The Truth About Cars » Trucks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:47:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Trucks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/trucks-news-blog/ IIHS: Not All Ford F-150s Are Built Just As Tough http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129193 Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit. The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap […]

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2015_Ford_F-150_Pickup_Truck

Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit.

The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap crash test, earning a Top Safety Pick rating. The re-tested SuperCab registers only a “marginal” rating in the same crash.

The difference, according to Automotive News, are tubular frames called “wheel blockers” installed on the SuperCrew, but missing from the SuperCab and Regular Cab models.

David Zuby, who is the chief research officer for the IIHS, said that the crash ratings between different cab versions could give buyers the wrong impression.

“(It) shortchanges buyers who might pick the extended cab thinking it offers the same protection in this type of crash as the crew cab,” Zuby told Automotive News.

A Ford spokesman said the company would look into adding additional safety measures into the Regular Cab and SuperCab versions of the F-150 for 2016.

The wheel blockers present on the SuperCrew, but missing on the SuperCab and Regular Cab, significantly varied the trucks’ performances on the small overlap crash test. In the follow-up test conducted on the SuperCab, the “intruding structure seriously compromised the driver’s survival space,” the IIHS told Automotive News.

The notoriously difficult small overlap test has been particularly difficult for automakers to solve. It’s unclear why Ford put the wheel blockers on the SuperCrew, but not the SuperCab and Regular Cab. Zuby offered a possible solution.

“I think automakers are trying to design the vehicles to offer the best protection for their customers,” he told Automotive News. “But occasionally, we do see evidence that maybe they are trying to get a good rating in a test, maybe without looking for a completely holistic solution.”

The IIHS tests only high-volume models. Historically the SuperCab and Regular Cab models only comprised 25 and 5 percent of sales respectively.

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Hyundai May Actually Make The Tucson-based Santa Cruz, But… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-actually-make-santa-fe-based-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-actually-make-santa-fe-based-truck/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1128001 Hyundai America chief Dave Zuchowski told Car and Driver that he expects the Santa Cruz Concept, seen here, to be given the go-ahead from Korean bosses this year. That means the Subaru Brat-inspired pickup, based on the Hyundai Tucson, could go on sale sometime soon, for which you can pay actual money for a real one of these (maybe […]

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Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Hyundai America chief Dave Zuchowski told Car and Driver that he expects the Santa Cruz Concept, seen here, to be given the go-ahead from Korean bosses this year.

That means the Subaru Brat-inspired pickup, based on the Hyundai Tucson, could go on sale sometime soon, for which you can pay actual money for a real one of these (maybe with a diesel!) compact pickups. However, the pickup’s viability hinges on a couple key points.

The concept, which was unveiled in Detroit last year, was received very well by most accounts. But that may not be what spurs Hyundai into making it. The recent crossover and pickup boom leaves Hyundai’s sedan-focused fleet a little high and dry, C&D correctly points out. Variants based on their few crossovers could come fast and furious from the Korean automaker.

However, the challenges with bringing the Santa Cruz are its form factor and what sits underneath its stylish skin.

For starters, the pickup is … well, a pickup. To get around the dreaded Chicken Tax, Hyundai will have to build the Santa Cruz within the NAFTA zone or face a 25-percent tariff upon importation to the United States.

The next problem compounds the first: The Tucson, on which the Santa Cruz is based, is only built outside the NAFTA zone. Currently, the only vehicles Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama builds are the Elantra and Sonata. Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia builds the only American-assembled Hyundai, the Santa Fe.

Looking south of the border might be the solution. Kia is set to open a new facility in Mexico in 2016 that’s tipped to assemble sub-compact and compact cars, as well as crossovers.

If the concept does get the greenlight from decision makers in South Korea, it’s unclear what from the concept will make it to the production model. The yellow Brembo brakes and side-view mirror accents may get left on the floor, but its diesel engine could survive. The engine in the concept was a 2-liter, turbocharged oil burner that made 190 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. It could be a smaller-displacement version lifted from a Santa Fe — or complete fantasy.

In Detroit, Hyundai hinted that it could get a gas-powered option, but didn’t specify if that would be the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine or the company’s 2-liter turbo.

Apparently we won’t have to wait long to find out with a decision expected in November. But how many can they realistically sell?

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

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Super Duty Buoys Flagging F-150 Sales for Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/buoyed-heavy-duty-ford-still-leading-pickup-sales-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/buoyed-heavy-duty-ford-still-leading-pickup-sales-us/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 18:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123137 The Chevrolet Silverado has outsold the Ford F-150 so far this year, but sales of Ford’s Super Duty trucks have boosted the company’s truck business past its competition, PickupTrucks.com is reporting. All three truck makers are selling more pickups than they were a year ago, but flagging F-150 sales and depleted inventory could be keeping Ford’s […]

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2015 Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado has outsold the Ford F-150 so far this year, but sales of Ford’s Super Duty trucks have boosted the company’s truck business past its competition, PickupTrucks.com is reporting.

All three truck makers are selling more pickups than they were a year ago, but flagging F-150 sales and depleted inventory could be keeping Ford’s perennial half-ton leader back.

The website, which used data from Cars.com to determine sales by segment, said that Ford’s Super Duty trucks led Ram and General Motor’s heavy-duty offerings by a large margin. Roughly 120,000 three-quarter and full-ton Ford pickups have been purchased this year, compared to around 80,000 and 75,000 heavy-duty trucks for Ram and General Motors, respectively.

Earlier this month, Ford offered a series of incentives totaling $11,000 on its F-150 in specific areas for specific models. A spokesman for Ford said that dealer stocks of the full-size F-150 pickups were unusually low, and that normal inventories would be restored by the end of September.

According to our own Timothy Cain, truck sales represent around 14 percent of overall vehicle sales in the United States, up one percentage point from last year. And the average price paid for a truck is $42,429 so far this year.

So who’s ready for a $100,000 pickup?

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Ford Putting Nearly $11,000 on Hoods of Some F-150s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-putting-nearly-11000-hoods-f-150s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-putting-nearly-11000-hoods-f-150s/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 17:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117793 Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting. Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory […]

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Ford F-150 grey, side

Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting.

Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory has been available since June, which as hampered sales. The automaker says dealer stocks will be full by the end of September.

