends tell me my home, which cost less than $400,000 to build in 1998, would be over $2,000,000 without my acre lot in NSW.

        And, a final factoid, a home that sells for $650,000 in suburban Sydney would be $150,000 in similar American neighborhoods.

        You should immigrate to America. We have it very good here!

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I own a 2-bedroom townhouse in Maryland. It cost me over $200,000. I have less than 1/10th an acre of land, and I have one of the larger townhome lots in the area. There are many homes in other communities nearby that have no lot at all. I’m more than 50 miles away from “big” city centers and more than 20 miles away from a “moderate” city center. The high cost of housing is now pretty much anywhere in the world unless you want to live in a shack.

          Oh, and yes, $1M-$5M homes with 1-2 acres of land exist less than 5 miles from my home.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Vulpine- No doubt, some US locations- NYC, San Francisco, Washington DC, et al, have among the highest housing costs in the world. The averages across the country are much lower than elsewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            http://www.talktotucker.com/idx/5371-lue-ann-lane-mooresville-in-46158/10252312_spid/?searchid=2120772&detoffset=47&sortby=m.Price%20DESC&src=5

            Perhaps your standards are different

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This cut and paste from the WSJ explains clearly how the Chicken Tax is affecting VW attempts at bringing the Amarok into the US. It’s quite plain.

    It really shows how the Chicken Tax must be removed to allow US citizens access to an uncontrolled vehicle market. You could have what we have.

    ———————————————————————-
    The WSJ Article,

    GENEVA – Volkswagen AG showed off a pretty sweet sports truck concept called the Amarok Canyon at the Geneva Motor Show, virtually promising a production version to be built in Hanover sometime this year.

    In Europe, the medium-sized pickup virtually doesn’t exist – the full-sized pickup actually doesn’t exist. People use vans to haul stuff around and the size of the roads and cost of fuel make selling trucks a tough proposition.

    This new pickup from V-dub is pretty cool, however, and might fill niche in Europe that is lightly contested. Volkswagen makes a smaller version in South America already. Too bad it will never see the light of day to challenge market leader Toyota Motor Corp. in the U.S. in the smaller pickup segment.

    A senior VW executive said the so-called “chicken tax” 25% levy on imported pickups kills any chance of selling it there. The volume would never approach what would be needed to justify local manufacturing.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Perhaps it will never sell in the volumes required due to that legendary reliability that ships with every VW.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAFO – The WSJ article quotes a VW senior vp mouthpiece. Do you really expect VW to admit a low profit Amarok would fail in the US and would at best, cannibalize most of their profitable lineup of VW cars?

        Do you expect Ford to admit the same about the new Ranger?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Up where I live this is what we consider a truck is. Even though they are US branded trucks, most are made in Australia. I encounter these daily. Believe it or not we are getting many Euro trucks pulling these.

    A full size 1/2 ton pickup is tiny, actually so is a HD or even a F650, but they are all nice trucks. All trucks are cool, even those fantastic Indian and Pakistani decorated trucks. Even a Kei truck.

    Here is a description of them with a link to a photo of one. The truck is empty.

    Australia has the largest and heaviest road-legal vehicles in the world, with some configurations topping out at close to 200 tonnes (440,000 lb). The majority are between 80 and 120 t (180,000 and 260,000 lb). Two-trailer road trains, or “doubles,” are allowed in most parts of Australia, with the exception of some urban areas. Three trailer road trains (triples) operate in western New South Wales, western Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with the last three states also allowing AB-Quads (3.5 trailers). Darwin is the only capital city in the world that will allow triples and quads to within 1 km (0.62 mi) of the central business district (CBD). [4] Victoria and Tasmania do not allow the operation of roadtrains on any of their roads.

    http://wallpoper.com/wallpaper/roads-roadtrain-385288

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Pickups in Australia have grossly overrated capacity and “road trains” are a perfect example of how Aussie capacity standards and US DOT/SAE standards vary greatly.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Your road trains are awesome! We use railroads to do their job here, the benefit of having 14 times the population. If we exclude Alaska, the united States still has about 14 times the population on only 5% more land! Our magnificent expressway system, likewise, is possible because of our large population.

