By on November 16, 2017

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro - Image: ToyotaAs global markets greet new players such as the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and as the North American market prepares to welcome back (later rather than sooner) the Ford Ranger, midsize pickup trucks are no longer making any headway in the United States of America.

In fact, October 2017 sales of five midsize pickup trucks (Tacoma, Colorado, Frontier, Ridgeline, Canyon) declined 4 percent. Given the rapid growth rate of full-size pickup trucks — six nameplates jumped 10 percent in October, year-over-year — it’s not surprising to see midsize truck market share fall. Through the first ten months of 2017, midsize trucks own 16 percent of America’s pickup truck market, down from 17 percent in 2016.

And in October, the midsize category’s share of America’s truck market slid to 15 percent. Is this what Ranger, Raider, Equator, Dakota, and B-Series dreams are made of?

USA midsize pickup truck market share chart 2017 - Image: The Truth About CarsEach of the midsize pickups that slowed in October did so for different reasons. Toyota continues to wish for more Tacoma supply, and the company has acted and is continuing to act to source that supply in Texas and Tijuana. Tacoma sales slid only marginally, just 4 percent, in October. Sales of its big brother, the Tundra, rose 5 percent, on the other hand.

General Motors reported a 4-percent drop in sales of its midsize twins, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Yet after a slow start to the year for the midsize twins’ big brothers, sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are now rising, and quickly. Total Silverado/Sierra volume was up was up 11 percent last month, as the full-size trucks’ affordability and capability surely hamper midsize demand. Silverado/Sierra outsold Colorado/Canyon by nearly six-to-one in October.

The Nissan Frontier’s downturn continued in October with a 2-percent drop to 6,219 units. Though still a substantially more popular truck than its Nissan Titan sibling, the Frontier is undeniably losing out as the Titan makes headway. A year ago, the Frontier was the readily available Nissan truck. Now the Titan is the major player, and Frontier volume has decreased in nine of the last ten months.

Throw in the Honda Ridgeline’s 20-percent loss, its fourth consecutive monthly decline, and midsize pickup trucks lost 1,400 sales, year-over-year, while full-size trucks gained nearly 20,000 in October. Gone is the momentum enjoyed by the Colorado/Canyon relaunch, the revamped Tacoma’s quick build-up, the Frontier’s exceptional Titanless performance, and the Ridgeline’s unique rebirth.

Truck Oct. 2017 Oct. 2016 % Change 2017 YTD 2016 YTD % Change
Ford F-Series 75,974 65,542 15.9% 734,610 661,198 11.1%
Chevrolet Silverado 53,157 49,768 6.8% 471,747 475,324 -0.8%
Ram P/U 44,201 43,891 0.7% 419,102 404,977 3.5%
GMC Sierra 18,895 15,050 25.5% 173,371 179,490 -3.4%
Toyota Tacoma 15,804 15,875 -0.4% 163,224 158,586 2.9%
Toyota Tundra 10,022 9,533 5.1% 95,699 94,355 1.4%
Chevrolet Colorado 9,990 10,578 -5.6% 93,024 90,625 2.6%
Nissan Frontier 6,219 6,364 -2.3% 61,427 75,752 -18.9%
Nissan Titan 4,114 3,181 29.3% 39,663 14,155 180%
Honda Ridgeline 2,709 3,371 -19.6% 29,285 16,118 81.7%
GMC Canyon 2,860 2,785 2.7% 26,129 29,991 -12.9%
Midsize Trucks 37,582 38,973 -3.5% 373,089 371,072 0.5%
Full-Size Trucks 206,363 186,965 10.4% 1,934,192 1,829,499 5.7%
TOTAL 243,945 225,938 8.0% 2,307,281 2,200,571 4.8%

These are hardly the results of a blossoming category; hardly the kind of figures that could even dream of replicating pre-recession results. In 2007, small/midsize pickups accounted for 19 percent of all truck sales.

Of course, the midsize truck quintet is nowhere near as deserving of blame as the full-size truck category is deserving of the credit. America’s best-selling line of vehicles, the Ford F-Series, began to capitalize on the launch of refreshed 2018 models with a 16-percent year-over-year improvement. That’s 10,432 extra F-Series sales, or twice many extra F-Series sales as the Ridgeline and Canyon totalled together.

Sales of the Silverado, Ram, Sierra, Tundra, and Titan, meanwhile, combined to grow by nearly 9,000 units. The three top truck lines — F-Series, Silverado, Ram — each easily outsold the entire midsize category. The F-Series outsold the five midsize trucks by a two-to-one margin.

