By on March 6, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Image: Toyota

Nearly two and a half years since General Motors increased the number of offerings in the midsize pickup truck sector by two-thirds, and nine months since Honda revitalized its unique Ridgeline offering, we’re once again in need of new midsize pickup truck nameplates.

America’s pickup truck category began 2017 with a bang, growing by more than 7 percent and easily outpacing an industry that declined by more than 1 percent in the first one-sixth of 2017.

Yet virtually all of that growth — fully 90 percent — was fuelled not by midsize pickups but by the stalwarts: full-size trucks. 

Fortunately, midsize pickup truck sales growth continues, albeit at a far slower rate than we’ve become accustomed to seeing, despite a modest slowdown in Toyota Tacoma volume (Toyota is increasing Tacoma production to help meet demand) and a sharp downturn in Nissan Frontier sales.

GM’s twins — the midsize category’s second-ranked Chevrolet Colorado and the truck market’s lowest-volume pickup, GMC’s Canyon — combined for an 8-percent uptick over the course of January and February.

But with the Honda Ridgeline excluded from the equation, as it wasn’t on sale at this stage of 2016 and is undeniably distinct in mission, America’s midsize pickup truck sales have fallen 6 percent so far this year.

That’s a stunning turnaround for a group of vehicles that produced 61 percent of the overall truck market’s growth in 2017.

U.S. pickup truck sales growth chart 2017: Image: © The Truth About Cars

Full-size pickups certainly have the strength of character, and the ability to be deeply incentivized, to keep midsize pickup trucks cowering in the corner.

A broader range of capability and competitive fuel economy are just two of numerous easily identified reasons that point to full-size trucks’ 85-percent market share. Moreover, full-size pickup trucks were less costly this February than last: KBB says the average full-size pickup truck transaction price last month was down 2 percent compared with February 2016. Average midsize pickup truck transaction prices continue to rise, however, climbing 2 percent in February 2017, year-over-year.

These factors have been and will continue to be in place. Full-size pickup trucks will, just as they always have, tow and haul more while also capably handle greater passenger loads. Full-size pickup trucks will continue to be priced in such a way as to pressure midsize pickup trucks.

Yet there’s another factor. Midsize pickup truck demand continues to be reigned in by a dearth of available midsize pickup trucks.

2009 this is not. There were still 11 small and midsize pickup trucks on sale in America eight years ago: the current quintet plus contenders from Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Isuzu, Dodge, and Ford.

The Equator, Raider, B-Series, i-Series, Dakota, and Ranger disappeared; the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon eventually did, too. And in the lead-up to the launch of the current Colorado and Canyon, midsize pickup truck sales were falling even as the market surged and overall pickup truck demand increased. Through the first two-thirds of 2014, small/midsize pickup truck sales were down 4 percent.

But rather than diminishing the Toyota Tacoma’s success or limiting the Nissan Frontier’s appeal, the arrival of a new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon occurred in concert with record Toyota Tacoma volume in 2015 and 2016 and a 15-year high Nissan Frontier result in 2016.

There’s nothing that says the category can’t reclaim rapid growth in 2017. We’ve only seen two consecutive months of a severe slowdown in growth, and those two months form the weakest portion of the calendar for auto sales.

For the midsize truck category to once again be truly empowered as it was over the last 12-24 months, however, new product will once again be necessary. The next Ford Ranger is roughly two years away.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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94 Comments on “America’s Midsize Pickup Truck Sales Growth Is Suddenly Slowing – Oh, Ranger, Where Art Thou?...”


  • avatar
    kkop

    I’d have no problem trading my full-size for a mid-size, but they just don’t have the interior room I need. That, and the relatively small price difference (after incentives) makes me pick full-size.

    • 0 avatar
      focus-ed

      One can fool customers with the “choice” of “midsize” truck only so many times. I recently spotted a lowered, early 2000s F150. Looked sporty (maybe not a virtue for a work truck but fitting for the purpose of most of sold) and was sized about right (and back then the option to get something small was still on the table). What’s really missing in today’s market is a small truck that significantly undercuts full-size offering both in price and size. Just large enough to securely load drywall panels (without the need for a crane). Something to replace aging fleet of older Rangers, Tacomas, S10s etc. But since the pickups have become status symbol, the sensible option ain’t gonna happen.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        If VW wants to sell anything in this country, how about a Skoda mini truck, with 150 HP, 28 MPG and an 8-foot bed? Price it at about 15K, and give it a 100K warranty.
        They would sell like hotcakes.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          No, they’d sell like hamburgers. You’d see one in practically every driveway at that size and price.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            “You’d see one in every driveway at that size and price.”

            [Citation needed], yet again. How does that Skoda fare in a crash?

            (Not that I believe there isn’t a place in the market for a compact FWD unibody trucklet.)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You want a citation? Create an opinion poll and address it to people who currently own crossovers. That will give you a rough clue. I’d wager no less than 15% of crossover drivers would like an open bed in back without all the size of the current round of pickup trucks.
            Considering how the crossovers are now the single largest-selling type of vehicle across all brands, 15% of those would fall somewhere between the numbers of full-sized trucks and the current round of “mid-sized” trucks.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Those rocks look pretty shifty, and I would not drive upon them in my new truck!