      Our pickups are not intended to compete with big commercial trucks. They are used much as Commodore and Falcon(?) utilities in Oz, which, frankly, are toys in comparison. Now, that doesn’t make them bad, just not as capable.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Except that if you actually pay attention to some of that traffic on the freeway, Doc, you’ll see HD pickups pulling four-car trailers, 30′ high-cubes and even some relatively heavy equipment down the road–loads that used to be pulled by the big rigs. Yes, some commercial trucking for “smaller loads” is going to the pickups because they still get better gas mileage than the full-sized cab trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          I don’t think I wrote anything at odds with your observations. People freely choose and use vehicles however they want. I am not particularly a pickup truck fan, btw, but I do understand their capability.

          We do have the population and wealth to support a far better and more extensive road and railroad system than Australia can dream of supporting. It is a fact that one train can carry more than every road train in Oz combined. They’d use a railroad to but, dare I say it, they can’t afford it!

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        God bless America man!!! Reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DocOlds
        No, in Australia we aren’t as big a trailer towers as the US. So if we want to move something we use trucks. We probably have a higher ownership of trucks than the US.

        People even buy a truck and drop a horse float on the back or a car carrier for motor racing.

        Generally a person will own a truck for work and drive only when needed and drive a SUV/midsizer as a daily driver.

        Also, Australia has one of the worlds largest rail networks and our road network is the largest per capita.

        You must realise with 23 million people Australia has a massive amount of infrastructure to maintain.

        Roadtrains are used because in many cases it is cost effective, even when there are railways available. But lots of places in the interior don’t have rail access.

        Also, you federal highway system is great, almost as good as the European system.

        Where I live we don’t have a divided road, but there is only 200 000 people living in a area as large as east of the Mississippi.

        But our speeds are higher than what you drive at on your highways, the speed limit is 130kph. But I’ve sat on 150-160kph for long periods on cruise.

        Most of the time I will drive between 65mph – 85mph. Because of fuel costs and more importantly distance between gas stations. Drive fast you run out of fuel.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          @BigAl- Bear in mind, 50% of all new vehicles sold here are classified as trucks, from a CAFE perspective, and a substantial share of them, by far the best sellers, are the full-size pickups I have been writing about.

          It seems we have been comparing apples and oranges, to a large degree. We also have heavier trucks, which appears to be what you envision when we use the word “truck”.

          Fullsize pickups here fill the niche of Utes in Australia. Of course, most of the rest of our “trucks” are SUV’s, a good share pretty large, CUV’s and Minivans.

          I well appreciate the difficulties of developing infrastructure in a huge country with relatively small population. My grandparents immigrated from Canadian and I have travelled extensively there. They have had issues similar to Australia with regards to population density and the size of the country.

          I love both or your countries and don’t mean to denigrate either by anything I have written!

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Doc Olds
            That is what this article is about, 50% of the US vehicle market is protected.

            The US system of barriers and tariffs has created the ‘Galaplogos’ Effect.

            An insular environment where a certain species has evolved. For that species to exist successfully and not become extinct that ‘environment’ needs to be in place.

            That’s what the UAW and Big 3 are fighting for.

            They want their goose that lays the golden egg not to be threatened with more competitive species ie, midsize diesels, efficient diesel SUVs.

            But, slowly as the stronger species takes over the globe the US is trying to remain isolated and insular.

            This will inevitably come to an end. The way the US is managing this with the help of the UAW/Big 3 can lead to a disaster.

            An orderly process is needed to end the stupid tariffs and barrier, like Australia did, a gradual process of change to wean the UAW and manufacturers off of the subisdised lifestyle they have.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            @BAFO

            This is really the crux of the matter, isn’t it? I spent about half of my pre 40yo life overseas and have driven and lusted for all sorts of vehicles. My ideal vehicle would be a one ton pickup of the size of my old Nissan 620 or720. For this period of my life it would certainly have an extended cab but that is moot.

            I have been listening to the debate and thinking there are a lot of good points on multiple sides. The problem is that I do not have a choice. Except for safety and smog, I would like to see the government out of the game.

            There have been a number of impassioned arguments for various POVs. BAFO just made a calm and fairly unbiased assessment of the whole thing. Who knows what our market would support if given a choice. I’m holding onto my S10 but I liked my smaller trucks better. Galapagos indeed.

            Thanks for listening. Time for my nap.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Big Al, In case you missed it Toyota and Nissan have both tried hard, but failed to break the strangle hold the “big three” have on the full size pickup market. The actually lag behind their own mid-size pickup sales numbers. Plus sales of their mid-size offerings only rebounded because they are the last two players left.