New contenders surely won’t hurt. In fact, when the midsize segment last welcome new contenders, the Colorado and Canyon, sales of existing midsize trucks increased. But is it reasonable to expect similar circumstances when the 2019 Ford Ranger finally reaches Blue Oval showrooms? Rising Tacoma, Colorado, Frontier, Canyon, and Ridgeline sales all due to the presence of another midsize truck?

Or are midsize pickups destined to pick up full-size pickup scraps?

[Image: Toyota]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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79 Comments on “U.S. Midsize Pickup Truck Market Share Going Nowhere Fast...”


  • avatar
    CobraJet

    I believe many buyers go to the dealer to look at the mid-size trucks. They soon realize they can get a full size truck for about the same money and get almost the same gas mileage. I know several people who have done that.

    • 0 avatar
      Clueless Economist

      Exactly right! People want a compact truck, not a slightly smaller, slightly more efficient but just as expensive truck.

      Too bad this news will probably be interpreted by Hyundai as there being no market for the Santa Cruz when, in fact, it proves that there is a market for a smaller, more efficient truck.

      • 0 avatar
        A Scientist

        Agree with both of you. Very little (if any) real benefit in choosing the mid-size over full-size anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Parkability is really the main midsize benefit left. At below power-fold mirror trim levels, lots of older garage doors require sliding across the bench (unless there’s a console there) to grab the passenger mirror before entering in a fullsize. Some paring structures, and quite a few older houses, have garage door heights too low to clear them. And the 19+ feet length of the most popular full size trims, leaves pretty much zero space in a 20 foot bay for getting around the truck, without opening the garage door. Some parking structures also get pissy about vehicles sticking out from their 19 foot long spaces.

          The beauty of the Ridgeline, vs the rest of the midsizers, is that it doesn’t give up that much space vis-a-vis a full sizer, while being pretty much midsize in exterior dimensions. Yet, if the size of an full size isn’t an issue, it’s hard to make a case for picking something else. Full sizers does provide a sick amount of function and versatility for the money.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          A Scientist – – –

          AS: “Very little (if any) real benefit in choosing the mid-size over full-size anymore.”

          This is wrong. If it were true, there would e no mid-size pickups sold by now!

          1) Midsize pickups (REAL) provide a narrower size for Off-Roading, a feature that has been shown to matter in tight trails:
          http://www.tfltruck.com/2017/11/chevy-colorado-zr2-vs-ford-raptor-vs-ram-power-wagon-ultimate-off-road-comparison-video/

          2) Midsize pickups (REAL) are typically lighter than their full-size counterparts, making them less susceptible to sinking in mud and snow. (Same ref as above.)

          3) Midsize pickups (REAL) offer rugged BOF construction that is not as available with most SUVS’s which employ IRS instead.

          4) Midsize pickups (REAL) offer a manual transmission option, which not available in most comparable SUV’s, and is not available at all in full-size, 1/2-ton pickups.

          5) Midsize pickups (REAL) fit easily in most tight garages, but few full-size 1/2-tons do so, and almost no 3/4-ton pickups with 4WD do.

          6) Midsize pickups (REAL) are less expensive to buy, on the average.

          7) Midsize pickups (REAL) are typically more maneuverable in traffic.

          8) Midsize pickups (REAL), gasoline powered, get better fuel mileage as an average of this group be all 1/2 tons.

          ….and on and on. Get the idea?

          =====================

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      That’s what happened to me. To get a nice interior in a Fronteir or Tacoma I had to opt for the V6. So I spent $1000 more for a V8 Silverado and got 1 mpg (EPA) less. This was in 1999, has anything changed?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I don’t believe that many buyers as much as know that midsize trucks exist. The Tacoma is a brand that’s only incidentally a truck and isn’t cross shopped with anything, a big chunk of Frontier and Colorado sales are white work trucks, the Ridgeline isn’t a truck at all, and when you’ve finished subtracting all of those the actual retail consumer sales are a niche right down there with two seat sports cars.

      Of course a half ton is a lot more vehicle with hardly any tradeoff but when has that ever kept little car sales down? Most people don’t cross shop at all. A lot of people don’t even test drive.

  • avatar
    lakhs1996

    Midsized trucks don’t offer much advantage over full sized trucks – just look at size – they are not that much smaller than full-sized trucks, and options add up fast, so there’s not that much price difference.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    But midsize trucks are supposed to be so much better! WTF big al?

