By on September 6, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Silverado - Image: ChevroletCanadian auto sales climbed to an all-time record high in 2013, jumping past the 1.7-million mark for the first time since 2002. The industry bettered that total in 2014, topped 2014’s total in 2015, and set a new record in 2016.

While U.S. auto sales continue to fall, sliding 2 percent in August and 3 percent through the first two-thirds of 2017, Canadian auto sales in August 2017 improved for a fourth consecutive month and the seventh month so far this year. Moreover, the improvements have been anything but modest. An 11-percent uptick in May was followed up by a 6-percent June increase, a 5-percent July increase, and a 7-percent August rise.

In fact, so strong are Canadian auto sales through the first two-thirds of 2017 that disaster would need to strike in the final four months of the year in order for 2017 not to be the best year ever for the Canadian auto industry.

Disaster appears unlikely. (Read More…)

By on August 1, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Silverado - Image: ChevroletAmerica’s auto industry is expected to report today its seventh consecutive month of decline, a drop of at least 5 percent based on forecasts and some sharp declines from three of the largest manufacturers: GM, Ford, and FCA.

Incidentally, GM, Ford, and FCA are America’s three biggest sellers of pickup trucks, and for the most part, pickup trucks are allowing a degree of buoyancy at the Detroit Three despite plunging passenger car sales. But after pickup truck sales rose 4 percent through the first-half of 2017, pickup truck sales declined in July 2017. Slightly. Somewhat.

And it was mostly General Motors’ fault. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2017

20170712_202440

There’s a great scene in Clear and Present Danger where Harrison Ford says, “Where are you taking me, Marty?” in that great post-Han Solo angry growl of his, and Marty replies, “It’s you who have taken us here.” And so it was with me and the B&B. Just over a month ago, I asked you to help me pick a pickup. One of you read that article and promptly broke my wife’s heart by making us a fair but not overly generous offer on her Tahoe.

I have to say that for all of Danger Girl’s well-known bravery in the face of pain and suffering — this is, after all, a woman who managed to get her SCCA comp license and a couple of race starts less than 18 months after having three pounds’ worth of external titanium scaffolding unbolted from her — she did not cope very well with the idea of not owning a Chevrolet truck of some sort.

I don’t think she made it plain in her story, but with one six-month exception she has had nothing but either half-ton Chevrolet work trucks or Tahoes since the day she turned sixteen. (The truckless interregnum? A fleeting romance with an Equinox.) Two of those trucks — count ’em, two! — were totaled at high speed by the unlicensed-and-undocumented crowd out in New Mexico. The others she drove until the engines called it quits. This happened more than you might think. At one point in her life she had a 210-mile daily commute. Things really are different in the Southwest.

“I don’t see why I can’t have just a plain white work truck again,” she told me, which made me cringe at the molecular level like Jeremy Irons in Reversal Of Fortune contemplating his attorney’s food-stained 50/50 “dress” shirt. No member of my family has ever actually owned a full-sized pickup of any type. Twenty years ago, one of my uncles bought a Toyota T-100 to tide him through a few years of home renovation; to this day, my grandmother acts like he got a Confederate tattoo on his neck and spent 20 years on the open road pushing a Kenworth between Amarillo and Anchorage. I didn’t relish letting anybody see me in a plain white work truck. Although I’d been looking at the Silverado LT All-Stars for a while, I was pretty sure that when push came to shove I was going to buy a Sierra Denali, put a cap on it, and tell my relatives it was a Yukon XL.

(Read More…)

By on July 11, 2017

GM Real People Not Actors Silverado ad screenshot - Image: Chevrolet YouTubeWith the July 10 launch of a new Chevrolet Silverado commercial, General Motors is once again using its Real People, Not Actors campaign in an attempt to tarnish the Ford F-150’s good name.

