By on July 14, 2016

2005 Nissan Frontier & 2016 Nissan Frontier

The recent introduction of a thoroughly re-engineered Toyota Tacoma is propelling sales of the segment’s top seller to all-time highs. After an elongated hiatus, there are new options from General Motors, and they’re selling more frequently than GM anticipated. Just last month, Honda began selling an all new, second-generation Ridgeline, a pickup at the opposite end of the spectrum from the rough and tumble Frontier. That Ridgeline, we told you yesterday, is selling like it’s 2008.

Moreover, demand for small/midsize pickup trucks is roughly 30-percent smaller than it was a decade ago.

At Nissan, there are plenty of factors, internal and external, working against the Frontier. The current-generation pickup is more than a decade old. Yet Nissan USA is on track to sell more Frontiers in 2016 than at any point since the current truck debuted on the Titan’s F-Alpha platform in January 2004 at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2016

2017 Honda Ridgeline

American Honda reported 2,472 sales of its all-new, second-generation Ridgeline pickup in June 2016, the truck’s first month of rather limited availability.

June was the Ridgeline’s first four-digit sales month since August 2014, the Ridgeline’s first month above the 2,000-unit mark since October 2008, and the best Ridgeline sales month since August 2008.

In fact, if American Honda simply maintained the June 2016 sales pace for the rest of the year, total 2016 calendar year Ridgeline sales would essentially match 2013’s total for an eight-year high in U.S. Ridgeline sales.

Indeed, on an annualized rate, based simply on the Ridgeline’s first month back from a long hiatus, Honda is already selling more Ridgelines than at any point since 2008. (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2016

2017 Ford Fusion Sport

Even with an all-time first-half U.S. sales record, Ford’s SUVs and crossovers huge year-over-year gains weren’t enough to counteract the significant losses in Ford’s car lineup.

And that’s where the Ford F-Series steps in.

Overall Ford Motor Company sales rose 4.4 percent in the first half of 2016. At the Ford brand, specifically, every passenger car nameplate produced fewer sales than during the same period in 2015. (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…)

By on June 16, 2016

Chevrolet vs. Ford rock drop

After watching General Motors drop 825 pounds of rock into the beds of a Chevrolet Silverado and a Ford F-150, I wasn’t caught up in fairness or relevance or with the advertisement’s status as a marketing stunt. Some observers asked whether GM crossed an unwritten line shared by Detroit’s cross-town truck rivals, as if in a year when presidential candidates toss deeply personal insults around like water balloons at a summer picnic a pickup truck critique would be over the line.

To me, it simply seemed clear from the moment of the ad’s YouTube launch that the Chevrolet Silverado’s apparent toughness advantage would be more frequently viewed than a traditional truck commercial. As of this writing, Chevrolet’s YouTube channel has racked up 4.4 million views with “Silverado Strong: Steel Bed Outperforms Aluminum Bed,” ten times more views than the channel’s 22 previous ads have generated in the last month, combined.

The Silverado could use the increased attention. U.S. sales of GM’s best-selling model line are flat despite a six-percent sales increase in the truck market so far this year. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2016

2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 CrewMax

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Dan Neil fairly torched the 2016 Toyota Tundra CrewMax in a recent review for The Wall Street Journal’s Rumble Seat.

“It is not the strongest, the swiftest and definitely not the most fuel efficient,” Neil wrote in a particularly stinging paragraph which began by Neil calling the Tundra, “not the most technically advanced truck on the market.”

The Tundra faithful, not particularly numerous at the best of times relative to rival Detroit nameplates, is an ever more compact group of individuals. With each passing month, America’s truck buyers make increasingly clear that they heartily agree with Dan Neil. (Read More…)

By on May 13, 2016

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

You know the world is a bit upside-down when master wordsmith Jack Baruth spins a web so tight in favor of the EPA and CARB that even the Best and Brightest can’t see through it.

Jack makes a valid point today: light-duty trucks, especially those of the diesel variety, are often driven by people who don’t need the capability that those trucks provide. It’s those diesel pickups that spew tons of particulates and NOx into the atmosphere, both of which are harmful to human health. Goodbye, he says to the light-duty diesel truck, before we turn into Europe. Turbo-fed gasoline engines offer just as much torque as their diesel-powered brethren, he exclaims. There’s no need to buy an $80,000 phallus extender. What do you think of this twin-turbo V6 Raptor?

However, Mr. Baruth stopped just short of saying recreational use of light-duty diesel trucks should be outright banned, instead offering up a solution that’s analogous to gun control.

(Read More…)

By on April 22, 2016

2016 Ford F150 XLT SuperCrew 4x4

After one week with a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew 2.7-liter EcoBoost, I’m convinced that this small turbocharged V6 engine is the pick of the current F-150 range.

Stunning acceleration, a positive working relationship with the F-150’s six-speed automatic, minor capability cutbacks, and a lower price tag combine to make the 2.7-liter completely worthy of full-size pickup truck duty, difficult though it may be for owners of 6.8-liter V10-powered Ford Super Dutys to believe.

But based on our week-long experiences with each F-150 EcoBoost engine, fuel economy hardly plays into the 2.7-litre’s favorable equation. (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2016

2016 Toyota Tacoma blue

Competition improves the breed?

In order to tighten its grasp on the American midsize truck market, the Toyota Tacoma was thoroughly refreshed for model year 2016, a necessary development following the arrival – finally – of all-new competition at the end of 2014.

Evidently, Toyota did not need to debut an all-new pickup truck in order to fend off new General Motors challengers and keep its hold on a segment Toyota has led since 2005.

Want proof? Nearly half the non-full-size pickup trucks sold in the United States in the first two months of 2016 were Toyotas. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2015

2015 Ford F-150

In November 2015, for the first time since March, Ford’s F-Series outsold the combined efforts of General Motors’ full-size truck twins in the United States.

November’s results won’t change the fact that 2015 will go down as the first year since 2009 that GM’s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will outsell their chief rival on a calendar year basis. Through the first eleven months of 2015, GM has sold 734,253 full-size pickup trucks, 39,110 more than the F-Series’ 695,143-unit total. (Read More…)

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