The time is ticking ever closer to the day an OEM slaps a $100,000 MSRP on a truck. It will happen, and it won’t be long before it does.
In 1997, $27,000 bought a lavishly equipped F-150 Lariat SuperCab with a 5.4-liter V8. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $40,000 in today’s money. Adjusted for reality, that truck now carries a $45,000 MSRP. The $100,000 barrier will be crossed in perhaps a decade based on inflation alone, but inflation will not deliver the first $100,000 truck. Trim escalation and new equipment will cross the finish line first.
Regardless, OEMs won’t be the first to push MSRPs into the stratosphere. That distinction goes to the aftermarket, in conjunction with dealers. And, unsurprisingly, together they’ve already made a $100,000 pickup a reality.
General Motors will test the coastal waters with mild-hybrid versions of its 1500-series trucks beginning this spring, the automaker announced Thursday.
A total of 500 Chevrolet Silverado and 200 GMC Sierra eAssist trucks will be sold exclusively to granola-fed Californians. GM claims the trucks are good for a 13-percent boost in city fuel efficiency, the natural habitat of the vinyl trading, furniture refinishing, kale-eating millennials hopefully interested in a full-size domestic pickup.
The latest effort is unlike GM’s earlier foray into utilitarian electrification, which employed a two-mode hybrid system on GM’s full-size pickups and SUVs jointly developed with BMW and the former DaimlerChrysler. The new, modular eAssist system will rely on a small lithium-ion battery providing electrons to a 13 horsepower compact induction electric motor. The system adds electric power boost, stop/start capability, and regenerative braking to equipped pickups.
Ford announced Thursday that it had earned a record pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion for 2015 — including $2 billion in the fourth quarter — bolstered by pickup sales in the U.S. and strong growth in China.
The record-setting year for the automaker wasn’t much of a surprise — second- and third-quarter results set records along the way — but Ford’s ability to finally turn a profit in Europe may be the most unexpected news. The automaker had lost money in Europe since 2011.
Latin America, notably Brazil, will continue to be a sore spot for Ford and other automakers. Ford said Thursday it expects to lose more money there in 2016 than the $832 million it lost there in 2015.
After delaying its Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon diesel trucks for a “final validation” issue, General Motors said Tuesday that the trucks would be on their way to dealers.
“The highly anticipated 2016 GMC Canyon diesel has begun shipping to dealers. We look forward to getting these trucks in the hands of our customers and appreciate their patience,” GMC spokeswoman Kelly Wysocki said in a statement.
Earlier this month we reported that people who ordered the truck — in some cases as far back as August — said GM was delaying delivery. A GM spokesman said the trucks were delayed due to a “final validation” issue. GM didn’t specify what the “final validation” issue was with the trucks, nor did they say why they were delayed. (Read More…)
Nissan announced Tuesday that its 2016 Titan XD would start at $41,485 (including $1,195 destination) for the S Crew Cab 4×2 model. The top-of-the-line Platinum Reserve Crew Cab 4×4 will start at $61,715.
The pricing places the diesel-powered Titan XD firmly in the middle between the Big Three’s light-duty and heavy-duty trucks. For example, Ram’s 1500 Tradesman Crew Cab 4×2 with its 3-liter diesel engine costs $36,940, according to Ram. A heavy-duty 2500 Ram Limited 4×4 with a 6.7-liter diesel engine starts at $64,215.
The Nissan Titan XD is a heat-seeking missile aimed in between truckmakers’ light- and heavy-duty offerings, apparently. (Read More…)
Nissan announced Tuesday that its new Titan and Titan XD pickups will be powered by an all-new 5.6-liter V-8 that makes 390 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The new V-8 replaces the aging mill that produced 317 hp and 385 pound-feet of torque.
According to Nissan, the new V-8 — dubbed Endurance — will be built at the automaker’s Decherd, Tennessee powertrain assembly that produces all powertrains for vehicles assembled in the U.S.
(Apparently, Nissan’s announcement broke the automaker’s press site. The site went down shortly after the announcement.) (Read More…)
Ford announced Tuesday that it would spend $1.3 billion to retool, update and build a new body shop for its Louisville, Kentucky plant, which produces its Super Duty truck and large SUVs.
The announced spending, which will create 2,000 jobs at the plant, is part of Ford’s new contract with the United Auto Workers — and part of the automaker’s last deal with the UAW, according to Automotive News.
The investment will create an all-new body shop for the aluminum-bodied truck scheduled to go on sale late next year. With an all-new shop, production of the outgoing truck can continue while the new shop gets online, which could help the automaker avoid another shortage when the redesigned truck hits dealers.
Making its debut at the 2015 Dubai Motor Show, the Fiat Fullback will be playing its first season in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa next May.
The Fullback — a rebadged Mitsubishi L200 — takes its name from the position found in rugby, soccer, and American football. Its purpose: to help Fiat break into the medium-duty pickup segment in the aforementioned EMEA market, where 675,000 units from the likes of Ford, Toyota and Mitsubishi were sold in 2014.
In Part One we looked at Clessie Cummins’ development of the first practical and reliable diesel truck engines and his earliest attempts to race diesels in the Indy 500. Though he had succeeded in developing the technology, he still hadn’t achieved the ultimate proof of concept that market success brings. (Read More…)