This methodology doesn’t appear to have had an impact in the marketplace in the past. Yet two years after General Motors displayed conversations between Howie Long and GM engineer Eric Stanczak discussing repair costs on the Ford F-150’s aluminum bed and one year after Chevrolet punctured a Ford F-150’s aluminum bed with 825 pounds of concrete blocks, General Motors is turning to admitted Ford F-150 owners as a means of casting aspersions on America’s top-selling full-size truck.

After earlier rounds, Ford gained ground in America’s full-size pickup truck market in 2016. Indeed, Ford is continuing to gain ground in that same market in 2017. Ford is selling more trucks than its rivals. Ford is selling more trucks with less incentivization. Ford is selling more trucks with less incentivization at higher average transaction prices.

So, GM sends the Chevrolet Silverado back to the same ol’ well. (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Silverado High Country towing - Image: ChevroletMarch 2017 marked just the third occasion in three years in which Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram P/U line outsold the Chevrolet Silverado in the United States.

One month later, in April, Ram did it again.

Then in May 2017, Ram made it a threepeat, outselling the traditional No. 2 pickup truck in America by more than 1,000 units. By the end of May, the Silverado was only 5,055 sales ahead of the Ram on year-to-date terms, a narrow gap which served to highlight the possibility that the Ram could outsell the Silverado for the first time ever in calendar year 2017.

But June 2017 marked an end to Ram’s party, at least for the time being. General Motors reported 50,515 Chevrolet Silverado sales in June, a 2-percent year-over-year uptick and 7,442 more sales than FCA’s Ram truck lineup managed.

How did GM manage to end the trend? By earning less money per truck, naturally. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2017

What The Truck?

And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
The worst that I can find
And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
But I rely on mine

“Can’t Be Sure” was The Sundays’ brilliant 1989 debut, introducing all of us to the lovely Harriet Wheeler and her ability to sing the most heartbreaking lyrics possible in the voice of a spoiled British child. I took the above stanza to heart the minute I heard it, because it took something that had long animated me and put it into a few simple words. It’s no wonder that the Zen philosophers preach a detachment from desire, because it drives our worst and most selfish behaviors. Virtually every regrettable or repugnant episode in my life has begun with me looking at something (or, more often, someone) and pronouncing, like Henderson The Rain King, “I WANT!”

Yes, desire is a terrible thing — but I rely on mine, as I’ve recently been reminded. You see, I need a full-size pickup. But need is in no way synonymous with desire, so I’m absolutely stuck in the mud trying to figure out what I should do next.

(Read More…)

By on May 9, 2017

2016 GMC Sierra with eAssist, Image: General Motors

General Motors hasn’t made an official announcement about the new product destined for Ontario’s Oshawa Assembly plant, only saying that pickups would be sent there for final assembly. However, much like with Ford’s returning Bronco and Ranger, it often comes down to union brass to spill the beans about product allocation.

In this case, the union representing both autoworkers and employees at a seat supplier has provided proof of Oshawa’s new product. Two truck models snatched out of Oshawa by GM’s 2009 bankruptcy will indeed return. (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2017

2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 W/T

The pickup is as much of a stereotypical American icon as gun ownership and throwing things away. Last year was a particularly good one for trucks, with Ford F-Series sales reaching pre-recession volume and a 10-year high and Ram recording a seventh year of growth. However, with sales peaking for the other domestic labels, General Motors’ share of the market shrunk.

What’s the solution to whatever consumers find lacking with GM’s product? A price war, of course. While Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are scaling back, GM upped incentives from last February by 56 percent for the Chevrolet Silverado and 82 percent for the GMC Sierra. With the pickup segment being so important in North America, nobody wants to lose ground. Aggressive discounts are often the only way to overwhelm brand loyalty, but the practice is also guaranteed to eat into profits while annoying the competition. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2017

Detroit Three Work Trucks

Earlier this morning, Jack regaled us with a tale of a young man buying himself a loaded regular-cab F-150. Such a beast still exists, often selling at the rate of glacier progression and celebrating birthdays as they loiter on dealer lots. At the other end of the spectrum, rear-drive regular cab base models – with an 8-foot box, natch – ply the roads and work for a living.