The company’s website offers nearly $11,000 off of 2015 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew with Chrome or Sport packages in some parts of the country.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.09.07 AMWe found this offer available in the middle of Michigan, near Clare, on Ford’s website. Other parts of the country may receive up to $7,050 off similar models.

“The truck hasn’t sold up to expectations for the most part,” Akshay Anand, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told Automotive News. “This may be a hint that in certain parts of the country, the issue might just be more than supply.”

Truck sales have been up for the first half of this year, but the F-150’s sales pace has been modest. F-Series volumes have dipped in each of the last five months, and second-quarter sales have dropped 6.5 percent.

 

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General Motors Reveals Updates to 2016 GMC Sierra [Video] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-reveals-updates-2016-gmc-sierra-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-reveals-updates-2016-gmc-sierra-video/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 18:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116569 General Motors is revealing its updates to the 2016 GMC Sierra lineup days after Chevrolet revealed its new face for the 2016 Silverado. In a video posted to its YouTube channel (via Automotive News), GMC trotted out the new front fascias, bumpers and C-shaped LED daytime running lamps for the full-size pickup. The video shows three trims of […]

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2016 GMC Sierra 1500

General Motors is revealing its updates to the 2016 GMC Sierra lineup days after Chevrolet revealed its new face for the 2016 Silverado.

In a video posted to its YouTube channel (via Automotive News), GMC trotted out the new front fascias, bumpers and C-shaped LED daytime running lamps for the full-size pickup.

The video shows three trims of the GMC Sierra 1500, including Denali (pictured below), SLT and All-Terrain, all with unique front ends and in varying levels of chrome-iness.

In addition to the bumpers, daytime lights and front fascia, the new Sierra will have C-shaped LED taillights.

2016 GMC Sierra Denali

GMC said more details about the truck would be released in “coming months.”

On Monday, Chevrolet announced the Silverado would be sporting a body-colored grille and two strips of LED lights on higher trim levels.

Here’s the video:

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Ram On Rampage Registering Patent for Built-in Bed Ramps http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ram-files-patents-built-ramps/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ram-files-patents-built-ramps/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 18:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115241 Today’s most alliterative award may go to truck maker Ram registering rear ramps recently. The folks at Allpar detail the filing, which was reportedly made by engineers at Ram. The patent was awarded June 30 and details a system for bed-mounted sliding ramps. The system, which could be called Ram Ramps, could complement other monosyllabic options such […]

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Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 9.03.57 AM

Today’s most alliterative award may go to truck maker Ram registering rear ramps recently.

The folks at Allpar detail the filing, which was reportedly made by engineers at Ram. The patent was awarded June 30 and details a system for bed-mounted sliding ramps.

The system, which could be called Ram Ramps, could complement other monosyllabic options such as Ram Box and Ram Dams (our suggestion for their active grille shutters).

The adjustable loading ramp system is detailed extensively in the filing and includes a locking mechanism while the ramps are not being used in the bed.

The longitudinally stored ramps would be laterally adjustable and stored in recesses in the bed.

This isn’t the first patent we’ve seen where Ram has tried to improve the utilitarian pickup bed. In addition to the now-production RamBox, the company has also patented a split-tailgate system which has not yet come to fruition.

Both General Motors and Ford offer various devices to load or unload their beds, including the F-150’s ladder and bumper-mounted steps on the Silverado.

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Chart Of The Day: 2015’s First-Half U.S. Pickup Truck Sales Wars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-2015s-first-half-u-s-pickup-truck-sales-wars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-2015s-first-half-u-s-pickup-truck-sales-wars/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107129   U.S. sales of pickup trucks increased 10% through the first six months of 2015, a gain of more than 107,000 units over the span of 2015’s first-half. Ford’s F-Series continues to be the category’s top seller, but F-Series volume has decreased in each of the last five months. Second-quarter sales slid 6.5%. As Ford […]

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TTAC USA truck sales June 2015 YTDU.S. sales of pickup trucks increased 10% through the first six months of 2015, a gain of more than 107,000 units over the span of 2015’s first-half.

Ford’s F-Series continues to be the category’s top seller, but F-Series volume has decreased in each of the last five months. Second-quarter sales slid 6.5%. As Ford properly equips its dealers with truck inventory and as the automaker figures out precisely how to price the new range of F-150s, we can expect to see F-Series numbers stabilize.

In the meantime, GM’s full-size twins have taken full advantage of the F-Series’ slide.

Year-to-date, the Chevrolet Silverado, America’s second-best-selling vehicle, and GMC Sierra, America’s fourth-ranked truck, have outsold the F-Series by 19,492 units, lashing the Ford by 14,995 units in June alone. Their market share in the full-size segment has increased to 37.2% in the first-half of 2015 from 34.5% at this time a year ago.

silverado

GM trucks have also powered the midsize category to a 52% year-over-year improvement so far this year, helped along by an 18% improvement from the class-leading Toyota Tacoma. Midsize trucks still own a small portion of the overall pickup category: just 15.%. That’s up from 11% at this stage one year ago.

Overall, pickups formed 14% of the U.S. auto industry’s volume in the first-half of 2015, up nearly one percentage point compared with last year.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Volkswagen Expects ‘Limited Growth’ In US Through 2017, Supplier Arrives In Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-expects-limited-growth-in-us-through-2017-supplier-arrives-in-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-expects-limited-growth-in-us-through-2017-supplier-arrives-in-tennessee/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 18:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097377 Volkswagen USA CEO Michael Horn says the automaker expects “limited growth” until its new SUVs arrive, while one of its suppliers sets up shop in Tennessee. Though parent company Volkswagen AG had once hoped for 800,000 units sold by 2018 in the United States, Horn downplayed the target’s importance, Reuters reports: [The 2018 sales target] […]

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Volkswagen Crossblue Concept Parked In Front Of VW Chattanooga Tennessee Plant

Volkswagen USA CEO Michael Horn says the automaker expects “limited growth” until its new SUVs arrive, while one of its suppliers sets up shop in Tennessee.

Though parent company Volkswagen AG had once hoped for 800,000 units sold by 2018 in the United States, Horn downplayed the target’s importance, Reuters reports:

[The 2018 sales target] is still a relevant objective… but, on the other hand, if you just focus on one year and one number you would do crazy things, so the most important thing is to have a long-term strategy.