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Might I suggest spreading that chart out to cover all three or so years of mid-size sales? The current chart doesn’t really give us much information on the growth (or lack of) over the lifetime of the current mid-size market.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I can’t believe we’re still two years away from a Ranger – a lot can happen in two years.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    The problem is price overlap between entries like Tacoma with V6 and mid-tier full size trucks. For example, in Atlanta market, I can find 4×4 Ram 1500 Big horn with leather interior and beautiful red exterior and chrome, and HEMI for 35k-40k. A Tacoma with V6 and leather runs for about the same price. Why would I buy a smaller, less luxurious Tacoma when I can get a full size RAM with luxurious interior for similar money? Particularly when gas is cheap. The discounts on Rams here can run as high as 12k on auto trader.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Because Toyota.

      Don’t ask me to explain it, I don’t get it either.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        When ever I go play around on Auto Trader to look at stock on dealer lots and advertised prices there’s no way I’d buy a new compact truck. But then I can live with a non-loaded truck.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Why would I buy a smaller, less luxurious Tacoma when I can get a full size RAM with luxurious interior for similar money?”

      Off-road prowess? Or because it fits in your garage?

      TBH, I don’t think the Taco and the RAM 1500 really serve the same market.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Maybe because the RAM is too big?

        And they’re not, which is why comparing them is so ridiculous. If someone wants a smaller truck, why force them into something they • don’t • want?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      For a certain subset of the market, the available 6spd, ground clearance, available rear locker, and overall offroad chops as well aesthetics make all the difference (regardless of whether they will actually use those offroad capabilities). Within a 2 block radius of me there are at least 4 2nd gen Tacos: 3 quad cabs and an access cab. 2 are TRD-Offroad package trucks, both with A/T tires on them. The Access cab is a nice shade of green, I think it is a 4cyl+manual judging by the sound, and has gnarly Goodyear Duratracs mounted on it. For reference I live in a yuppie neighborhood, i think the guy with the green Access cab raises chickens in his backyard. JK Unlimited Wranglers are also a favorite in the neighborhood, and there are two nice new dark blue 4Runner Trail Premiums in my near vicinity. So if anything I’d say perhaps many Tacoma shoppers are inherently NOT crossshopping fullsize trucks, they’re cross shopping Wranglers and more “lifestyle” vehicles. Again, a matter of aesthetics and preferences, not necessarily purely logically driven. The insane resale of both Wranglers and Tacomas/4Runners just sweetens the deal for folks shopping new.

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        gtemnykh, you are probably correct that there are capabilities (such as off road capabilities) that Tacoma brings that Ram 1500 (or any other American full sizer) doesn’t. Still, to me for a professional tradesman, space is the primary concern. For that market a full size truck is a must.

        IMO the looks of American full size trucks are just so right on. The chrome on mirrors, on wheels, on grill, that big rig look of Ram, and that luscious buttery beige and brown interior of Ram with chrome and wood, it is the old Caddy or Lincolns with their green and blue and red interiors reincarnated for our times. I am sure for some of us with those older tastes, and want for large and in charge, nothing other than big full size American trucks will do.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Like I said, it’s a matter of aesthetics for that particular niche. Outside of that particular environment, out here in Indiana it’s all fullsize domestics new and old, and I totally get the appeal. I guess I’m kind of walking a middle-line where I just wanted something cheap to buy and run and that I could commute in everyday, and a basic 4cyl stick shift compact truck scratched that itch. I won’t lie, part of the appeal was in the aesthetics of a bare bones regular cab trucklet without monster clearance and tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Agreed. I looked at the Tacoma in 2010 when I was truck shopping. The F150 I purchased after rebates was cheaper than a comparably equipped Tacoma. Towing and hauling was superior and interior room was vastly superior. MPG wasn’t that far off.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Tim,
    I mostly agree with your analysis of the midsize pickup market in the US.

    The single biggest factor(s) affecting the continued rate of midsize sales improvement is twofold, both inter-related.

    Price and number of competitive midsize offerings. Having a more competitive lineup of pickups is an easy fix, just remove the chicken tax.

    I do believe the load and tow capabilities whilst important are greatly overplayed. Most pickups sit in parking lots empty with unblemished beds and rarely tow to the limits of the pickup.

    Free up the pickup market and you will see continued growth, especially midsizers.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Here we go again. “Most pickups” based on your limited, biased and frankly idiotic observations.

      You CLEARLY have not been to or have seen any American or Canadian job sites. Logging operations. “Hot Shot” truckers. Farms. Horse shows/events. Large 5th wheel campers.

      In Euro-like Australia, you have to buy a medium duty truck like a Mitsubishi Cantor or an Isuzu Elf for that kind of hauling.
      We can buy a much cheaper, safer and more comfortable RAM/GM 3500 or Ford F-350 and do the same job. Haul 150 gallon off-road diesel fuel tank for fueling equipment in the field. Tool boxes that would crush your BT50 like a Fosters can. 5 grown-a§§ men, as in 2-300 lbs each, riding in the crew cab, industrial size water cooler, half a dozen chain saws. 100 gallon capacity air compressor, sometimes a welding machine.

