By on April 6, 2017

2017 Ford F-350 Super Duty King Ranch - Image: Ford

In March 2017, for the second time in three months, the Ford F-Series range generated more total U.S. sales than the entire General Motors pickup truck lineup.

Total F-Series sales jumped 10 percent to 81,330 units in March, a total that far eclipsed the 71,786-unit figure achieved by the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon — combined. The F-Series’ 10-percent jump occurred as GM pickup sales tumbled 13 percent; as the total truck market grew just 2 percent, year-over-year.

The F-Series’ March performance also represented its sixth consecutive monthly improvement, a sign of consistent growth that suggests Ford may well sell 900,000 pickup trucks in 2017.

Moreover, the F-Series’ consistent growth was cemented in March even as midsize pickup sales growth hit the skids.

New Ranger?

Ach, who needs it? (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2017

Honda Canada Utility Commercial: Image: Honda Canada/YouTube

Underneath its skin, the Honda Ridgeline is a significantly altered Honda Pilot, a large three-row utility vehicle related to the next-generation Honda Odyssey minivan. That’s hardly the stuff of which traditional, body-on-frame pickups are made.

But the Ridgeline has a separate, exposed bed, an elevated ride height, and competitive payload ratings. Therefore, it’s a pickup truck.

Or is it? In one recent Honda Canada commercial, the Ridgeline is portrayed alongside the HR-V, CR-V, and Pilot under the Honda Utility banner.

“Go where you wanna go,” The Mamas & the Papas sing, as a tree-lined bike trail appears with the CR-V in the HR-V’s rear seat, as a mountainside Pilot scene materializes in the CR-V’s cargo area, as the Ridgeline’s soccer setting unfolds from the Pilot’s third row.

Has Honda decided the Ridgeline is a sport-utility vehicle? A CUV? (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2017

triton-mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors needs a pickup truck for the U.S. and Nissan wants a cheaper one for the global market. While the Red Diamonds’ Raider filled a ten year gap in the company’s lineup after the American discontinuation of the Mighty Max in 1996, sales were disappointing and production ended back in 2009. Now Mitsubishi and its new parent Nissan are investigating joint production of pickup trucks in Southeast Asia as they hunt for savings within the Renault-Nissan partnership.

The two Japanese automakers may combine the technical basis and eventual production of the future replacements for the South Asian-built Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton, Mitsubishi chief operating officer Trevor Mann said in an interview at the Geneva car show. (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Image: Toyota

Nearly two and a half years since General Motors increased the number of offerings in the midsize pickup truck sector by two-thirds, and nine months since Honda revitalized its unique Ridgeline offering, we’re once again in need of new midsize pickup truck nameplates.

America’s pickup truck category began 2017 with a bang, growing by more than 7 percent and easily outpacing an industry that declined by more than 1 percent in the first one-sixth of 2017.

Yet virtually all of that growth — fully 90 percent — was fuelled not by midsize pickups but by the stalwarts: full-size trucks.  (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 February 13, 2017

2017 Nissan Titan King Cab - Image: Nissan

By broadening its lineup, rethinking the dealer approach, and focusing on prime markets, Nissan intends to increase its Titan pickup truck’s share of America’s full-size market to 5 percent.

5 percent. One in twenty trucks. One Titan for every 19 Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram P/U, GMC Sierra, and Toyota Tundra.

That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?

Nah, at least until you realize that in 2016, Nissan sold fewer than 22,000 Titans, or slightly less than 1 percent market share. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2017

1997 Dodge Copperhead Concept/Ram 1500 Copper Sport - Images: FCA

As we reported in the middle of the night, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will show two new Ram special edition pickup trucks at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show this week.

One truck brings the 1500 Night package to the 2500 Heavy Duty. The other is the Ram’s 1500 Copper Sport.

Or is it?

Hours after the embargo lifted and Matthew Guy’s story went live on TTAC, we received a press release from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada’s PR department. Our eagle-eyed managing editor, Mark Stevenson, noticed something peculiar.

“New Limited Edition 2017 Ram 1500 Copperhead Sport Launched,” FCA Canada announced.

And why won’t the Copperhead Sport be the Copperhead Sport in the United States?

Don’t blame Steve Earle. Blame ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

1992 Ford F-150 Nite Edition, Image: Ford

Yesterday I told a story about a colleague of mine who was lookin’ for love in all the large places. Because this is TTAC, the conversation in the comments quickly turned to the traction merits of various drivetrain systems. You crazy kids. I bet that when most of you think about Fast Times At Ridgemont High, your minds immediately go to the one scene where we get a good look at the voluptuous curves of … Judge Reinhold’s 1960 LeSabre.

We’ve had a lot of conversations about trucks lately, whether it’s a Nissan Frontier, a Toyota Tacoma, or a Honda Ridgeline. You could say that we’re in some kind of trucking phase, and that it might be a while before we get the truck out of here.

So, what the truck do you want?