For now, Horn states VW will need to defend its position from now through 2017, when the redesigned Tiguan and the Chattanooga, Tenn.-built midsize SUV both hit the showroom floor. Other products, including a $20,000 compact SUV and a large pickup due in 2020 at the earliest, would soon follow.

As for the 2018 target, sales fell from 440,000 in 2012, to 367,000 last year, and have fallen 4 percent since; VW’s U.S. sales peak came in 1970 with 570,000 units. LMC Automotive says the new models in 2017 will help, but would only push sales to a projected 495,000 in 2018.

Meanwhile, Spanish automotive supplier Gestamp is setting up shop near the Chattanooga facility, where it and Volkswagen will unveil a new pressing plant Tuesday. The plant would create 500 jobs, and has been described by the automaker as a “major economic development.”

(Photo credit: Volkswagen)

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May 2015 Was GM’s Best Month Since 2008, Pickup Trucks Just As Important Now As Then http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/may-2015-gms-best-month-since-2008-pickup-trucks-just-important-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/may-2015-gms-best-month-since-2008-pickup-trucks-just-important-now/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092041 General Motors increased their share of America’s full-size pickup truck market from 35.5% in May 2014 to 38.1% in May 2015. Grabbing hold of an opportunity presented by Ford’s F-150 supply constraints and consequent 10% overall F-Series decline, U.S. sales of the Chevrolet Silverado jumped 11%; GMC Sierra sales increased 4%. The full-size pickup truck […]

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2015 Chevrolet Silverado

General Motors increased their share of America’s full-size pickup truck market from 35.5% in May 2014 to 38.1% in May 2015.

Grabbing hold of an opportunity presented by Ford’s F-150 supply constraints and consequent 10% overall F-Series decline, U.S. sales of the Chevrolet Silverado jumped 11%; GMC Sierra sales increased 4%. The full-size pickup truck market was up just 1.1%, year-over-year.

With such strong Silverado sales and modest Sierra improvement, May 2015 became the eighth month out of the last ten – and the third month this year – in which GM’s full-size trucks combined to outsell the Ford F-Series. Year-to-date, they lead the Ford by 4,497 units.

2015 GMC Sierra

Growth from the company’s pickup trucks was essential last month as large sections of GM’s lineup faced sharply declining sales. The whole car division slid 13%, a loss of more than 14,000 sales. GM’s six full-size, truck-based SUVs plunged 19% compared with May 2014, a decrease of 4,609 sales. By way of the fleet-only Chevrolet Captiva Sport’s disappearance, GM lost 6,202 sales, year-over-year. GM’s three commercial vans combined for a severe 33% decline, equal to 4,544 fewer sales from the Express, Savana, and City Express.

Yet GM’s total volume increased 3% and the automaker’s market share grew marginally from 17.7% in May 2014 to 17.9% in May 2015. Not since August 2008 has GM’s monthly U.S. volume been this high.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

But there are a number of significant differences between August of seven years ago and May of this year. In the former, you were trying to learn the words to Paper Planes, and just before August 2008 sales figures were released, society as a whole was learning who Sarah Palin is. And 15% of GM’s 307,285 U.S. sales were produced by dead brands: Pontiac, Saturn, and Saab.

Rather than learning song lyrics in May 2015, you were trying to figure out what a subcompact crossover really is and trying to figure out how to say farewell to David Letterman.

Yet some other factors haven’t been so severely altered. In August 2008, GM sold 85,953 pickup trucks, 28% of the company’s total volume. GM pickup truck sales in May 2015 totalled 82,361 units, or – you guessed it – 28% of the company’s total volume. (As an aside, GM owned 24.6% of the U.S. auto market in August 2008.)

2015 GMC Canyon

Of course, full-size pickups aren’t the only products deserving of credit for propping up General Motors in May. Indeed, midsize pickup trucks did their fair share, too.

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, launched last fall, were nonexistent at this time a year ago but added 11,782 sales to the GM tally in May 2015. For this second-generation Colorado, it was the best month yet and a continuation of a consistent upward trend. For its Canyon twin, May was similarly the best month yet; 15% better than the previous peak in February.

The midsize truck twins and full-size truck twins therefore added 17,387 more sales to GM’s bottom line in May 2015, a month in which the automaker’s other products combined for an 8,534-unit, 3.9% loss.

Other models contributing to GM’s growth in May 2015, modestly or meaningfully, include the Buick Enclave, Buick Encore, Cadillac ELR, Cadillac Escalade ESV, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet City Express, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Traverse, Chevrolet Trax, GMC Acadia, and GMC Terrain.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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General Motors Returning To Medium-Duty Truck Market Via Isuzu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-returning-to-medium-duty-truck-market-via-isuzu/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-returning-to-medium-duty-truck-market-via-isuzu/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092625 General Motors exited the medium-duty commercial truck market when it left bankruptcy in 2009. Now, the automaker plans to return with the help of Isuzu. Unlike the Kodiak of past, GM plans to slap the Chevrolet bow tie on the nose of Isuzu’s medium-duty range, Reuters reports. Few details on the plan are known as […]

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Chevrolet Kodiak

General Motors exited the medium-duty commercial truck market when it left bankruptcy in 2009. Now, the automaker plans to return with the help of Isuzu.

Unlike the Kodiak of past, GM plans to slap the Chevrolet bow tie on the nose of Isuzu’s medium-duty range, Reuters reports. Few details on the plan are known as of this writing, but what is known is the automaker will import 80 percent of Isuzu’s trucks from Japan, assembling the rest in the United States via an Isuzu partner facility. The Japanese-made trucks will come with diesel power, while the American-made variants will be fitted with gasoline engines.

The import deal is the latest development in the renewed partnership between GM and Isuzu, following a September 2014 announcement the duo would jointly develop a mid-size pickup for markets outside of North America. Their previous 35-year-long capital alliance came to an end in 2006 amid financial troubles for the Detroit automaker.

The deal is also a new development for GM itself, which discontinued the Kodiak and GMC Topkick after negotiations to sell the medium-duty division to Isuzu and Navistar collapsed in 2009. As early as 2010, the automaker has looked for ways to return to the vacated market, either in Class 5/6 or 4/5.

