Forgotten in the industry’s excitement over a record year for Canadian auto sales was the challenging start to 2013.
Sales in 2012 had risen to a ten-year-high, and in each of the 2013’s first three months, sales were down, year-over-year. The predicted record sales level eventually materialized, but not in the first quarter.
U.S. sales of full-size trucks slid 4.5% in January 2014 as the two leading manufacturers of pickups reported falling sales of all their big trucks.
Typically the slowest month of the year for new vehicle sales, this past January should be no different, as the U.S. auto industry generated 32,000 fewer sales than it did one year ago. Although minivans, commercial vans, and the vast SUV/crossover segment all expanded, passenger car sales plunged, year-over-year, and truck volume declined, as well.
An imposing, expensive log home dominates a clearing, reclaimed from the rugged pine-infested wilderness that surrounds it. Smoke rises from the chimney, overlaying the picturesque mountain peak in the background. In front of the home, a man leans over the open engine bay of his obviously new truck. The chrome gleams, despite the trail mud artistically bespattered on the sides. As the camera zooms in, he looks up from the engine bay and smiles. His tousled hair, unshaven stubble, and harmonious blend of over-25-under-40 facial features comport well alongside his worn cowboy boots, perfectly soiled jeans and carefully rumpled flannel shirt. He wipes his hands with a rag, looks back at the house for just a moment, and then turns to the camera.
Among the pet segments that enthusiasts hold dear, none has been on a roll the way the mid-size truck market has been. News of the Chevrolet Colorado’s return, along with diesel and manual transmission options, have been greeted with the sort of fanfare that in the glossy buff book era would have been reserved for the newest European supercar.
But this is the age of the internet, the long tail and niches are able to thrive in cyberspace. Our coverage of the Colorado’s debut garnered hundreds of comments, and Phillip Thomas’ excellent analysis piece was our most popular article for a number of days (on the strength of this piece, Phillip will be back with more truck segment pieces).
While it’s easy for us to get excited about the Colorado, the numbers indicate a different story. The mid-size truck market has been in consistent decline, and the Colorado has an even tougher job than it did last time around if it wants to kickstart the segment all over again.
Business Insider wanted to know the buying habits of Americans when it comes to cars. Thus, they asked Kelley Blue Book to present their findings from data gathered between January and August 2013, as well as the lowest price for each top model sold in New York City in November of this year.
Today’s Ur-Turn comes from Phillip Thomas, the rallycross driver/Subaru guru/LeMons mechanic that saved our butts during our ill-fated LeMons attempt. Philip spends most of his time behind the wheel of a pickup truck, towing race cars, collecting parts cars and going about his daily business in various half-ton, three-quarter-ton and one-ton gas and diesel trucks. We asked him for his perspective on the new Chevrolet Colorado.
The Brazilians still call it the S10. Back in the day the S10, like the Ford Ranger, was the venerable American small truck. Modest, simple, hard working little trucklets that were still capable of respectable towing and hauling. And, as with the Ranger, it remained effectively unchanged for almost 25 years. In 2004, the Ford Ranger continued to soldier on into the abyss mostly unchanged, but Chevrolet decided it was time for a new compact.
With an 18,000-unit sales improvement in October, America’s pickup truck market again grew at a slightly quicker pace than the overall industry.
Big trucks are really quite good at being many things to many people. Consequently, many people buy big trucks. Sales of full-size trucks in the United States are up 23% this year as the overall industry has grown at an 8% clip. Big trucks are relatively affordable, more fuel efficient than they were in the recent past, and much more liveable than they were even a decade ago.
TTAC has learned that General Motors will unveil their next generation full-size SUVs at the Texas State Fair, which starts September 27th in Dallas.
The next-generation Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban as well as the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL will be unveiled there, according to a TTAC source. The next-generation Cadillac Escalade will be revealed at an unspecified later date.
An eagle-eyed reader sent us pictures of this Ford Global Ranger on the streets of Detroit. Reader bball40dtw claims that this version is “set up for diagnostic testing”. Nevertheless, don’t hold your breath. This thing is apparently 90 percent of the size of an F-150 and the price points are too similar.
U.S. sales of pickup trucks rose 19% in May 2013 despite the disappearance of 6175 Ford Rangers, Dodge Dakotas, Suzuki Equators, Chevrolet Colorados, and GMC Canyons.
So strong were sales of the remaining trucks that these deficits weren’t simply accounted for, they were overcome to the tune of 32,144 extra sales. Overall, the auto industry reported 108,594 more sales this May than last, according to Automotive News. That works out to an 8% improvement. More than a hundred passenger car nameplates combined to generate about 36,000 more sales in May 2013 than in May 2012.
I was born in Minnesota, my wife is from Wisconsin, and I have a job that ships me to the Upper Midwest several times per year. For all these reasons, I find myself in Door County every summer, eating cheese curds, drinking Spotted Cow, and going to vintage tractor shows. Last year, on my way to becoming a card-carrying Bitters Club member on Washington Island, I spotted these old General Motors survivors sitting in a field. (Read More…)
Lower gas prices and a turn-around in the housing market rekindled America’s love for the pickup, resulting in 2,000 new jobs at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant. (Read More…)
The Wall Street Journal‘s recent article on compact pickup trucks and rising gas prices has raised the tantalizing prospect of a return to the glory days of the compact pickups. But from what we hear, it would be premature to get your hopes up just yet.
The General attracted all kinds of flak for its growing inventory of full size trucks. When we raised the issue earlier in the year, we were chided for yellow journalism and blatant bias. Months later, the MSM woke up to the story, and when the Detroit News wrote that GM’s pickup truck inventory was “much higher than the less-than-100-day supply considered ideal for full-size pickups,” even the diehards accepted that the inventory may be a mite rich.
That problem just went away. Poof, gone, just like that. (Read More…)