      We don’t need a phucking train of midsize trucks to haul all of that, just a single 1-ton crew cab truck with a flatbed.

      How about a 40′ 5th wheel trailer loaded down with steel pipe? Do we need a semi truck? Nahh, just a pickup. Not a Tacoma or even a Tundra.

      A real truck.

      Imported mid size trucks from Thiland will NOT change that.

      It also won’t make midsize trucks any less expensive. How do I know? Because Tacomas built in Mexico cost the same as those built in Texas. One is far cheaper for labor, but it is not reflected in the price. It will be the same story if they came from Thailand instead of Mexico.

      So go on with your incoherent rambling about crap you made up to fit your opinions, its all but guaranteed. Can’t wait till your RobertRyan alias shows up to tell us how you’re right, we don’t understand trucks, and VW has never been better.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        JohnTortise,
        Well lets have a look at the half ton full sizes capabilities vs global midsize.

        Fullsize GVM – 5 tonnes to 7 tonnes
        Global Midize GVM – 6tonnes

        So, it is apparent globally a 6 tonne GVM is best suited for pickups. Discounting HDs, which have global equivalents for work.

        Now getting back to the guts of this article, the changing trend ie, slowdown of midsize sales. Read my original comment above.

        I can’t help it if 75% of pickups are daily drivers. You can continually forward your nationalistic paradigms, ie alternative facts from the Ozarks or the backblocks of West Virgina.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Let’s leave the GVM/GVWR out of it.

          They aren’t all apples to apples comparisons because those products aren’t sold here. You have no idea what they would be rated in the US. All we can do is go by what is currently on the market. Midsizers in the US typically have a GVWR of 5000-6200 lbs. The F150’s GVWR goes up to 17000 lbs.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Adam,
            It seems the US Colorado diesel is identical for towing as the global.

            Payload varies due to the “carlike” attributes many US 1/2 ton and midsizers are made to suit the daily driving/SUV large car/vehicle owners want.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Adam talk to Johnnie. His comment has little to do with the main jist of my comment.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – Every midsize pickup I’ve been in, rode like hell. But guess what the SAE or US DOT “equivalent” is in OZ (or anywhere in Africa, SE Asia)?

            Answer: There is none!

            If you look to find the who sets payload ratings in OZ, the highest road authority refers you back to what ever the manufacturer (or specifically their marketing) labels the trucks!!

            They obviously pull payload #’s out of their A$$!!!

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Adam Tonge
            I think you mean a GCVWR of 17,000lbs. GVWR of 7,000lbs

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            If BAFO wants to play the GVW game then lets look at payload.
            A Colorado has the best payload out of the small trucks at 1,800 lbs. You go to a crew 4×4 with options and that drops to 1,500 lbs or less. IIRC, the new Ridgeline is around 1,500. Tacoma IIRC is around 1,200 lbs.
            Ram 1500 has the poorest ratings. Crewcab 4×4’s are 1,000 to 1,800 if you go with plane jane fleet queens. GM 1500’s are 1,300 to 1,800 with better optioned trucks. Ford crew 4×4 is around 1,200 for Raptor and Limited. 1,800 lbs is average for their 1/2 ton crews 4×4’s.They max out around 2,500.(IIRC)
            The average male in the USA is 195 lbs. 4 in a pickup is 780 lbs. That does not leave much for cargo.
            My tool box with jacks, shovels, tow chains, cables, tow straps, saw, ax,automotive tools and survival/1st aid gear weighs 500 lbs.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAF0 – Of course, even if Ozzie Ute pickups have stiffer springs (they don’t), payload ratings should include a lot more factors.

            But then Caradvice.com did a Ute review/comparo of all 8 pickups available in Oz and a *funny thing* happened when it came to the “payload test”. To quote:

            “…struggled with its tray full, wandering and wobbling over bumps.”

            “…indecisive steering that was at first too quick to respond and then slow and heavy to correct.”

            “…you could feel the limit of the clever rear suspension over larger compressions.”

            “It couldn’t control the load imbalance, and as such it felt as though the rear was steering the front.”

            “Not a comfortable experience at all”

            What’s even funnier, most Oz Ute pickups are *rated* around 2,200 lbs payload.

            OK this test was with just 1,430 lbs!!!

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            caradvice.com.au/388419/ute-comparison-ford-ranger-v-holden-colorado-v-isuzu-d-max-v-mazda-bt-50-v-mitsubishi-triton-v-nissan-navara-v-toyota-hilux-v-volkswagen-amarok-2/

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Thanks for the link Denver Mike, interesting take on the pickups available down under and really shows just how much trolling comes out of certain peoples keyboards.

            It also highlights just how one of these trucks just wouldn’t come anywhere near meeting my needs. Once again this weekend I had my 8′ bed full and the back seat of my F250 crew cab full. There will also be several times per year that it will see 3,000 or 4,000lbs in the bed.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Scoutdude,
            The pickups tested are crew cabs, not Extra cabs or single cabs.

            US pickups confront the same physical challenges when a large portion of the load sits behind the rear axle.

            It’s physics!

            I don’t deny placing 2 200lbs on and behind the rear axle affects on road manners.

