Car enthusiasts can be a fickle and judgmental lot when it comes to passion for things automotive. Certain types of vehicles are expected to be driven by a person who wishes to appropriate the label for themselves. Do you drive a Miata, S2000, or one of the original British sports cars that they echo? You can lay claim to the title of gear head or enthusiast without being challenged. Have a foreign car, especially a European one, that costs more than a Midwestern starter home? You probably won’t be called a poseur if you show up to your local cars and coffee gathering. Then, there are people who love trucks. (Read More…)
Tag: pickup trucks
Ford Ranger. Volkswagen Amarok. Toyota Hilux. Chevrolet…err…Holden Colorado. These are the mid-size pickups that are unavailable to us Americans, a once thriving segment now hollowed out by market economics and unfavorable CAFE regulations. But the crew at PickupTrucks.com managed to wrangle the four up in Australia, and pick a winner in the segment. Read all about it here. We won’t spoil the surprise.
Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, an examination on the class divides in present-day America, features a handy quiz for “cultural elites” to answer, as a means of getting a sense of how much of a “bubble” one lives that isolates them from rural America. Among the questions asked are whether one owns or has owned a pickup truck (also: whether one knows an evangelical Christian, whether one has eaten at T.G.I Friday’s in the past year, and have you ever participated in a parade that did not involve global warming, gay rights, or a war protest). (Read More…)
The email was pleasant enough.
I had finally become a world famous ‘blogger’ according to the lady whose job was shucking an unloved SUV to anyone who would care to write about it.
“Sure!”, I thought. “Why the hell not! Where else would the term ‘SUV Sally’ have so much acceptance?”
A lawsuit filed by a Florida investor against General Motors over the age-old practice of “channel stuffing”, or sending inventory to dealers and recording it as a “sale”, so that revenue numbers can be pumped up while the vehicles languish on dealer lots. The practice of channel stuffing is universal in the auto industry, but in this case, the consequences are much broader.
communists freedom haters blue-state-residents people partial to Ford trucks are pissing and moaning over a pretty tame Chevrolet Truck spot that aired during the Super Bowl. I thought it was a dumb ad by GM, both in terms of content and because nothing can ever top the “Like A Rock” ads that aired during TNN’s Saturday Morning Powerblock Television lineup of Car and Driver TV and the other shows about decimating wild turkeys with shotguns.
The Chevrolet LUV may have been one of the dorkier car names in the annals of automotive history, but it’s arguably better than the moniker of its Japanese counterpart, the Isuzu Faster. Korean car maker SsangYong’s new truck, the Korando Sports, is being dubbed the “Leisure Utility Vehicle”, and if parent company Mahindra can get their act together, the USA stands a chance of getting some LUV in the future.
About a year ago, Nissan’s response to nose-diving truck sales betrayed some serious ambivalence about chasing the profitable-yet-dangerous segment. Its first plan was to rebadge the new Ram, but that deal has fallen apart in the wake of Chrysler’s shotgun wedding to Fiat. At a loss for options, Nissan canceled the Quest, QX56 and Armada and started tooling up its Canton plant to produce commercial vehicles. It looked like Nissan’s days in the truck market were over. Now, USA Today reports that Nissan is developing a new full-sized pickup (and SUV) after all. By itself. Who’d have thunk it?
We noted earlier that Chrysler’s turnaround is dependent on Ram and other truck-based models to maintain the steady profit increases projected in its five-year plans. CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed the importance of body-on-frame vehicles to Chrysler’s US lineup in a recent interview with Automotive News [sub]. “I think it will be very stupid for us to assume the same type of European style and sizing which has driven the automobile portfolio of Fiat Group will prevail in the U.S.” Marchionne tells AN’s Luca Ciferri. Marchionne says Chrysler’s US lineup of full-sized pickups, SUVs, large cars and minivans will see their fuel efficiency improve to keep up with pressures on the market, but that the US linup will not suddenly downsize or work away from its traditional strengths. Marchionne even aknowledged that the Ram brand would continue to be a crucial profit center, just as Fiat Professional-branded commercial vehicles drive much of Fiat’s profit in Europe. But as another report in Automotive News [sub] explains, the truck market is continuing to erode underfoot. Chevrolet truck marketing executive John Schwegman explains that
in 2005, buyers who chose pickups “primarily for image” accounted for 200,000 to 250,000 annual sales. That fell to about 100,000 in 2008. This year, he says, only about 50,000 personal-use buyers will drive home full-sized pickups.
It would be difficult to conceive of a vehicle better-suited to demonstrating TTAC’s diversity of automotive reviewers than the massive and massively outrageous Ford Raptor. Robert Farago would have eviscerated it with a zero-star diatribe on the inadvisability of building three-ton boutique trucks with borrowed funds. Sajeev Mehta would rhapsodize about the graphics but demonize the chunky controls. Daniel Stern might be have complained about the lighting system. As fate would have it, however, I’m the fellow who got the Raptor to review. So I took it mudding.
Autoblog ran this picture purporting to show the locations of future dealers of Mahindra and Mahindra pickup trucks. This piqued our interest because we’ve been curious to see how the Indian firm’s plans to bring diesel-only compact pickups and SUVs to the US market would play out for some time. Over a year ago Mahindra said it would be delaying its US launch (originally planned for Spring 2009) until the fourth quarter of 2009 because, as Mr Mahindra himself put it “my family’s name is going onto this vehicle, and it’s not going to fail.” Well, here we are in the fourth quarter, and Mahindra is still calling the dots on the map “potential” outlets. They’ve also apparently pushed back the launch date again, to the first quarter of 2010. Automotive News [sub] reported way back when that Mahindra’s distributors (Global Vehicles USA) were asking for $200,000 in franchise fees. Maybe finding folks willing to pay that amount for the honor of selling diesel-only compact trucks and utes are hard to come by. Either way, it’s getting to be defecate-or-get-off-the-pot time.