            Even Honda took a halfhearted swing at it with their Ridgeline which is classified as a full size truck by most. On the face of it looks like it would do the things many full size truck buyers use theirs for.

            If Toyota can’t pull it off, after many attempts, who do you think has that ability? Nissan’s efforts have been even less well received. Honda isn’t going to ever get serious about the segment. Mazda, Mitsubishi and Isuzu gave up on the market long ago and went to re-badging a big 3 product. VW would have a very hard road to gaining anything close to a profitable market share. So who else is there?

            The chicken tax hurts the “big 3″ as much as it protects them. All three dodged it in the past with their re-badged Mazda, Isuzu and Mitsubishi pickups which were the best sellers in that segment at the time. When Chrysler was part of Mercedes they did it with the Sprinter. GM is going so far as to start production of their new Colorado in the US to avoid it despite saying that competing in the mid-size segment wasn’t worth it for a number of years. Of course they do have a lot of unused capacity so they do not have to build a new plant. And of course Ford dodges it with the Transit Connect.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @BAFO- “That is what this article is about, 50% of the US vehicle market is protected.”
            This is certainly far from the case. four door SUVs, CUVs and Minivans are not covered by the Chicken tax. In addition, CKDs can be assembled in Canada, Mexico or the United States to circumvent the tax. Of course, you probably know this already from the Wikipedia article on the topic and Mahindra.

            Total Sales of US Brand Pickups totaled 868,024 in the first half of 2013, 11.9% of our 7,272,541 total market.

            I remind you that I agree with your call for elimination of the tax!

            I also know that our trucks are not weaklings in need of protection and appeal to over 10 times the buyers that Toyota or Nissan can attract with their most aggressive efforts.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @wstarvingteacher- We have to elect politicians who will stop limiting your choice, whether by tariff, or CAFE!

            The US controls more of the global market than any country except Japan, particularly the biggest market, China.

            In fact, excluding Japan, arguably a closed market, GM outsells every other company, including Toyota, by about 2 million. US companies are neither weak, nor uncompetitive on the global stage.

            Don’t confuse the companies with one of their unions, the UAW. I doubt they want the tax and all the other restrictions on you choice either. They have good products produced elsewhere that could be brought in, as Ford is doing with the Transit Connect, and Daimler-Chrysler did with the Mercedes and Dodge Sprinter.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Make mine a VW Rockton.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/third-world-road-trip-rockton-and-roll/

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Yet I have I could point out that even during the minitruck boom in the US when we got unadulterated global small trucks they never outsold the big trucks. I have spent significant time behind the wheel of all manner of global mid sizers (HiLux, Navarra, TaTa, Mahindra, Great Wall, 70 series Land Cruiser pickups, Defender Pickups to name a few.) You guys constantly bashing the full size trucks are like the damn Panther crowd. Yes, Panthers are durable cars but you’d think they got 40MPG while pulling 10,000 pounds with 500,000 miles on the ODO to hear some tell it. Your global trucks are good…as are our full size rigs. They are tailored for unique markets and the fullsizers work here. Markets are different…hence no Kei cars in Nebraska.

    Now lets take the Amorok. Everyone seems to throw it out as a truck that could dethrone the full sizers. Here is what is likely to happen if it went on sale here…post Chicken tax fall.

    1. Price is very close or higher than comparative full size trucks.
    2. Diesel is offered as an expensive option that, when combined with the price of Diesel (it costs MORE in the US, not less) amounts to a very long return on investment.
    3. Truck has reliability on par with every other VW, further hurting sales.
    4. The small truck conspiracy crowd on TTAC decries whatever conspiracy they see that killed this truck and proclaim we are a bunch of idiotic rednecks/hillbillies/whatever and America is doomed to failure.

    Again, I am not simply defending my purchase of one of these US trucks since I own a shiny red base 2013 Frontier…which is the same as your damn Navarra and an old Panther IS a much more capable truck than some of the “global” trucks I mentioned above.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I haven’t read any comment that stated the Amarok will dethrone a full sizer.

      The Amarok could be an alternative vehicle to a full sizer in many cases since 85% of pickups aren’t used for more than hauling air. We do the same in Australia with our utes/pickups.

      The Amarok could be a more efficient full size alternative or SUV alternative.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        As long as we’re hauling around a lot of air, might as well do it right, right? Just because Americans owns small trucks, it doesn’t mean they’re using them exclusively for hard work.

