There’s just something about a diesel pickup truck that makes grown men regress into Tonka-loving children. Even my Prius-driving environmentalist friends in Berkeley admit they secretly want a diesel pickup. The problem of course is that diesel pickups are expensive (the cheapest diesel Ram 2500 is $36,975 and it doesn’t have an automatic transmission, the cheapest oil-burning F-250 is $38,250) and, for the majority of us, the high payload and towing capacities are overkill. While economical in a specific sense, the large diesel trucks aren’t “fuel-efficient” either. Until now. Mark your calendars folks, The 2014 Ram 1500 Eco Diesel is the half-ton truck in America sporting a small diesel engine.
I’ve never cared for the phrase “as American as apple pie” as apple pie is far from an American invention. Instead, we should say as “American as the pickup truck.” In 1925 Ford crafted the “Ford Model T Runabout with Pickup Body” and America’s love affair began. The Chevrolet Silverado, and its mechanical twin the GMC Sierra, may not be the best-selling vehicle in America (that award goes to the aging Ford F-150) but the Chevy alone has outsold the Toyota Camry by 55,000 units this year. Toss in the Sierra and there are more GM trucks sold on our shores in a year than all the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche products put together. The high sales number and high profit margins explain the intense Ford vs Chevy vs RAM rivalry. With a new RAM in 2013 and a light refresh only a year later, GM is firing back with an all-new Silverado and Sierra. Does Chevy’s new half-ton have what it takes to be king of the hill?
Many dealers are complaining that price differentials between the all new GM pickup trucks and heavily discounted competitors from Ford and Ram are leaving them with disappointing sales results. The new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra were launched in June amid heavy incentives from competitive brands. But the trucks, which have been praised by the press, are not moving quickly. Automotive News reports that a Pasadena, Texas dealer says that his supply is up to 170 days, compared to his normal inventory of 110 days supply. A dealer in Austin reports a 120 day supply, up from his norm at 90 days.
We don’t just love pickup trucks in America, we practically worship them. The half ton pickup truck is an American icon embedded into our music, our entertainment and almost the core of our culture. If you haven’t owned or wanted to own a pickup truck, you’re probably a communist infiltrating American society and should be stopped. Despite inroads from the Japanese competition, the full-size truck market is a solidly American segment that isn’t just led by the big three, it’s dominated by them. In August, RAM took third place with 33,009 pickups sold in the US of A, more than three times the number four player: this week’s Toyota Tundra. Why is this gap so large when Toyota crushes the big three in so many other segments? Let’s explore that while we look at Toyota’s refreshed 2014 Tundra.
GM announced that prices of their new 1500-series trucks would remain flat, while the new 5.3L V8 is estimated to beat Ford’s F-150 Ecoboost in fuel economy and towing capacity.
I have been on your site for a couple years now and don’t remember ever seeing this topic. Our issue is we have a 2007 Suburban with a 5.3 AFM (Active fuel management) motor that was burning 1 quart of oil per 600 miles. (Read More…)
Tycho, my Dutch friend in Beijing, scored the big one with his fake F150 story. After we wrote about it, everybody from Motor Trend to Pickupinfo.ru wrote about it as well, taking the Carnewschina.com server on a shakedown tour. Tycho does what a good journo needs to do: Feed the beast. He found even better pictures of the pseudo Ford. And he found imagery of its older brother. Which is a Chevy copypaste. (Read More…)
[UPDATE: GM responds to this piece here]
With environmentalist groups on the warpath over forthcoming 2017-2025 CAFE standards, trucks sitting on lots, and the Flint HD Pickup plant idled for much of the month, this is probably not exactly the moment GM might have chosen to put $328m into tooling for new full-sized pickups to be built at Flint. But time and the market wait for no company, and because the Silverado is GM’s single best-selling product, the investment isn’t tough to justify:
“Truck sales play an important role in the success of General Motors,” said Joe Ashton, UAW-GM Vice President. “We are confident that the next-generation of trucks will continue to be an important source of revenue for the company and jobs for our members
In case there’s any confusion though, GM is making perfectly sure nobody thinks they’re making any product choices because of union demands. At the investment announcement ceremony at Flint, Cathy Clegg, GM vice president of labor relations told Reuters [via Automotive News [sub]]
We certainly aren’t going to make a decision and make a commitment solely as a way of getting an agreement. If the market doesn’t drive it, we can’t do that
So, how is that truck market?
According to our data, the full-size pickup segment declined by 29.4 percent last year. Of all full-sized pickups, the Chevy Silverado lost the most volume, dropping 32 percent and an eye-popping 148,521 units compared to 2008. GMC Sierra dropped 33.6 percent, or about 56k units. Overall, GM shed half a million pickup sales last year, as its total truck sales fell to 1.2 million. When you’re losing that kind of volume in a shrinking segment, you know it’s time for a hold-em-or-fold-em moment. According to the Detroit News, GM is doubling down on its full-sized truck ambitions, allocating “several hundred million” of your tax dollars towards a re-working of the GMT 900-based trucks.
Thank you all for your input on my question. I took the truck to my mechanic and he gave it a good go over and could not find anything wrong. He was said it might be the heat shield on the exhaust system vibrating at that RPM however he could not find anything loose. I did get the transmission fluid changed and everything looked good there. Thanks to you and the readers of Piston Slap for all the good advice.
Not THIS HUMMER (that would be a bit of a stretch). But a HUMMER nonetheless. The Associated Press reports that “Data released late last week by the Department of Transportation shows that tens of thousands of trucks, minivans and SUVs with relatively low gas mileage were among the nearly 700,000 vehicles sold under the program in late July and August. It even included a handful of Hummers, a hulking vehicle not usually associated with fuel economy.” I guess the AP couldn’t say “including a big ass gas-guzzling military-themed HUMMER, the vehicle most reviled by people who thought (even for a second) that the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program’s real goal was improving the fuel efficiency of America’s automotive fleet to help reverse the irreversible catastrophe of global warming.” Now, there’s a lot of parsing and wrangling and finger-pointing to be done here, as usual. But let’s not lose sight of the salient fact: A HUMMER! Why not? Lest we forget, “for buyers of SUVs, pickups and minivans, that difference [between the trade-in and the new vehicle's mpgs] had to be only 2 mpg.”
In other news, the final sales numbers are out. The Chevy Silverado pipped the F-150 at the C4C post. The manly man’s pickup picked-up 16,330 sales, vs. 16,263 for the tuff enough [sic] F-150. What does that tell you? As the Silverado is a high profit vehicle for its nationalized manufacturer, the taxpayer-funded sales surge has certainly helped the taxpayer-funded automaker stay alive. How great is that? Oh, and HUMMER is still owned by GM, in case you (or GM’s management) forgot.