    • 0 avatar
      SD 328I

      Much better at what though?

      It’s quite amazing how far they have come.

      I mean if I described to you a vehicle with a all aluminum body, 2.7L twin-turbo with 325hp / 400 lbs ft of torque, 10-speed auto, 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, rated at 26 mpg highway.

      You would think I was talking about a sporty sedan of some sort, not a fullsize F150 that could seat 6 people while hauling over 8,000 lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        Spot on. When I was started sorta thinking of getting a truck and first test drove the F150 I was blown away at the acceleration. And also handling, creature comforts, quiet cabin, etc.

        And this answers the “why would you buy a truck when 99% of the time you’re just commuting to work or driving the kids to school” question. Well because it is a smooth engine, quiet cabin, with kick – azz acceleration, easily fits 3 kids in the back, with gas mileage comparable to a mini-van. And then the odd time when I need to take something to the county dump or buy lumber from Home Depot, I can.

        • 0 avatar
          tnk479

          I agree but I wish the F-150 Supercab had normal doors instead of the suicide doors. My other complaint is that you cannot buy the Supercab with the short 5.5 foot bed. Well…only the Raptor trim level allows for this.

      • 0 avatar
        srh

        Well, it could seat 6 people /or/ haul 8,000 pounds…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    And Ford is going to launch the reborn Ranger right into the teeth of this.

    Honestly I thought the original S-10 was about the perfect size for those who wanted something smaller than the big trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Ranger anticipation is a large part of the current state of the market. It will do great on launch and Al will again be saying how a new player expanded and reinvigorated the segment. At least for 18 months or so when things will settle back down to business as usual.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      But the Ranger is counting on sales of the Bronco to make the platform profitable. I think that strategy could work if they can make Jeep buyers turn their heads.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I know my brother bought a Colorado because it was narrow enough to get into his backyard and he got the diesel option to pull his camper. Maybe he’ll chime in on his purchase decision.

    If I were to ever buy a pickup I’d want an old Ranger to take things to the dump. I could probably even survive with a Rabbit pickup. All modern pickups are gigantic to me.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    For the Ridgeline it is just the fact that it made a big splash on introduction thanks to the extended period where it wasn’t available. The faithful owners stuck it out until a replacement was available and now they have worked through that pent up demand.

    The Toyota is not down because of a shortage of product, it too is suffering a bit of the same effect as the Honda, although there was no gap in availability the old truck was old so having a dramatically updated truck resulted in a sales surge. It like the rest of the crowd is suffering from the up coming Ranger. Just as the then current players suffered in the anticipation period preceding the re-introduction of the GM twins.

    The Ranger, Canyado and Frontier were the trucks of choice for fleets and cheap skates. The Ranger was the king of that market and people are in waiting mode to see if the new Ranger will live up to the expectations set by the old Ranger. So sales of all 4 and to a lesser extent Toyota will wane as people wait to see the new Ranger in the flesh. Once it hits it will be a hit but we will also see the Frontier make a come back just as it did when the Canyado hit the market. Many those fleets and cheapskates will see the new Ranger see that it is bigger and more expensive than the old truck and will buy the Frontier, and a handful will also head over to their local GM dealer and put in an order.

    Of course we will also see the Ranger faithful consumers line up to replace their truck and the Ranger will quickly be nipping at Toyota’s heels in the sales race.

    Then things will settle back to normal.

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      The other problem with the Honda is that its fuel economy is really not much better than an F-150 with the 2.7-liter turbo six and after the huge discounts Ford dealers offer, the price is totally compatible for the XL and XLT trim levels. So then, you’re down to deciding whether or not to forgo some size, payload, and towing in exchange for marginally better NVH characteristics and slightly easier park-ability.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The Ridgeline is also not a mid-sized truck, it’s much closer to full-sized, only lacking the tall roofline because of its lower ride height and lack of a separate frame.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The Honda is truly in a class of 1, it isn’t really a midsize and it isn’t really a full size, really it is just a modern Ranchero or ElCamino. It will appeal to a certain crowd and chug along at moderate sales and pretty much be completely unaffected by what goes on in the full size and less than full size segments.

        Because it is just a car with the roof hacked off Honda can afford to keep it plodding off the same line as the Pilot and make good money even at that sales level.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I never understand small p/u trucks. If you want a p/u to tow/haul, why limit yourself to a vehicle that can barely tow anything and doesn’t have much room for stuff in the back?