[Photo credit: Frank Deandro/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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US New-Car Fuel Economy Average Climbs To 25.5 MPG In May 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-new-car-fuel-economy-average-climbs-to-25-5-mpg-in-may-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-new-car-fuel-economy-average-climbs-to-25-5-mpg-in-may-2015/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 18:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084409 Things are looking up for U.S. new-car fuel economy, as the average climbed 0.3 mpg in May to 25.5 mpg. The new average is also 5.4 mpg better than the 20.1 mpg first averaged in October 2007 when the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute began measuring U.S. new-car fuel economy, Edmunds reports. Factors for […]

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EDI_mpg_May-2015

Things are looking up for U.S. new-car fuel economy, as the average climbed 0.3 mpg in May to 25.5 mpg.

The new average is also 5.4 mpg better than the 20.1 mpg first averaged in October 2007 when the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute began measuring U.S. new-car fuel economy, Edmunds reports.

Factors for the increase include rising fuel prices and increased sales of more fuel-efficient models like the Chrysler 200 and Honda HR-V. The average price for a gallon of regular per AAA stands at $2.75, though the average is lower than the $3.66 paid at the pump at this time last year. However, the group says the cost of fuel may have peaked by now, and is expected to fall through the rest of the summer thanks to stabilized oil prices and refineries finishing their seasonal maintenance routines.

Meanwhile, sales of trucks and SUVs are still going strong thanks to lower prices at the pump, and will likely continue as those prices fall back down from their current peak. Said sales have knocked down the U.S. new-car average by as much as 0.8 mpg since August 2014, when the average hit an all-time high of 25.8 mpg.

[Image credit: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute]

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Honda Continues Shift Toward SUVs, Crossovers With 2016 Pilot Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 20:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072322 With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars. According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and […]

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2016 Honda Pilot Elite

With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars.

According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and light-duty truck markets, The Detroit Bureau reports.

The increase is being aided by Honda’s Lincoln, Ala. factory, where the Pilot, Odyssey and Acura MDX are assembled. The facility is expected to produce 120,000 Pilots annually once production is at full bore, and will begin production of the second-gen Ridgeline in the near future. Mendel says the factory has “some upside potential” as more new product and capacity comes online.

In addition, Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico is helping the automaker enter the U.S. subcompact crossover market with the introduction of the HR-V, whose competitors include the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax.

Mendel says Honda is looking for more opportunities to expand, though the search for so-called “white space” may diminish over time, prompting the automaker to seek better fortunes over “an incremental 5,000 units of sales.”

[Photo credit: Honda]

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Hyundai Santa Cruz, Subcompact Crossover Close To Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-santa-cruz-subcompact-crossover-close-to-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-santa-cruz-subcompact-crossover-close-to-production/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 21:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071762 Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? The trucklet may soon be coming to a showroom near you. Hyundai Motor North America CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Santa Cruz has a high probability of being approved by the parent company in South Korea, The Detroit Bureau reports, and would be accompanied […]

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Hyundai_Santa_Cruz_Crossover_Truck_Concept

Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? The trucklet may soon be coming to a showroom near you.

Hyundai Motor North America CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Santa Cruz has a high probability of being approved by the parent company in South Korea, The Detroit Bureau reports, and would be accompanied by a subcompact crossover set to battle the likes of the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax.

The trucklet takes a different approach compared to other midsize competitors, such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, focusing more on young city dwellers with active lifestyles who seek a vehicle with a place to stow their gear without dirtying the interior.

As for the proposed subcompact crossover, Zuchowski says Hyundai wants “a piece” of the growing segment, going as far as to decline bringing over an offering from China due to its conservative styling. The North American model will have its own platform, and have more striking styling, he adds.

An announcement is due within the next two to three months after Hyundai finishes studying capacity needs for the two models, with the United States likely to receive a boost over Mexico.

[Photo credit: Hyundai]

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Study: 2025 54.5 MPG CAFE Target Within Reach http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-2025-54-5-mpg-cafe-target-within-reach/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-2025-54-5-mpg-cafe-target-within-reach/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 19:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071722 Per a new study by the Consumer Federation of America, U.S. average new-car fuel efficiency is well on its way to hitting the 54.5-mpg target set for 2025. The study looked over 1,163 new models, finding those rated at 23 mpg and above by the EPA gained a couple of percentage points between 2014 and […]

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White House 2025 54.5 MPG Graphic

Per a new study by the Consumer Federation of America, U.S. average new-car fuel efficiency is well on its way to hitting the 54.5-mpg target set for 2025.

The study looked over 1,163 new models, finding those rated at 23 mpg and above by the EPA gained a couple of percentage points between 2014 and 2015, rising from 50.5 percent to 52 percent of overall new-car sales, Edmunds reports. Meanwhile, those averaging 16 mpg and below declined from 8.5 percent of sales last year, to 6.1 percent this year.

Taking the 2015 podium for complying with the fuel economy standards among their fleets, Honda held onto its gold with 57 percent over 2014’s 51 percent, while Volvo jumped from having no models in compliance to 29 percent. Mercedes took home the bronze by increasing fleet compliance to 18 percent of its models, compared to 12 percent last year.

On the other end, the CFA found a few automakers lost their footing in compliance, with Kia and Subaru making the biggest drops (18 percent and 48 percent respectively in 2015, 40 percent and 75 percent in 2014), and General Motors falling eight percentage points to 19 percent.

The group notes this is due to a boom in new truck and SUV sales, which made up half of all new-vehicle sales for the 2015 model year. Overall compliance remained stable (53 percent this year compared to 58 percent last year), while compliance rates among trucks and SUVs fell from 80 percent to 35 percent.

Despite the few stumbling blocks, CFA’s automotive expert, Jack Gillis, says the industry can achieve the 2025 CAFE target, a standards representing “a historic consensus that brought together automakers, labor unions, consumer organizations and environmental groups to benefit our national and economic security, the environment and consumers through reduced fuel consumption and more vehicle choices.”

[Image credit: WhiteHouse.gov]

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Von Kuenheim: BMW Will Never Market A Pickup Truck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/von-kuenheim-bmw-will-never-market-a-pickup-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/von-kuenheim-bmw-will-never-market-a-pickup-truck/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 20:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066962 BMW owners looking to add a Bavarian-badged pickup will need to look elsewhere, as the automaker has no intention to market such a vehicle. The declaration comes from BMW Group Asia, Pacific and South Africa senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim, Motoring.com.au reports. Von Kuenheim spelled out why utes and trucks will never have a […]

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BMW 2002 Truckamino Circa March 2009

BMW owners looking to add a Bavarian-badged pickup will need to look elsewhere, as the automaker has no intention to market such a vehicle.