            Thanks for your considered input;)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Problem is, it is now impossible to put any significant portion of the load ahead of the rear axle in a crew-cab pickup. In making it comfortable for more passengers, the modern pickup has simply lost capability in load capacity and/or drivability. They’ve become an either/or, not a ‘both’, when it comes to hauling. Crew cabs should be limited to class 1 or 2 because when pushing class 3 you’re sacrificing safety for capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            I’m talking GVM. GVM is the weight of the vehicle, load and trailer.

            Read my comment above and you realise that 1/2 ton amd global midsize picksups are quite comparable in performance as load carriers.

            I suppose a US 24oz hammer weighs the same as a global 24oz hammer.

            We do have some midsizers that can carry 3 080lbs in the bed. This is a larger load than the bottom end of F250s and even one F350.

            Not bad. The trade off is a sh!t ride. The US, like Australia has 75% of pickups used as daily driving just cars.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – It’s the same old sh!t from you. 3,000+ lbs is no different than the 2,200 lbs, except on a totally stripped out, cab-N-chassis, regular cab, of course, 2wd, 4 cylinder gas,.

            At least you can get the *overload* over the axle, or close to it. Don’t forget to subtract for the weight of whatever bed you install ’cause that’s a “gross” payload.’

            But when it comes to crew cab, diesel 4X4s in Oz/Africa/etc, local payload figures are complete bullsh!t, even if you load the half a pallet of bricks, blocks, cement, sod, etc, ON THE BACK SEAT!

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Big Al, the problem is that the crew cab is the popular version so your mid size trucks turn out to be pretty useless as actual trucks they are nothing more than a large sedan with an open trunk.

            @Vulpine no you are completely backwards there, the crew cab shouldn’t be offered on the mid size trucks and super short bed 1/2 tons since you are compromising safety. Once you step out of the class 1 they don’t have the super short bed. That means that there is bed in front of the axle allowing at least part of the load to be over and in front of the axle instead of all behind it.

            There was a good reason why the US mfgs went decades of only offering the crew cab on class 3 trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            No, Scoutdude, I don’t have it backwards. Classes 1 and 2 are “light duty” trucks used more as big sedans rather than working trucks; as such their load capacity is somewhat limited by the number of people it carries. That small bed is ideal for that reason.

            The Class 3s you describe had much longer beds. Go look at photos of the old Dodge D200 crew cab. Moreover, the wheelbase is such that even WITH the crew cab, the rear axle is centered under the bed, not under the front end of the bed as we see with most modern crew cabs. Note that the Chevy above is an extended cab while the Tacoma has a shorty cab. Note also the axle placement in the chart linked earlier: http://cars.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e20147e39be5d5970b-pi
            The older Ranger extended cab has the rear axle directly beneath the center of the bed while BOTH crew cabs have the axle under the front third or quarter of the bed–throwing off the center of gravity under capacity load (assuming only driver and one passenger) very close to the axle itself and taking weight off the front suspension. This is a clear and present hazard to any driver intending to use such a vehicle as a “working truck.”

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Scoutedude,
            Not really.

            I do wish we were also offered more choices for assend springing. But our market isn’t large enough to warrant this.

            After market suspensions address this issue.

            Also, how many US midsize and even fullsize 1/2 ton pickups can tow a fifth wheel? This is a new and rapidly expanding market in Australia for floats and RVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            For floats I’d think they’d use Gooseneck trailers, not fifth-wheel due to the need for the largest-possible flat surface on which to build. Gooseneck doesn’t have the turning radius issues that fifth-wheel RVs present because of their squared-off corners hitting the cab in reversing maneuvers.
            • Here’s an image of the clearances typically needed: http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/QLKUWi6KsF4/hqdefault.jpg
            • Here’s an image of what I’m talking about as far as a fifth-wheel trailer behind a short-bed crew cab: http://www.rvbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/canyontrailwithtruck.jpg

            I’ve read of more than one instance where someone trying to back a fifth wheel trailer ends up hitting the corner of the cab, damaging both truck and trailer.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @BAFOon – “GVM” Gross Vehicle Mass or “GVW” Gross Vehicle Weight. That is part of the equation that is used to calculate payload. GVW minus tare or empty weight equals payload.

            Since you brought it up, that is the big problem with the Titan XD. You have a truck with a huge GVM/GVW and a correspondingly huge tare weight. That equals a poor payload.

            The point I’m making is the fact that there is a difference in payload. There is also a difference in interior space and comfort. There isn’t much of a difference in price or MPG.

            You say small trucks are just as capable. They are not.
            Can you fit 5 adults comfortably in a small truck? Only for short jaunts but not an 800 km trip. Any small truck fit 6 passengers? Tacoma is the best seller but can only carry around 1,200 lbs including passengers.

            Small trucks have their place. I like them and am all for them. The only place where they are superior to a large truck is if you consider a smaller size to be a benefit and if you feel a few mpg is a big bonus.

            I’m sure you will say that people don’t need full sized pickups. Well, if they don’t need a big one, they sure as h3ll don’t need a 9/10ths truck.