    • 0 avatar
      Clueless Economist

      Your assumption that people “want a p/u to tow/haul” is probably only true for 40% of truck buyers. It is all about image. Most cars have been feminized so much that the only “manly” vehicles are huge trucks that most don’t need and, in some cases, want. Doesn’t apply to anyone reading this, but believe me, it does apply to a large percentage of men buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @ILS: That’s the problem, stuff, you refuse to understand that people who want a small truck only have small loads and small trailers, they simply don’t need anything bigger and proobably don’t have room to park anything bigger in their driveway/garage.
      • Barely tow anything? Most small CUVs today can easily tow 2500#, the size of a modest pop-up style camper.
      • Not much room for stuff in the back? Certainly enough for their needs since they’re not trying to carry their whole house or yard in one trip.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      A fullsize can be a real bear in tight cities. It’s not that they are unworkable. Just a pain, compared to even a slightly smaller vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        When one can take a 20-year-old so-called mid-sized truck and do a U-turn on a 3-lane highway without putting a single tire off pavement and a new full-sized truck has to see-saw back and forth to perform the same maneuver, the difference in maneuverablity is absolutely noticeable. Even the modern Mid-sizers have to back up at least once to perform a U-turn on the highway I’m talking about.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          If you are driving a 20 year old midsized truck it must be a Dodge Dakota because 20 years ago that is all we got.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You forget the Ranger, which was also considered “mid-sized” compared to the old compacts. Notably larger than my old Mitsubishi by sitting taller, wider and about a foot longer. The Mitsi only came up to my armpit in height. The newer “mid-size” grew even larger (note the first-gen Colorado/Canyon and ’04 and up Ranger) followed by the Tacoma and Frontier. Now even those last two are growing to Colorado/Canyon size.

            It used to be I could sit DOWN into a small truck. Today it’s a climb almost as tall as into my ’08 Wrangler while the full-sized trucks top even that.

    • 0 avatar
      driverx

      I “never understand” comments like this. There are many people who would buy a small, efficient pickup, but “many” is relative. I don’t think it’s enough to support an entire market segment with lots of players, but one or two companies could probably sell enough small trucks to profit. Unfortunately there is little incentive for manufacturers to do so because there’s *more* profit to be had selling large trucks. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a highly capable vehicle in traditional truck terms. I don’t have heavy things to transport and I don’t need to tow anything. I would like to have a truck so I could transport things that don’t fit in a sedan: A couple of bikes, a new living room chair, a kayak, etc. All of these things together wouldn’t weigh 300 pounds. Anything heavier than that and I’d just have it delivered. *Any* vehicle can accommodate twice that payload, so it should be easy to produce a small truck with small car-like economy. I’m not holding my breath of course. It will probably take some kind of regulatory reform to bring back reasonably sized trucks. I would love to see significantly higher gasoline taxes.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Still a good move by Ford – customers will come in looking for a $25,000 Ranger and end up in a $35,000 F150.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    What this shows is an across-the-board problem where mid-sized trucks are too close to the size and price of full-sized trucks to be a practical alternative. In other words, by making them larger they shrank the size of the market they were trying to address. The ongoing complaint with mid-sized trucks is that they’ve almost completely grown out of the market that spawned them–people wanting a crossover-sized vehicle with an open bed, not a road-hogging behemoth.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I’m not surprised by the apologist default position, “Those small trucks aren’t small enough”.
    The so called mid-sized trucks have grown in size because……cough……hack…….wait for it…….cough……. only a very small number of people actually want a small truck.

    In other words, the tiny truck market isn’t worth pursuing especially at traditional cheapskate bargain basement prices.

    Global pickups are the foundation for *ALL* of the current domestic small trucks and they have all grown in size.

    I’m sure some despotic slave labour state somewhere in the world can make small trucks cheap enough for domestic consumption but that does not fit into any previous government’s level of tolerance nor does it fit MAGA.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “The so called mid-sized trucks have grown in size because……cough……hack…….wait for it…….cough……. only a very small number of people actually want a small truck.”

      —- THAT, sir, is an invalid assumption. Nobody knows because nobody has really asked, now have they? Everyone is assuming that Americans only want bigger, yet every single brand in the US is realizing huge sales with much smaller CUVs compared to mid-sized pickup trucks that are no less than 50% larger.

      How do you KNOW “only a very small number of people actually want a small truck”? After all, aren’t CUVs today classified as “trucks” in certain reviews and aren’t those CUVs winning “Truck of the Year” awards? Why?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “How do you KNOW “only a very small number of people actually want a small truck”?”