How do entry-level trucks from the Detroit Three stack up when compared to each other? Ace of Base breaks them down in alphabetical order with the caveat that, based on price and feature content, there is a clear winner.

(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2016

2016 State Fair of Texas, Image: © 2016 Matthew Guy/The Truth About Cars

It’s a stereotype more threadbare than a pair of old chaps, but just like 72-ounce steaks, Stetson hats, and the God-given right to poke bullet holes in road signs, it’s no exaggeration: Texas likes its trucks.

Pickups account for roughly a quarter of the state’s new-vehicle sales, counting for a remarkable 20 percent of the nation’s truck market. Plying the state’s ever-expanding highway network, gearheads like us can’t help but notice rows upon rows of pickup trucks, parked as they are on both stagnant Dallas freeways and dealer lots.

It’s no wonder then that pickup truck manufacturers market these trucks specifically to Texans.

(Read More…)

By on October 7, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD, Image: © 2016 Matthew Guy/The Truth About Cars

At the end of September, some of my auto journo colleagues busied themselves with the French delights of Paris, covering new reveals at the Paris Auto Show.

Me? I was somewhere much more in line with my personality, surrounded by heavy-duty trucks at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. With both Ford and Ram cresting the 900 lb-ft of torque mark, the General needed to play catch-up.

Enter Chevy’s new 6.6-liter Duramax Diesel.

(Read More…)

By on October 6, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

For just the second time in 205 months, the Ram P/U range outsold the Chevrolet Silverado in the United States in September 2016.

It’s a victory wiped away by including GM’s other full-size pickup truck, the GMC Sierra, not to mention both Ram and Silverado are fighting for second place. The Ford F-Series is America’s top-selling truck line, outselling the Ram by 20,000 units and the GM twins by nearly 4,400 sales.

September was nevertheless the icing on the cake for a three-quarter period in which Ram’s pickups finished 27,549 sales ahead of their record-setting pace last year.

But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles placed a lot of extra cash on the hood to put so much icing on the cake.  (Read More…)

By on September 21, 2016

2016 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate

Trucks are coming back to Oshawa — kinda.

According to The Globe and Mail, a $400-million investment will fund upgrades necessary for Oshawa to perform final assembly of General Motors pickups using bodies manufactured in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and shipped to Canada.

(Read More…)

By on September 20, 2016

Flint Silverado assembly plant

Shortly after the stroke of midnight, Jerry Dias and the rest of the Unifor-GM bargaining committee sat down in front of reporters immediately after marathon negotiations. Dias, the president of Unifor, was elated.

“I am pleased to announce to our members … that we have found a solution for your facilities,” he said to Oshawa workers through the media and the press conference live stream.

Indeed, Oshawa was saved.

That’s not to say there won’t be some pain — the Consolidated Line at Oshawa will still close on schedule in 2017 when GM begins production of a redesigned Equinox, and the union made some pension concessions — but, at least for now, the clouds have parted over one of Canada’s longest-standing auto-producing towns.

Yet, the announcement raised more questions as it answered. And there are two major unknowns yet to be revealed: the products allocated to the Oshawa and St. Catharines plants.

(Read More…)

By on June 17, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 Tradesman 4x4 EcoDieselAt this moment, according to AutoTrader and Cars.com, there are fewer than three dozen new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman 4×4 Regular Cab pickup trucks available in the United States.

That’s right, of the roughly 8,000 Ram EcoDiesels and nearly 80,000 Ram 1500s available in the United States, there are approximately 30 available in a traditional working pickup truck format: diesel power, two doors, long box, base trim, four-wheel drive.

This is no slight on Ram or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ dealers. They’re simply responding to the market’s demands.

You, by which we mean the truck buying collective, don’t want real trucks. So you can’t have one. Because it’s highly unlikely you can find one, because dealers know you don’t want one. (Read More…)

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