            Oh and to your reply to ScoutDude – adding more springs or altering suspension does not increase a vehicle’s rated cargo capacity. If a stock vehicle cannot handle its ratings then it wasn’t properly engineered.
            I’ve seen max tow/haul F150’s pulling small fifth wheel trailers. To fit gross combined weight ratings and not exceed truck GVW, they don’t tend to be very big. An 8,000 lb trailer would put 2k weight on the truck assuming 25% pin weight which is acceptable for a Heavy tow/haul F150.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “I’m sure you will say that people don’t need full sized pickups. Well, if they don’t need a big one, they sure as h3ll don’t need a 9/10ths truck.”

            Which is why we go right back to some people’s desire for a ¾-size truck, not a 9/10ths or full-size truck.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Nothing to see here. Production is maxed out for the major players in this segment. So, until additional capacity is added, or a new player like the ranger goes on sale, the segment will appear flat.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I think you’re right on the money Prado. Toyota is expanding their Tacoma lines like crazy. “Ancient” Frontier sales are the best they’ve been in a decade, GM twins do not seem that discounted. Local dealer has a pair of Z71 diesels, list of $40kish, being sold for $36k. In that particular case I can see why they haven’t sold with cheaper Silverados on the lot, but in general it seems like they’re doing quite well.

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      Or, if more people are like me (and I suspect that is the case), they look at the current crop of mid-size trucks and realize that for the size and price, I might as well buy a full-size. Which is exactly what I did.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      Gold star for Prado! Toyota and GM are both essentially maxed out on mid-sized truck production so until someone else introduces something new onto the market we’re going to see limited growth

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Acd,
        To add additional pickups into the US market is a huge investment due to the inability to allow imports to fill the void.

        VW stated for it to set up Amarok production it needs to have a 100 000 sales off the block to offset investing in factory, plant, equipment, workers, etc to operate a US facility.

        Why not just allow pickup trucks to be imported? This will reduce the 25% margin on US made pickups and offer the US consumer multiple choices.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          There’s not a 25% “margin” on Titans, Frontiers, Tundras, Colorados, etc, is there? WTF you talkin’ about??

          VW says a lot of things. When isn’t it all bullsh!t??? First they know it would be a slow seller, when not cannibalizing their highly profitable cars, CUVs etc, and that’s after federalizing the trucks. There’s always CKD kits if VW was serious.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “There’s not a 25% “margin” on Titans, Frontiers, Tundras, Colorados, etc, is there? WTF you talkin’ about??”

            Yes, there is. Any truck built in the US tends to have a 25% or larger margin built into the price. How else can OEMs afford to subtract as much as $10K off the sticker price and still make a profit?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “Any truck built in the US tends to have a 25% or larger margin…”

            Actually *ONLY* if they happen to be fullsize and from Ford, GM or Ram. The rest? Definitely not.

            Hint: It has nothing to do with where they’re built.

            Hint 2: Nissan Titan.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “built into the price. How else can OEMs afford to subtract as much as $10K off the sticker price”

            Which means it’s all profit and as such part of the profit margin on a truck.

  • avatar
    sutherland555

    Saw quite a few Rangers when i was in Panama in January. They’re nice looking trucks and seem almost as large (4/5s? 9/10s? scale) as an F-150.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      sutherland555,
      I would like to see the 2.7 Ecoboost in the Aussie Rangers.

      The Ranger is quite an attractive pickup. We are fortunate in Australia the little d!ck big rig grilles have not taken hold.

      The 2.7 EcoThirst might only get 16-17mpg in real life, but it will suit some of our urban rednecks who want more power over the 3.2 diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      That has been the problem, they damn near are the same size as an F-150, also known as the Henry Cash Cow. Ford didn’t want to put a noose around their Cash Cow’s neck with the Ranger. Seeing how well the GM twins have done, they are more open to the idea.

      The problem is when the Ranger arrives, it won’t be much smaller or much cheaper (if at all) than the F-150. Most will still choose the half tons, but the Ranger will appeal to those who like the idea of a smaller truck, even if it isn’t a whole lot smaller than the next step up.

      See, Toyota’s cash cow is the Tacoma, the Tundra is their red headed step child. Only the Toyota faithful who don’t really need, just *want* a big expensive Toyota full size. That’s why you see them looking all shiny and new after 7 years (of commuter duty) while the F-150 is scratched up, dented, and has 3x the miles.

      Oh but the Tundra is more reliable! Tell that to the contractors and service companies that buy trucks for actual work. They are NOT as brand loyal as people here claim. Its not uncommon at all to see a fleet with a healthy mix of the big 3’s work trucks. Often it’ll clearly be group buys at different times, like you will see a dozen Rams from one generation, then Ford’s from years later, obviously the group’s were not purchased at one time.

      They are quick to turn their backs when something like is defective on damn near all models, such as the Navistar 6.0L/6.4L diesels in previous Ford Super Duty turning many fleets to GM or Ram only. And some years, the Cummins was known for failures and many turned their backs on Dodge/Ram after decades of history with them. Spending $10k + to fix a 4 year old truck(s), even ones worked like a borrowed mule, will make anyone change their way of thinking.

      But back to the Tundra, how do you explain why you rarely if ever see them used as work trucks, even people and companies that don’t use HDs (half tons only, like Terminex and their F-150s)?

      I see some used by private individuals towing a light landscaping trailer that wouldn’t really stress a Tacoma. An occasional boat being towed, except the the boat is small enough it could have been carried in or on the truck itself.