        Extrapolation based upon the small truck crowd on TTAC and the fact that I do not see a massive number of well preserved 70’s era pickups rollin’ down the highway.

        Oh and the fact that car companies are enlarging “small” trucks for global consumption.

        Pickups do not sell well in any configuration other than crewcab.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          You can’t extrapolate from a highly vocal group; haven’t you ever heard of the “silent majority”? Look at politics if you want to see what a silent majority is like; no election the the last 50 years in the US has had more than 50% of registered voters ever actually vote, except in some very tiny venues. No national election has seen a 50% or larger turnout since 1960.

          The few here that are promoting truly compact pickups could represent a market as large as half the full-size market, if not more.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Vulpine – First look at a regular cab 2wd short bed midsize. (edit: I forgot they no longer make those), then compare that to the mini-trucks of your youth. That’s how most were equipped/sold. Then it’s not so bad. A couple inches all the way around. Except you like to hear yourself snivel.

        At some point in the late ’80s the mini-truck craze was over and sales torpedoed. It was great while it lasted, but the party was over. The Hot trend cooled is all.

        Meanwhile remaining mini-truck makers were watching fullsize pickup sales starting to increase exponentially, so what’s the next “logical” thing to do?? Yes they’re all “pickups”, so to speak, but we’re talking completely unrelated events, with mostly different sets of buyers.

        So by “barking up the wrong tree”, increasing the size of mini-trucks, mostly length and height, truck makers alienated their remaining core-buyers, for all the wrong reasons.

        All they had to do is ask me.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I was wondering when you would show up, DM. It’s always nice to blow your theories out of the water.

          • Length: My short-bed, regular cab Ranger is almost two full feet shorter than an extended-cab Colorado DESPITE having a longer bed than the Colorado.
          • Width: The Ranger measures no less than 6″ narrower, making it more maneuverable in tight quarters.
          • Height: The Ranger’s roofline is nearly a full foot lower than the 2WD Colorado while the bed rails are almost 18″ lower, making it easy to load/unload from the side when the load is secured at the front of the bed, against the cab.

          The modern mid-sized truck is a sperm whale to the full-sized models’ blue whale; a relatively marginal difference from full-size when compared to the orca of the pre-00’s models. Or maybe you’d like to compare them to mermaids… or rather manatees as compared to dolphins; would that help? I know how much you like to say their size is little different but just because their length is vaguely similar doesn’t mean the rest is. Set side by side and my Ranger would be completely hidden by the Colorado in front of it. Set nose to tail my Ranger would be completely hidden by the Colorado. There is no way you can claim the two are anywhere near “similar” in size. Modern pickups are bloated whales that need to go on a diet.

          We’ve discussed the reasons why the compact truck sales bombed in the ’80s and it had everything to do with how they were literally driven out of the market by a sudden leap in price combined with the US OEMs offering a slightly larger truck for only a little bit more. Ford was right on one thing, the new Ranger is going to do more harm than good to their profits because the size and price difference between the new Ranger and the F-150 is going to be marginal, at best; just like those older compacts to the mid-sizers that replaced them.

          There is room in the market today for a truly smaller truck, no matter what you think. People are buying sub-compact and compact CUVs left and right because of their agility and interior capacities for their size. A pickup based on one of those compact CUVs would almost blow out the CUV market without even touching the full-sized pickup market, though mid-sized trucks might take a hit.

          People buy what they like and if they don’t like full-sized trucks they won’t buy them. I will grant you one thing though: all the arguments made about how the new mid-sizers would garner a small market were right–though said market is a little bigger than you expected. However, if those trucks had gone back to their ’90s size or even older, that market would probably be much, much larger.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yeah real shocker you’d compare the length of a current “extended cab” to your old regular cab, short bed Ranger. 6 inches wider (I’m sure you’re exaggerating), is still just a couple inches on each side.

            But when the cut-rate prices of mini-trucks went away, it was time for non traditional pickup owners to trade on the next Hot trend to take over. Isn’t that the moment in history you dumped your mini-truck for a new Wrangler??

            The mini-truck market (craze) simply went back to more realistic levels, with fleet/commercial type users making the bulk of buyers. Think about when the wild “style” side-stripes went away. Same with the “dealer” custom conversions. It was time to get real, even though mini-truck makers were really feeling the sting. They started pushing options/features and of slightly increasing size to please/lure fullsize pickup buyers.