        But the Amarok is more of an “alternative” to other small trucks and small cars including other VWs.

        Point is most air hauling consumers (including me) don’t want to sit in a tiny, confining cabin. What do YOU want out of life? Coach or First Class?

        If most Aussie consumers have only had small trucks, they aren’t looking for ’1st Class’ in a truck. This could be why Aussies don’t see trucks as anything more than ‘work tools’, instead of a vehicle that satisfies several needs/wants and wears many hats.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        RE: Amarok- VW can very easily circumvent the Chicken tax with minor reassembly in one of their NAFTA plant at minimal cost.

        You should try to wrap you mind around the fact that the illustrious Honda tried a similar entry with V6 Ridgeline, couldn’t even beat V8 Chevy Avalanche fuel economy let alone begin to rival its capability and comfort. Ridgeline is a complete market failure. It is not good enough to cut it.

        BTW- Those in the US who want a smaller pickup choice will get two great ones from GM in the near future. Another reason for VW to run and hide and make excuses.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          And if those GM ones enjoy any measure of success you can count on the global Ranger making it here since it was designed with this market in mind.

          And yes, the Ridgeline is an absolute joke…It isn’t even a decent toy.

  • avatar
    wmba

    What I cannot understand is why the Americans and Australians seem to want to engage in a pissing contest about pickup trucks. Hell, to hear Dr Olds go on about it, America is paradise on Earth, where everyone is rich and has at least two vehicles and couldn’t care less about fuel costs, a meme which is contradicted in every trip I’ve made to the US in the last 35 years.

    On the other hand, the Australians pay themselves huge salaries and pay ridiculous prices for Toyota pickup trucks as compensation, and seem hell-bent on criticizing Americans for buying pickup trucks and not using them for WORK duties, while claiming that the basic same pieces of tin magically carry twice the payload of the same vehicle flogged in America.

    Who cares?

    As anyone knows who has been here, Canada has both places beat hands down, and buys more pickup trucks per capita than even the Americans do. Go to goodcarbadcar.net and read the details. Since the majority of these truck sales are Detroit iron, I’d have to say the Yanks win the argument. Hell, apart from the sissy enclaves of professional folk in Calgary and Edmonton, every Albertan with a pulse and a cowboy hat drives a pickup!

    I hate the darn things myself, and rent a van as necessary. Give me a decent car everytime.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @wmba- Maybe too defensive in my choice of words, but I mean no denigration of two of our best national friends and can find an awful lot to criticize in America! Also a lot to love about Australia and Canada!

      My goals have been:
      1- defend the quality and competence of our trucks and carmakers with facts rather than opinion. This in response to other’s comments.
      2- explain the flaws in the logic behind the notion that our pickup trucks in particular are weaklings in need of protection
      3- agree that the Chicken tax should go and we should enhance consumer choice rather than limiting it.
      4- bring facts and logic to bear, see counterarguments with the goal of getting to the truth and bringing my own opinions into congruence with reality.

      I was enlightened by our Aussie friends some months ago as to my ignorance that the Chicken Tax was still in place and appreciated being corrected so I could learn. To teach and to learn are my agenda.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @wmba
      It isn’t a pissing competition.

      DocOlds is correct that Australia, Canada and the US are very close in culture and even income.

      The difference in income is marginal, it’s not that we pay ourselves too much or pay too much for a Hilux. As for the pickup truck differences, well, I do think the US should open up and allow imports, but it might kill off jobs.

      But the US has to change what it competes, rather than use protectionism. Remember we do have full size trucks here, we can compare. The US doesn’t have midsizers of any real stature, especially over the past several years when midsizer have progressed to the point of why would I want a 1/2 ton full size truck over a new midsizer.

      Back in the late 90′s I considered buying a V8 Ram here in Australia because we didn’t have any pickup that was really comparable, but I ended up with a D20 diesel, and I fell in love with the diesel engine, especially off roading and FE.

      The US economy has declined as of late and I hope it improves. This will force our currency down to realistic levels, so our wages are comparable to the US. This decline in the OECD has forced the value of our currency higher, much higher. This is why it appears we pay ourselves too much.

      If our currency was worth $1.00AUD to 70cUSD we would be quite even in costs of living and prices we pay.

      Economics can be quite involved.


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