      When you see one with a few hay bails on a trailer, it looks like the truck is trying to tow a house it’s so stressed. Sagging in the back. Nose high in the air. Doing 10-15 mph under the speed limit.

      Its easy to suck up to Consumer Reports when your big, tough, manly, strong, hardcore TuRD is used like a Corolla. Its just like a big, ugly, bad MPG Corolla S automatic.

      Just like the “sporty body ground effects” and other meaningless add ons on that car, the Tundra is all show and no go. But even the show is ugly, undeservingly arrogant and pretentious.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “But back to the Tundra, how do you explain why you rarely if ever see them used as work trucks, even people and companies that don’t use HDs (half tons only, like Terminex and their F-150s)?

        I see some used by private individuals towing a light landscaping trailer that wouldn’t really stress a Tacoma. An occasional boat being towed, except the the boat is small enough it could have been carried in or on the truck itself.

        When you see one with a few hay bails on a trailer, it looks like the truck is trying to tow a house it’s so stressed. Sagging in the back. Nose high in the air. Doing 10-15 mph under the speed limit.”

        Sorry John but I’ll have to take you to task here.

        The Tundra’s strength if anything is the very practical “real” hauling ability, specifically in the realm of having stiff enough leaf springs to not sag excessively when carrying a large load in the bed. The C-channel frame with the famous “bed jiggle” video that followed is what allows for that stiff leaf pack while maintaining reasonable passenger comfort. I’d say Toyota probably doesn’t cut as sweet of fleet deals and has not benefited from commercial users. Although I will say that the local “Bone Dry Roofing” outfit runs a mixed fleet dominated by Tundras.

        They’re thirsty beasts, but the strong NA motors, massively overbuilt components within the context of half-ton standards (rear axle, t-case, transmission, brakes, suspension/steering parts) make them perfectly good haulers. In fact when hauling big loads, that nominally thirsty 5.7 more or less evens out with most competing motors when really stressed. Enviable reliability/durability track record, insanely strong resale, there’s a lot to like about Tundras IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Yeah. My late father-in-law was lamenting about how the Fords, Chevys and others were being replaced by Tundras in Pennsylvania farm country.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I don’t get the Tundra hate. I don’t have much experience with the 2G, but my father’s 1G served him well and it didn’t spend its life doing basic “Corolla” duty either. Although being in the Sun Belt probably didn’t hurt.

          The biggest two problems with the Tundras are that they use ALL THE GAS and they don’t have the lofty capacity numbers of the competition (which is why my father now has a different truck).

          Still, if your needs are within its limits I don’t see any reason to cross it off the list.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            ajla As I recall Toyota is one of the few to use SAE towing/payload specs that were agreed upon by all the manufacturers (in 2013ish) but that almost all pulled out except Toyota. I’d say the proof on the ground if you spend some time poking around the 2G trucks in terms of the overbuilt components and said thirsty (but powerful) 5.7 is that they’re every bit as capable and robust (arguably more so in certain areas) as competitors, Toyota seems to prefer to under-promise and over-deliver. Of course the aluminum bodied Fords with the torque-rich 3.5 Ecoboost are hard to argue against in terms of payload/towing, but it’s not like Toyota is the laggard in the field overall. Yeah if they implemented cylinder cutoff and slapped on low hanging aero crap they’d pick up a few highway mpg, but I personally prefer the stake in retaining offroad-friendly clearance and long term engine durability/reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        There are several reasons why Tundra isn’t used as a fleet truck. Durability isn’t really an issue. They want lowest bid. Toyota hasn’t traditionally chased that market with the Tundra. Another reason is availability. If a big company buys 100’s or even 1,000’s of trucks at a time, Tundra isn’t going to fill that order.
        Another aspect is up-fitter accessories. A company can justify developing custom pickup accessories that sell in the volumes that the F150 but not at the sales volume you see with a Tundra.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You really have to hate “Big 3” pickups. But Tundra reliability, I hear is pretty bad, especially when punished as one would a “Big 3” half ton.

          Mostly it’s BAFO’s “75%’ers” that buy Tundras. They’re not normally “Truck Guy/Gals”.

          Except I would totally recommend a Tacoma! It’s as if they’re built by different brands altogether. My mom bought a new Tundra (babies it), after owning a few Tacomas. The thing’s a complete lemon.

          “Anecdotal” blah, blah, blah, but I guarantee her next truck is an F-150, after watching me beat on my F-150 day after day (older with lots more miles than her Tundra) and have never had no problems, zero. Oil changes a 40K miles, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “Oil changes a 40K miles”

            I was reading your weird rambling post and then got to this and it all made sense.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gte,
            Denver has an addiction problem. He is quite artful in conveying alternative facts based on the level of contaminants obscuring reality.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        “But back to the Tundra, how do you explain why you rarely if ever see them used as work trucks, even people and companies that don’t use HDs (half tons only, like Terminex and their F-150s)?”