The declaration comes from BMW Group Asia, Pacific and South Africa senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim, Motoring.com.au reports. Von Kuenheim spelled out why utes and trucks will never have a place in his company’s collection:

There is huge potential in pick-ups. In North America you look at the Ford F-150 pick-up it is the best-selling car.

You can do it but then you cannot be BMW. You have to be a different company, but this company is not ready to change from the ultimate driving machine and the ultimate successful company in luxury to a mass manufacturer who goes after the volume of pick-up trucks.

He did acknowledge BMW’s ongoing presence in the crossover/SUV market, as well as the introduction of front-wheel drive and three-cylinder engines to the brand, yet reiterated the fact those moves were accomplished by remaining true to its core values “of joy, dynamics and innovation.”

The proclamation follows an announcement in March by Mercedes of its intent to build a 1-ton pickup based upon the Nissan Navara, set to hit most showrooms around the globe by early 2019 as the GLT-Class.

[Photo credit: Drew Stephens/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Freightliner Inspiration First Commercial Truck To Receive Nevada Autonomous Vehicle Plate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/freightliner-inspiration-first-commercial-truck-receive-nevada-autonomous-vehicle-plate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/freightliner-inspiration-first-commercial-truck-receive-nevada-autonomous-vehicle-plate/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 16:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062810 Unveiled atop Hoover Dam in Nevada last night, the Freightliner Inspiration is the first commercial truck to receive the state’s autonomous vehicle license plate. The semi-autonomous Inspiration, a result of Daimler AG’s Highway Pilot technology program, is meant to help reduce stress and fatigue on the highway by taking over driving duties when needed, The […]

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World Premiere Freightliner Inspiration Truck

Unveiled atop Hoover Dam in Nevada last night, the Freightliner Inspiration is the first commercial truck to receive the state’s autonomous vehicle license plate.

The semi-autonomous Inspiration, a result of Daimler AG’s Highway Pilot technology program, is meant to help reduce stress and fatigue on the highway by taking over driving duties when needed, The Verge reports. Per the company, 90 percent of accidents involving commercial trucks are due to driver error, with one out of eight of those accidents the result of driver fatigue.

As far as autonomy goes, the Inspiration is ranked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a Level 3 autonomous vehicle – the same level as Google’s own autonomous cars – allowing the driver to let the truck take the wheel in certain conditions so they can rest while maintaining their schedule. It also only needs the white lines painted on the road to keep it in check, though other features like vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology would bring more to the table, Daimler’s truck chief Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard noted during the truck’s introduction.

Though Nevada’s roads may see an Inspiration now and again, the truck won’t have much traction in the market until federal regulation clears the way for testing in various conditions – rain, sleet, snow, cold, sun et al – ultimately leading toward sales and an increased presence in many an over-the-road fleet.

[Photo credit: Freightliner]

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SPIED: 2016 Toyota HiLux, Inside and Out http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/spied-2016-toyota-hilux-inside/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/spied-2016-toyota-hilux-inside/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 11:25:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056082 After releasing an all-new Tacoma to take on the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier in North America, the Toyota HiLux is being readied for other parts of the world and it seems engineers haven’t been able to keep this one a secret. Admittedly, these aren’t the first spy shots we’ve seen of the new HiLux in […]

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2016 Toyota Hilux Three-Quarter

After releasing an all-new Tacoma to take on the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier in North America, the Toyota HiLux is being readied for other parts of the world and it seems engineers haven’t been able to keep this one a secret.

Admittedly, these aren’t the first spy shots we’ve seen of the new HiLux in the metal, but they’re certainly the clearest.

2016 Toyota Hilux Three-Quarter

The front fascia of the HiLux gets a thorough makeover, ditching the mid-grille bump for a cleaner appearance. The middle grille slats flow right into the LED headlights for a cohesive design. Further down, a trapezoidal grille gives the HiLux a little corporate DNA to tie it together with other Toyota products.

2016 Toyota Hilux Front/Rear

The rear design seems to be fairly basic, excluding the chrome handle. Taillights look like they could be cribbed directly from the last-generation Tacoma.

2016 Toyota Hilux Interior Dash

However, the interior looks as modern as any, presenting the driver with a fully-featured radio and well-placed climate controls just below.

Four engines are expected to power the new Euro-Taco, ranging from 2.4- and 2.8-liter turbodiesels and a 2.7-liter naturally-aspirated gasoline engine. Other engines will likely come to the fore in due course.

[Editor’s Note: We have seen these images from multiple sources. If you know to who they can be properly attributed, please let us know.]

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General Motors Doing Well In Midsize Truck Segment, Success May Not Last http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-well-midsize-truck-segment-success-may-not-last/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-well-midsize-truck-segment-success-may-not-last/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052369 General Motors’ return to the midsize truck segment has done wonders for the automaker and the market, but skeptics aren’t sure how long that will last. Ever since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins left for the showroom last fall, the segment has grown to over 2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market […]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado front side 2

General Motors’ return to the midsize truck segment has done wonders for the automaker and the market, but skeptics aren’t sure how long that will last.

Ever since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins left for the showroom last fall, the segment has grown to over 2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market from 1.4 percent last summer, Reuters reports. Industry execs add that as many as 500,000 midsize pickups could be sold this year, double what was sold in 2014.

However, IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby found that 9 out of 10 Colorado and Canyon owners traded in other GM cars and trucks for the smaller pickups, with over 16 percent coming from ownership of Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras alone. Libby warns this could be a sign of undercutting of sales of models with higher margins.

GM execs and dealers, on the other hand, are happy with the midsize twins. GM President Dan Ammann called the duo a “very good investment,” while GMC’s director of marketing, Rich Latek, says the midsize segment as a whole is “a sleeper segment with huge opportunity.” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson adds the Colorado and Canyon happen to have been the right trucks to come at the right time to give the segment a shot in the arm.