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2017

2017 Honda Ridgeline Sport - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Imagine a world full of hefty, four-seat, eight-cylinder muscle cars. Then, appearing out of thin air, the Mazda MX-5 Miata arrives. You can draw parallels. The end goals are similar. But these are strikingly different machines.

Or consider a world in which buyers in search of family friendly SUVs are limited to Chevrolet Suburbans and Ford Expedition ELs. But after decades of dominance, in walks a totally different kind of answer: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

Like the first-generation Honda Ridgeline that bowed more than a decade ago, the all-new second-generation Ridgeline is a pickup truck. There’s a cab and a bed. It can tow and it can haul.

Yet the 2017 Honda Ridgeline is dramatically different from other pickup trucks, and not only in terms of construction. For better or worse, Honda’s truck is a whole ‘nuther kettle of fish. As a result, comparisons with other pickup trucks are, if not unfair, rendered largely invalid.
(Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

Midsize trucks - Images: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GMFive members strong, America’s midsize pickup truck sector reported nearly 450,000 sales in 2016.

After claiming only 11 percent of the overall pickup truck market’s volume in 2013 and 2014 and 14 percent in 2015, 17 percent of all pickup truck sales in 2016 were produced by the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline.

Midsize pickup truck sales growth wildly outperformed the overall auto industry in 2016, leaping forward nine times faster than the full-size truck sector, year-over-year.

Every candidate got in on the action, but one truck in particular did more than its fair share of the heavy lifting. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept - Image: Hyundai

Two years have passed since Hyundai dropped the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept at 2015’s North American International Auto Show.

A small, stylish, affordable, diesel-powered trucklet? Give’er the green light, the internet says.

Hyundai has consistently supplied plenty of information in the 24 months since the truck’s debut to stoke Santa Cruz-oriented hype. “There is a very high probability we get the approval of the truck soon,” now-departed Hyundai USA boss Dave Zuchowski said 20 months ago.

Soon? Clearly not.

Acknowledging Hyundai is “working as hard as we can to make it happen,” Hyundai’s vice president of corporate and product planning, Mike O’Brien, told Car And Driver that Hyundai is still not entirely certain the Santa Cruz is bound for production. (Read More…)

By on January 13, 2017

2017 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cas

To beat the establishment at the establishment’s game, one needs either to employ a high degree of anti-establishmentarianism or prove to be obviously superior than the establishment.

Recognizing that the establishment is entrenched, with six Detroit brand pickup truck nameplates earning better than four out of every five pickup truck sales in America, two pickup trucks launched in 2016 with markedly different approaches.

Honda, quite evidently, does not believe the world’s eighth-largest automaker can endure a head-on collision with the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra. The Ridgeline is still a unibody pickup with a V6 engine, a 5,000-pound towing capacity, and a trunk under the bed. Put Honda down in the anti-establishment column.

Nissan, however, clearly wants to be part of the establishment. The second-generation Nissan Titan approaches Detroit’s pickups with ostentatious design, a rumbling V8, full-size dimensions, and a new chrome-laden top-trim level. But remember, Nissan can’t merely match the best trucks — the Titan must demonstrate indisputable superiority. (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2017

2015 Ford F-150 crew cab

Thanks to improved midsize-truck sales, record Ram volume, and the best annual results for the Ford F-Series in more than a decade, U.S. sales of pickup trucks climbed to 2.69 million units in 2016.

The 6-percent year-over-year growth rate among pickup trucks shamed the industry at large — auto sales grew only 0.3 percent in 2016. Yet while auto sales reached record levels, spurred along in part by pickup improvements, truck sales haven’t quite returned to the glory days. Not yet.

Americans acquired an average of more than 3 million pickup trucks per year during a five-year period ending in 2007, the last time total pickup truck sales volume was stronger than it is now.

Some things haven’t changed, however. Ford sells the most popular full-size pickup truck line; 2016 was the F-Series 40th consecutive year as the segment’s top seller. And America’s top-selling manufacturer reigns as the top-selling manufacturer of pickup trucks.  (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2016

Ford King Ranch

America loves its trucks, perhaps to an unhealthy degree.

Domestic automakers aren’t complaining, as pickups are among the most profitable vehicles the companies can produce. Compared to cars, trucks are typically easier to manufacture, but fetch a higher price. Tack on costly options and the expensive trim levels the market seems to adore, and you’ve practically printing your own money.

Still, you might be surprised by the percentage of buyers springing for top-end variants of vehicles once loved only by construction companies, public works departments and landscapers. (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2016

2017 Nissan Titan red - Image: Nissan USA

America’s pickup truck market exploded with significant year-over-year growth in November 2016. After the U.S. auto industry reported three consecutive months of decline through the end of October, auto sales jumped 4 percent in November, year-over-year.

Pickup trucks were responsible for half of the industry’s growth last month.

All 11 truck nameplates on offer in the United States — from the Chevrolet Silverado that posted a modest 0.6-percent uptick to the Honda Ridgeline that shot up 115,367 percent — got in on the action.

Even the Nissan Titan.

(Read More…)

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