        John, it’s not that unusual here in the Dallas area to see a Tundra used as a work truck by a small business or independent contractor. What’s unusual is to see a whole fleet of Tundras purchased by a large business. My best guess is that Toyota isn’t price competitive in fleet sales and they lack some features large customers want, but individuals will buy a Tundra and put it to work if they get one at a good price.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @George B – that basically sums it up. I know a stone mason who buys a “new” used pickup every two years for his business. Ironically, after every Ram he owns, the next truck is always a Tundra.
          Most of the guys I know need more capacity than what a Tundra offers. I know quite a few who’ve said that they’d buy a Tundra 3/4 ton in a heart beat.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        >That has been the problem, they damn near are the same size as an F-150,

        Actually, the midsize Ranger is still closer in size to the old compact model than the F-150. This chart uses the 09-14 model, but all dimensions are essentially the same for a 15+ F-150. For ’97-03 models, remove 6″ from WB and OAL. The new Ranger might be longer in the front, but with all other dimensions mostly unchanged.

        http://cars.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e20147e39be5d5970b-pi

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          While closer to the last generation of Ranger than the F-150, the chart does give the lie to some of your statement: The Global Ranger has a longer wheelbase combined with a shorter bed when the F-150’s bed is already shorter than ideal; the older Ranger’s bed is longer and more functional than even a modern F-150.

          However, even the last-generation Ranger is notably larger than the first-generation Ranger, which was notably larger than the old Ford Courier. This is the complaint of everyone who remembers and WANTS a true, compact, pickup truck. I can live with my ’90s vintage model, I’m actually taller than it is. But the newer model Canyon, for instance, even without 4×4, is notably taller than me which goes a long ways towards showing how much bigger they are. And regretfully the full sized trucks have grown so large that they’re near-impossible to maneuver in tight quarters.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Vulpine,
            As large as fullsize pickups are they are suitable in most suburban and rural applications.

            As the fullsize pickup is primarily a large family hack (75%) and the US has built most of its road infrastructure around large vehicles, fullsize pickups can manage most situations.

            Poorer off road perfomance is a let down with fullsize pickups, along with inner city living or wanting to park in your garage in some instances.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            But not Suburban-to-Urban environments which is where the CUV tends to be more popular.

            I have never said that compact pickups are ideal or even desirable for ALL circumstances; what I have said is that full-sized and even modern mid-sized trucks are NOT desirable for all circumstances. There are those who need and want bigger; there are those who need and want smaller. Right now we have very little choice in the States with Big and BIGGER… and nothing smaller.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Vulpine,
            Midsize pickups have their limitations as well. Size is one.

            Even though most (75%) could get by with a midsizer, many opt for the larger sized pickups.

            The most salient justification I see for full size ownership is mostly subjective, based heavily on nostalgia and emotion.

            Fullsize pickups are nice, but as I pointed out, not a necessity, even for many business operators (this will raise some hackles). The rest of the business world seems to exist without them.

            Fullsize pickups are as they are due to regulatory/technical/tariff protectionism and culture.

            Bring in boatloads of cheaper imported pickups and you will see business adapt to their use in lieu of fullsize pickups.

            Even 75% of the daily driving pickup market will adjust to more midsizers.

            The midsize pickup will not displace the fullsize, but would reduce their numbers enough to have fullsize manufacturers along with the UAW fight tooth and nail to retain the chicken tax.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Midsize pickups have their limitations as well. Size is one.”
            • Didn’t say they don’t. What I said is that not everybody needs or wants a larger size.

            “Even though most (75%) could get by with a midsizer, many opt for the larger sized pickups.”
            • That falls under “wants.”

            “The most salient justification I see for full size ownership is mostly subjective, based heavily on nostalgia and emotion.”
            • In other words, ‘Ego’.

            “Fullsize pickups are nice, but as I pointed out, not a necessity, even for many business operators (this will raise some hackles). The rest of the business world seems to exist without them.”
            • I would note that many of those business operators used to have compact trucks in their fleets. Pest control services was a primary user of more compact trucks.

            “Fullsize pickups are as they are due to regulatory/technical/tariff protectionism and culture.”
            • BINGO!

            “Bring in boatloads of cheaper imported pickups and you will see business adapt to their use in lieu of fullsize pickups.”
            • BINGO again!

            “Even 75% of the daily driving pickup market will adjust to more midsizers.”
            • Don’t you mean compacts?

            “The midsize pickup will not displace the fullsize, but would reduce their numbers enough to have fullsize manufacturers along with the UAW fight tooth and nail to retain the chicken tax.”
            • The mid-sized pickup isn’t having any effect on the full-size market. A true compact, however, would very probably decimate the mid-sized market and eat into the CUV market.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Big all the big size difference is for the cabs: a crewcab pickup has in many cases taken the place of the family road trip car. A massive fullsize crew cab has immense amounts of rear seat space in terms of width and legroom. A Tacoma/Colorado by comparison, are adequate for shorter trips but cramped in the context of being the main family vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gte,
            I fully agree.

            But most rear seat occupants are the kids. A midsize (most) will suffice.

            We have a new F150 Crew Cab and at most we only have a driver and passenger. Not a bad vehicle to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Ah but there’s a difference between “massive amount of space” and “will suffice.” You can have three kids with elbow room, the dog, a bunch of toys and other junk for the kids in the back of a fullsize. Midsize like you said will technically fit, but will not be anywhere as comfortable, especially not for all-day drives.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Ah but there’s a difference between “massive amount of space” and “will suffice.”