The party may not last for the duo, though. LMC Automotive notes that the segment would hold at 2 percent for this year, then slip back down by 2020. Meanwhile, the twins would fizzle out from projected sales of 74,000 for the Colorado and 29,500 for the Canyon this year, falling 8.4 percent and 21 percent over the next five years.

[Photo credit: Blake Z. Rong/The Truth About Cars]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado: Reviewed! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-chevrolet-colorado-reviewed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-chevrolet-colorado-reviewed/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033177 The Chevrolet Colorado is a good little truck, certainly sturdy enough, leading me to believe that it is a capable enabler of various human endeavors that involve catapulting, hurtling, or generally straining one’s body across hill, dale, snow-capped extremity and Ace Hardware parking lot alike. But its obvious novelty—one that so enraptured a certain publication’s staff […]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado front side 1

The Chevrolet Colorado is a good little truck, certainly sturdy enough, leading me to believe that it is a capable enabler of various human endeavors that involve catapulting, hurtling, or generally straining one’s body across hill, dale, snow-capped extremity and Ace Hardware parking lot alike.

But its obvious novelty—one that so enraptured a certain publication’s staff to bestow it a pair of calipers that will hardly strain the Colorado’s 1500lb-plus payload—lies in its rejection of the idea that every pickup truck must be the approximate size of a Normandy landing craft.

That’s right—our cars are creeping ever so bigger, ever so clumsier, and if all cars must expand then trucks must do so exponentially, until comes the day when a Silverado rear-ends a Ram, causing Santa Monica to fall into the ocean. But we can do good to admit, even against American exceptionalism, that not every man, woman, and child needs a full-sized truck. (Are those black helicopters I’m hearing?) Until the day that we stop believing in the weirdness of the front-drive mini-truck, a Southern Hemisphere vestige as bizarre as cuy chactao and the Plymouth Scamp, this conveyance in Red Rock Metallic is exactly what some of us deserve: a vehicle that can’t haul as much, can’t tow as much, can’t be ordered with High Country leather the color and texture of your grandfather’s elbows—but something so refreshing that it snaps us awake from thinking that every new pickup needs to be bigger, squarer, more chrome-laden, more ready for ramming than the last hulking beast it replaces.

And yet, the Colorado still manages to dwarf a jellybean F-150 from the Clinton administration—that tenth-generation F-150, has a 10-inch shorter wheelbase and length in its smallest configuration than even the shortest Colorado. Think about that.

Long truck is long.

Long truck is long.

Meanwhile the Colorado seems to defy spatial logic. It looks enormously long but feels small; it feels narrow but it’s hamstring stretching tall; it’s long and narrow and tall but it drives with surprising nimbleness. Yes, even this four-doored long-box. (Remember when such trucks only belonged to railroad companies?) Those coming out of a full-sized Silverado will find little culture shock within its cabin, which is scaled down, sure, narrower now, but never snug and never cramped.

I didn’t get a chance to take the Colorado off-road, or to Colorado, or even to the nearest Canyon. Instead, I drove it around Los Angeles, committing occasional errands, then a sprint up the 101 Highway to a stupendously lavish hotel where the valets asked excitedly not about what I would be driving but about what I was.

The 3.6-liter V6 is a stout little engine, usually relaxed—but ask it firmly and it’ll muster up 305 horsepower with enthusiasm and a nice noise. The six-speed automatic transmission takes some time and a lot of throttle to react, but when on the move it’s plenty smooth. Brakes are very controllable and very powerful, and the accurate and evenly weighted steering isn’t just pretty good, for a truck—it’s pretty good, period. Body motions are nicely reduced to the occasional rumble and jostling, reinforcing the feeling that it’s Like A Bob Seger Song.

Plenty of USB ports! Switchgear feels reassuringly imbued with quality.

Plenty of USB ports! Switchgear feels reassuringly imbued with quality.

Inside, it’s a quiet place to be. Nice and roomy. MyLink dominates the center console, same as in your Impala, y’know—all square buttons and sharp gradients, homely but effective. The flat, two-color gauges are easy to read but also gravely stark. Seats are firm like a doctor’s waiting room, while the rear bottom cushions flip up to stash various unmentionables, just like the Silverado’s. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is terrific to behold.

The rear benches flip up, but clearly not in this photo.

The rear benches flip up, but clearly not in this photo.

Praise to Corvette for its trick temperature gauges, an idea so neat it’s trickled down to every Chevy product, with a retrofit for the 1987 Celebrity Eurosport VR available sometime next Monday—evidently the same people who design showerheads figured out the Colorado’s automatic climate control, because the temperature swings wildly from the ass-freezing cold to Florida-esque mugginess within a single knob click.

The Colorado starts at a hair over $20,000. Which is good. Because the one I tested was nearly twice that—and for $38,870 you get sweet darkened five-spoke wheels ($1,000), leather seats ($950), MyLink ($495), lane departure and frontal collision warnings ($395, and remember, the life you save could be mine), and another thousand-dollar luxury package, which means the aforementioned touchy automatic controls and chrome bits. Humans love shiny things, and pick-em-up truckers even more so.

Sure is shiny!

Sure is shiny. And handsome. But also shiny.

Macho posturing aside, the Colorado is far more accessible than any full-sized truck out there—small enough for a city, even one with four-lane boulevards, yet big enough to trick you into seeming invincible. Chevrolet’s marketing department imagines armies of scruffy young men in artfully cuffed denim and Target Merona plaid shirts staining their pits as they heave entire REI storefronts into the back, giving hardly a worry to the optional factory spray-in bedliner, before cranking the Black Keys through the seven-speaker Bose audio system (a $495 option!) and setting off to reclaim their manliness in lofty and Walden-esque ways, or at least tubing at Mt. Baldy. I don’t disagree with any of that. I know I’ve certainly helped load plenty of tents into tiny pickups during my time with Boy Scout Troop 227 of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, before heading off to summer camp and bounding down dirt roads at McRae-aping speeds while passing branches play drum solos off the A-pillars. Big trucks lumber, small trucks bound.

That would make a pretty good bumper sticker. Get me Chevrolet’s marketing department.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado front side 2

“The new Colorado: guaranteed to fit into 65% of Los Angeles parking garages!”

