Editorial: Someone Is Making Money In Mid-Size Trucks

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
editorial someone is making money in mid size trucks

Hats off to Toyota. With the release of the revised 2016 Tacoma, they sit ready to be both the reigning king of the mid-size truck market, and the auto maker that is best positioned to profit off this niche segment.

Serious observers of the industry agree that mid-size trucks don’t matter. Once a popular segment, they have been on an inexorable decline in recent years.

Just over a decade ago, the Ford Ranger accounted for 226,000 units alone. Today, the entire mid-size truck market is worth roughly 225,000 units, in a truck market worth about 1.7 million units, and an overall market of over 17 million units. T he Toyota Tacoma sold 155,000 units, making up 6 percent of the truck market, down 2.8 percent from 2013. The second place Nissan Frontier sold just 74,000 units.

A new look and some incremental improvements in fuel economy may be all that’s needed – especially with gas at record lows. The GM mid-sizers might be better trucks in an objective sense, but much of the Taco’s appeal in key markets like California likes in the fact that it’s not a domestic truck. In the same way that California surf bros wouldn’t be caught dead driving an American truck, the heartland truck consumer won’t entertain the idea of a mid-size import truck – and in the most important pickup markets, that will forever doom them to irrelevancy, since a domestic full-size truck represents a better value and a better badge.

Reaction to the new Tacoma was muted on this site and elsewhere, with many wondering if it was just a refresh of the current model. But why would Toyota do anything else? The Taco has been the top dog in the mid-size truck market for over a decade. Toyota is even

Join the conversation
15 of 163 comments
  • Spike_in_Brisbane Spike_in_Brisbane on Jan 10, 2015

    I always get sucked in to comment when pickups are discussed. I don't know why because it's been decades since I owned a Rodeo. Pickups in the US are huge but they are also cheap, roads are roomy and parking spaces are designed to cater for them. We have somewhat similar conditions in Oz and I am sure if the big buggers were available here for similar prices they would sell like donuts. BUT these monsters are only built in LHD and cost double once converted. Hence we are stuck with the global mid size trucks. Having said that, Ford Australia did most of the design for the new Ranger which is cheaply built in Thailand. It always beats the Colorado in reviews and would probably outsell it in the States but would never seriously threaten the F-series.

    • See 8 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jan 12, 2015

      @Lie2me, Just added this before you submit another asinine retort; "The Wakefern Food Corporation, founded in 1946 and based in Keasbey, New Jersey, U.S.,[1][2] is the largest Retailers' co-operative group of supermarkets in the United States and largest employer in New Jersey (36,000 workers)." "Wakefern owns one of the Northeast's largest trucking fleets and is the fourth-largest cooperative in the United States.[4] In 2014, its revenue was $14.7 billion." So they buy from Walmart??? It seems they are supplying third parties with wholesale items. "Wakefern supplies all of its members' ShopRite stores as well as the PriceRite (founded in 1995) and The Fresh Grocer chains. In July, 2007, the cooperative announced that for the first time, it was offering its wholesale services to third-party supermarket operators, in the Northeastern United States and other areas of the country. Since then, Wakefern has announced deals to supply the Gristedes and Morton Williams chains of supermarkets in the New York City area, Heinen's Fine Foods chain in Ohio, as well as The Market Place in Bermuda" I can see why many of your comments on TTAC are snide and juvenile. You seem to have as much of the auto-industry as retailing in the US.

  • SnarkyRichard SnarkyRichard on Jan 13, 2015

    @ PonchoIndian . The Toyota frames that rotted were made by an American company called Dana . And it will be a cold day in H E double toothpicks when I buy another GM vehicle since my first two cars were GM and total junk ! Not to mention my Dads's brand new 69 and 74 Chevy pickups rusting way into nothingness !

    • See 3 previous
    • PonchoIndian PonchoIndian on Jan 14, 2015

      @SnarkyRichard Snarky Please provide some source for this lawsuit Your argument still doesn't hold much water if you just open your eyes a litte. HighDC, The GC that you bitch about being a POS that you gave to a daughter or grand daughter? The way you say you don't have money when you are buying people in your family cars and then buying $50K cars for your immediate household like it's nothing?

  • RICK Once had 78 TOWN COUPE and wish I had never let it go! Ultimate OTT excessive luxury! Have since had RWD FLEETWOODS, RWD Fifth Avenues ,as well as 89 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series and current 2007 TOWN CAR Signature Limited! All great cars, but 77 through 79 was KING 🤴 of the road! So sad to see what is now considered a luxury vehicle 😢. Who wants to drive a glorified truck 🚚?
  • Kwik_Shift There are better cars to drop $80G on.
  • 28-Cars-Later Opulence!
  • Kwik_Shift If there is no 2WD Access Cab with 6 speed manual, then I'm not interested.
  • RedDevil Radio Garden is my go to for long trips.Thousands of radio stations all over the worldfor free as long as you have internet. Sure beats hunting for the one or two decent stations in most areas.