            BRAVO gtemnykh.

            If I bought a small crewcab truck in 2010 I’d have to look for a full sized truck now. My son’s are 13 and 15. The oldest is 5’9″. They have been in size 12 shoes for a year now and are still growing. Add trying to fit dogs in the cab along with typical vacation gear.

            I’ll probably go back to a small truck once my kids are out on their own but until then, not likely.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            That’s why most pickups are daily drivers, even here in Australia where they have displaced the large family sedan.

            Bravo, Lou.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Big Al from Oz – trucks become daily drivers because most people cannot afford more than one or two vehicles. With that being the case, then it makes the most economic sense to buy the most versatile vehicle for the price you can afford. There isn’t much out their that can beat a full sized crewcab.
            I daily drive my truck because of that very reason. It isn’t in my budget to have another vehicle. Some would say I’d be better served with a beater but they cost money to operate and insure. Years ago I got into that very debate with a few buddies who were anti-new vehicle. I was able to prove to them that my brand new truck was cheaper over one’s operational life than their beater brigade.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – It’s also true most car owners could get by most of the time with subcompacts. So what’s your point?

            If a particular market only had subcompacts, and there’s never really been anything else, most would deal with it OK, similar to how yourself and some others in Oz are OK with midsize Ute pickups.

            When you have to make several trips to accomplish what a US 1/2 ton to dually pickup can do in just one trip, it is what it is.

            Fullsize pickups are what’s the “norm” in the US, North America, unless you’re hung up on having a smaller vehicle, even if it costs the same as fullsize, with the same MPG.

            If you had an honest “choice”, most in Oz would eventually gravitate to fullsize pickups. Common frickin’ sense. Until that happens, enjoy your midsizers mate.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @gtemnykh
            I know here many are very happy with the Global 1 Tonners, especially when you go off road a lot. They are the most popular ” cars” sold in Australia. US imported Pickups CrewCabs or otherwise have only one person in the Cabin. 1 Tonners 1-2

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “I know here many are very happy with the Global 1 Tonners, especially when you go off road a lot. They are the most popular ” cars” sold in Australia. US imported Pickups CrewCabs or otherwise have only one person in the Cabin. 1 Tonners 1-2”

            Huh? Are you saying your anecdotal evidence of a few American fullsizers that you saw with only the driver inside trumps the buying tendencies of literal millions here in the US?

            My anecdotal evidence: camping on Lake Michigan, the standard setup seemed to be a family of four/five (and sometimes a dog) with a late-model domestic crewcab towing a 26 foot camper. My wife (gf at the time) and I just had a tent that we packed in a sedan, but I can see in due time we too will end up with a fullsize truck or SUV, I grew up tent-camping as a kid, but I certainly see the appeal of at least a pop-up camper.

  • avatar
    Dashboard89

    I drive a four banger small truck. Primarily because they are fairly reliable and obscenely easy to work on.

    Not really sure where that puts me, but I could never really see me in a full size truck. I just prefer smaller-ish vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      I’m with you there, and we aren’t the only ones. My old Toyota SR5 2WD can move anything that I can fit in the back, and tow a car on a tow dolly as well. It’s paid for itself several times over, and repairs are simple and parts are ridiculously cheap.
      It can double as a second (or 3rd) vehicle for commuting, without paying a penalty in gas mileage.
      There are plenty of choices for larger trucks on the market, but no smaller trucks at all. Not so long ago every major brand sold 4-cylinder pickup trucks, and they were very popular. Whoever decides to fill this market gap now is going to make a killing.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        This is why I’m going this route as well. I already have a number of hauling tasks lined up for my yet-to-be-bought trucklet, including taking a load of firewood down from my in-laws, getting a load of gravel to make a parking pad, getting a load of topsoil to start a garden, getting some mulch for landscaping. And I also intend to make said truckl my daily commuter. Part of me wonders whether going up to a fullsize (basic 90s Chevy or Ford) would have been worth it in terms of less stress when hauling, but I think I will manage. I really like the way a 4cyl/5spd compact truck zips around town.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Mitsubishi has the most to gain by joining in and selling a pickup truck in USA and Canada. Triton/L200 is smaller than the Tacoma, Colorado, Frontier and Ridgeline. It is very rugged and dependable design. Keep it simple and sell it for less than all the competitors.
    Mitsu requires a minimal sales volume to deliver a return on investment and then profit. If they partnered with FCA perhaps assembly of complete knockdown kits could be completed at an FCA North American plant in return for a version to be sold as Ram or FIAT. FIAT already sells a Fullback branded version of Triton in some markets.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I would love to see this happen. And if they get their foot in the door with the Triton, I figure a return of the Montero Sport could be in the cards as well. Alas, Mitsu’s US arm seems more focused on swoopy CUVs (not a bad move, given how hot that space is). Then again in this age of cheap gas, truck/SUV sales are extraordinary as well with the 4Runner cresting 100k annual units for the first time in a while, and as noted here midsize trucks are a hot thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        gte,
        The Triton is built lighter than it’s competition. I don’t view the Triton as a strong off roader.

        The Triton is built to a price. It is an example of getting what you pay for.

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