We imagine such possibilities of vehicles like the Chevrolet Colorado, the Nissan Frontier, the Toyota Tacoma—both of which are getting upgraded, soon enough—and, of course, it may be the nostalgia portion of my mind that remembers the 2001 Nissan Xterra of my childhood that enabled so many trips, so many adventures, so many ideas of taking the next off-ramp from the 101 and winding up thoroughly and wonderfully lost, so far away from water. Is it a truck, or a call to arms? The easy-access Colorado carries forth a go-get-’em lifestyle that that sneakily guilts us into getting off our asses, to take up mountain biking or drywall installation.

Which makes sense—because pickup truck.

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Volkswagen Considering Trucks, Vans For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-considering-trucks-vans-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-considering-trucks-vans-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024977 Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again. According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well […]

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2014-volkswagen-amarok-canyon-front-three-quarter-view-1

Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again.

According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well as drive more sales on its way to catching up — and one day, surpass — both Toyota and General Motors.

Potential models include the Amarok pickup, as well as the Caddy, Crafter and T5 vans and minibuses. VW’s global light commercial unit sold 445,000 models around the world last year, compared to the 366,970 models from the automaker’s USDM range over the same period. Overall global sales in 2014 came to over 10 million units.

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US New-Truck Leases Rise Thanks To Higher Residuals, Transactions, More Content http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023753 Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content. Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as […]

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2015-ford-f-150

Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content.

Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as the ~50 percent figure for luxury vehicle leases.

For automakers, this means they can continue to ride the strongest streak in sales the light truck market has experienced in current times, while also bringing customers into showrooms every three years. In exchange, they also gain less profit from leases — even with higher residuals — and more risk on whether or not the resale value will be strong in three years’ time, especially with external factors like fuel prices and the strength of the economy when the leases are up.

Factors driving the current leasing boom in the light-duty truck segment include higher average transaction prices — hitting a new average high of $41,029 in 2014 — the aforementioned residuals that are several points higher now than in 2010 — leading to more cash on the hood and other deals for potential lessees — and more content and features, like Wi-Fi, luxurious materials and advanced connected-vehicle systems.

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Autoleaks: 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/autoleaks-2017-ford-f-250-super-duty-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/autoleaks-2017-ford-f-250-super-duty-revealed/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020897 This is 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty in all of its glory, with the F-350 and F-450 Super Dutys to look like this when they hit the lot, as well. According to Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah, an anonymous source dropped off the photo with no information about the truck, particularly what’s under the hood. Speculation, […]

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2017 Ford F-250 Aluminum Edition

This is 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty in all of its glory, with the F-350 and F-450 Super Dutys to look like this when they hit the lot, as well.

According to Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah, an anonymous source dropped off the photo with no information about the truck, particularly what’s under the hood. Speculation, however, points to a revised 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel and 6.2-liter gas-powered V8 as likely powertrain possibilities.

The only detail set in stone about the heavier-duty pickups thus far is that, like the F-150, aluminum will be used throughout the body.

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Sources: Hyundai Expanding SUV Production In US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020409 Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices. Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward […]

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2015-santa-fe-sport-03

Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices.

Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward more SUVs. The expansion would come in the form of a new assembly line in Alabama, augmenting the line in Kia’s Georgia facility where the Santa Fe is assembled, and exports of the Tucson from Hyundai’s factories in South Korea.

Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon adds that, aside from Hyundai’s need for a second U.S. plant, Santa Fe production could be moved to Alabama, with the Tucson and a truck — possibly in the vein of the Santa Cruz concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — joining the former. Overall production is expected to be 300,000 units annually, with the first vehicles to leave the line in 2017.

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Reuss: Low Priority For Ford Raptor Competitor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reuss-low-priority-ford-raptor-competitor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reuss-low-priority-ford-raptor-competitor/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 14:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1018018 Will there be a Silverado or Sierra ready to battle the Ford Raptor in Baja Valley anytime soon? Not quite, according to General Motors. Edmunds says GM doesn’t have current plans to build a Raptor competitor, despite speculation that Chevrolet and GMC are working on such a beast as of this writing. The brands themselves […]

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Will there be a Silverado or Sierra ready to battle the Ford Raptor in Baja Valley anytime soon? Not quite, according to General Motors.

Edmunds says GM doesn’t have current plans to build a Raptor competitor, despite speculation that Chevrolet and GMC are working on such a beast as of this writing. The brands themselves also won’t confirm if the “Badlands” name filed in February with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is meant for a high-performance full-size off-road pickup.

Per GM global product development boss Mark Reuss, his company has the capital and a lot of priorties on the table, of which a Chevy/GMC Raptor is among the lowest in priority. Reuss added that he would not rule out such a thing, citing the Colorado ZR2 concept from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show as where GM may go if it so chose.

Meanwhile, Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred had this to say about the “Badlands” name:

When you are looking at terms, or names and phrases, the first thing you do, even if it is a speck of an idea, you trademark the name because it can become a legal mine field. If someone says, “I like that,” you generally go for it and work out if you might use it later. We’ve probably got hundreds, if not thousands, of names (we) don’t use.

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2015 Ford F-150 FX4: Reviewed! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-ford-f-150-fx4-reviewed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-ford-f-150-fx4-reviewed/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:50:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017746 This review begins with a car, a broken car, a miserable broken ungrateful little four-wheeled implement to which I have sunk too much money and too many pulled hairs, both of which I will never recoup. My stupid, silly Mazda Miata has been out of commission since, oh, last May, befallen by a faulty engine […]

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Ford F-150 grey, side

This review begins with a car, a broken car, a miserable broken ungrateful little four-wheeled implement to which I have sunk too much money and too many pulled hairs, both of which I will never recoup.

My stupid, silly Mazda Miata has been out of commission since, oh, last May, befallen by a faulty engine and then, uh, another faulty engine. (The details are sordid: first time was a journal bearing, if anyone’s keeping track, and the second, a failed oil pump. Someday I’ll gather all of my thoughts on this Horrible Misadventure in Transportation Ownership and publish the eight-thousand word screed to any miscreant willing to stomach it.)

The Miata of my obsessions. Sadly.

The Miata of my obsessions. Sadly.

The third engine, as pointed out by snickering colleagues, has got to be the charm. That warm glow of schadenfreude doesn’t feel as good when you’re the poor dumb bastard.

Ford F-150 grey, front

So when an 2015 Ford F-150 FX4 the approximate size, color, horsepower and towing capacity of the USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76 showed up on my driveway with a whomp, I called up Chris Hayes, podcast producer extraordinaire of The Hooniverse Podcast—and we took to the road, heading 60-something miles east to Corona, California, to Keegan Engineering, the somewhat-grandiose self-stylings of one Mike Keegan, to liberate the fruits of my financial mess.

Ford F-150 grey, rear

Make no doubt about it—the F-150 is still huge, and it feels huge. Swearing off any nod to aerodynamics, its front end is as square and brutish as your average Electro-Motive Diesel product. It will eclipse a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab, too—longer by 13 inches, taller by nearly two. And it certainly drives like it: bulky, ponderous, but never bogged down. It might be all that aluminum. It might be the fact that it can hit 60 miles per hour in five point six seconds.

Our EcoBoosted Ford came with the 3.5-liter V6 engine, pumping out 365 horsepower and 420 flubs of torque. It is a hell of a thing. Counting down that red light? Freeway getting crowded? Gotta move over before the on-ramp ends? Get on the gas and watch the nose rise up like a surfacing Red October, followed by the immediate and calamitous shifting of anything in the cargo bed. There’s a hint of turbo lag, but then the truck shoves you back, harder than a V8, I’d reckon, because turbocharger. And if the windows are down, the littlest prod of the accelerator evinces a constant whoosh “like it’s a turbodiesel,” said Hayes.

At one point, I lined up at a stoplight next to a Ferrari F430, equally grey, the ghost of Enzo all yelling “vaffanculo!” from across time and space, and floored it. Then I felt bad. You drive a flashy car like that, everyone’s gonna try to race you in all sorts of inappropriate machinery.

Still, I could’ve had him.

Mike Keegan hoists the new engine into the back of the F-150.

Mike Keegan hoists the new engine into the back of the F-150.

Chris and I recorded an episode of the Hooniverse Podcast on the hour drive to Corona, which you can listen to here, and which we could because the F-150 is dead quiet. Mausoleum-quiet. Which would be a cliché if it weren’t shaped like one.

We pulled into a nondescript neighborhood of two-story homes, washed out in different tans and beiges. A gentle bald bear of a man, Keegan met us in the driveway of his modest suburban home, next to a flat-white Falcon sedan—his wife’s—and in front of a garage that held untold projects and occasional treasures. It was quiet here, he said, and cheaper than Irvine, where he used to run his operations. Hayes and Keegan talked shop, exchanged handshakes, business cards. Trained by Cosworth, experienced through Champ Car, Keegan notably built Edmunds’ money-no-object Miata project as well as the race car motors for 949 Racing, which brought them to victory at Thunderhill, which certainly counts for something. Now, he works on diesels. We asked him if we could get him on the Hoonvierse podcast, and he smiled wistfully and shook his head no. “Too shy,” he said.

Mike Keegan close up

He had wrapped in plastic and strapped it to a pallet. We lifted it with a hoist and pushed it neatly into the bed, nearly filling its width. The F-150, especially with its FX4 off-road package, is so tall that the flip-out tailgate step is the only thing standing between you and your inevitable hamstring hernia. It slides out with a KA-CHUNK, along with corresponding yellow-knobbed pimp cane to climb up, and stepping down from the bed gives even the manliest man the countenance of a prom queen descending a crystal staircase.

The combination probably weighed 330 pounds, according to a snotty Miata.net member. I don’t rely on forums anymore. After spilling my fair share of pathos to bands of the like-minded, I found myself reaffirmed with the inevitable deluge of condescension and bad advice—I was like a vulnerable runaway, looking for support, for sympathy, remembering that I deserved none. From now on, I vowed, I would watch from afar, search and learn. We shook Keegan’s hand, slammed the tailgate shut, and climbed back in for the long drive back to Los Angeles.

The most useful innovation to pickup trucks since the V8 engine.

The most useful innovation to pickup trucks since the V8 engine.

Engine all loaded, we headed for the long journey through traffic.

Progress in the truck world advances so rapidly that an FX4 Off-Road edition is quiet, comfortable and serene. The ride is excellent. Let nobody tell you that leather is the be-all, end-all consumer good of lugg-jury: cloth seats are firm, never too grippy, and certainly easy to clean. Up front: gen-you-wine audio and climate control buttons—glove-friendly, self-explanatory. In back is so much legroom that it could serve as a one-bedroom apartment. The doors, however, slam with a shocking flimsiness, never with the hefty reassurance that justifies the purchase of a big new truck.

Gen-you-wine buttons and knobs!

Gen-you-wine buttons and knobs!

It’s a turbo, so it’s gotta be efficient, right? Well, Chris and I drove from his home in Redondo Beach to downtown LA, to Corona, where winter rains rendered the Chino Hills unto surprising greenery—grabbed the engine, drove up to the San Fernando Valley, another 75 miles, before I finally filled up to the conclusion of 13.2 miles per gallon. After another two days around town and half a tank, the computer readout displayed something like 16 mpg. Ford expects 17 mpg around town, 23 mpg on the freeway, with our engine and the 4×4 drivetrain, for the record.

John from Tripoint Engineering and Chris Hayes unload the engine.

John from Tripoint Engineering and Chris Hayes unload the engine.

And so. A truck is the easiest gadget in the world to justify: you won’t use it every day, but on the days you do, it is as indispensible as your next breath. That’s why Ford sells so many. That’s why so many are headed to the suburbs, where the mulch flows like gold tailings. Few consumer goods in the entirety of human civilization been honed to a knife edge, yet remain steadfastly traditionalist; in a sense, the F-150 makes up for its bold new aluminum experiment by wearing its size boldly, out-hefting its Chevy and Ram brethren. The result is stunning in its effectiveness.

Last year, when my Miata broke for the first time, I hauled it back home along the Central Valley with a Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD. It was my first time towing anything. United with its Ford rival, across time and space and weight classes, by a singular fixed point of broken automobile, I learned that modern-day truck transport has no right to be this comfortable, this smooth, this easy—naw, make them city boys work for it! Make ’em sweat a lil’ bit!

With the new engine firmly in the hands of competent mechanics, allow me say that I enjoyed my time with the F-150—but I hope to never have to drive another truck, into a forgotten corner of California, on another roadster rescue mission.

Easier to hold the engine up and drive away from it.

Easier to hold the engine up and drive away from it.

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