            There no question there’s a “market” for revised mini-trucks, just not a very big one, nor really worth attacking just to turn a loss.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            You know that extra 6 inches of width likely stems from people not wanting the grille of another vehicle in their lap should they be hit in the side, not some grand conspiracy to make you buy a Silverado.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            No? Then explain to me why so many other classic small cars have retained nearly their same overall dimensions over the years. I’ll tell you why and the collision aspect is only a piece of it: stability. But when you have a lower profile, your center of gravity is lower, meaning the risk of rolling over is lower. Modern trucks are at such risk today that they all now carry not one, but two nannies, one to intervene and reduce power to avoid rollover risk as well as the traction control intended to allow maximum traction. The two work at such odds that between them they cripple a truck under 4×4 conditions UNLESS you stay below a certain and extremely limiting speed for the duration of the off-road jaunt.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “No? Then explain to me why so many other classic small cars have retained nearly their same overall dimensions over the years.”

            Name one. The Civic is the size of an Accord 20 years ago. It has grown to the point the Fit became a thing. Park that 1993 Taurus SHO next to a current model and tell me they are similar in size. It is funny that people over and over talk about how huge full sized trucks have gotten even when confronted with dimensions that say otherwise while ignoring the bloat in cars. A new Accord may as well be an Electra 225 when parked next to an early 80s version.

            Anyway if they built a small truck I’m sure the small truck jihad here would find a reason not to buy it (no 8 track option, no vinyl seats, costs more than 7000 dollars new, etc). I bet the average S class Benz buyer is less picky.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “A new Accord may as well be an Electra 225 when parked next to an early 80s version.”
            —- Then you’ve never been next to a 60s version Electra 225, have you?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Yes, I have driven a classic Electra, yes it is big. That was the point. Compared to the 80s Accords my Dad’s brother always had growing up the new one is huge and I’d wager has grown more in comparison to it’s more classic version than any full-sized truck.

            And ALL cars have those electronic nannies because, wait for it “THE GOVERNMENT SAYS THEY HAVE TO”. Same reason the doors on my 93 Ranger were so much thicker than my 88s we’re. The government mandated side impact protection.

            I don’t understand, if you really want a small truck buy one hand have it restored. Then you can have the builder do it how you want it which I believe is the only way you will be happy. It will be more than the 5995 you paid for your Plymouth Arrow back in the day but should still be less than a new King Ranch.

            Im picky when it comes to my small cars but nobody builds one like a first gen SE-R anymore. I know Nissan isn’t going to turn on the B13 assembly line again (even though it just died in Mexico) so a trip out west and the writing of checks will commence next year. Nobody is going to build your little truck. The world moved on and you can’t go back man.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “And ALL cars have those electronic nannies because, wait for it “THE GOVERNMENT SAYS THEY HAVE TO”. Same reason the doors on my 93 Ranger were so much thicker than my 88s we’re. The government mandated side impact protection.”

            You’ve got the reason they’re there, but you don’t realize that there’s more than one way to ‘skin a cat’ in the case of stability and traction controls. Computers are such today that they should be able to work together to offer traction when it’s needed and still reduce risk of rollover. The computers should be able to detect what kind of surface is under the wheels, the speed, slope and other factors and work together to keep a 4×4 going on a farm field while preventing a rollover on hard pavement. My point is that the engineering and the coding are at fault, NOT the regulations.

            However, regulations are at fault too; the truly small trucks were killed by punitive regulations putting a 25% tariff on imported trucks and the elimination of a loophole that for several years allowed partial assemblies into the States to be finished in US plants. Toyota survived by building an entire production line before the deadline and Nissan was close behind. But even they had already chosen to compete with the American-built mid-sizers which were still acceptable but still larger than those compact trucks while Mazda just chose to essentially re-badge the Ford truck rather than bring in their smaller one.

            But here’s the thing: If Fiat can bring in the 500 and keep it almost as small as the original and notably smaller than the smallest mid-sized truck, then Fiat should be able to bring in the Strada pickup, which still has to adhere to certain international safety laws that are little different in intent from US laws, even if different in specifics. GM builds both the Tornado and the Montana to compete with the Strada. AND both compact trucks are relatively popular where they are available. If they weren’t selling, why are they still being built? The Fiat 500 is a better car than you think and its reported safety disadvantages have more to do with their relative weight than with any weakness in the body. Meanwhile, it’s an incredible little car, fun, agile and quick. The Strada can offer that same ability and still give you a usable open bed in both regular cab and extended cab forms. Very probably with a starting price BELOW $20K.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “However, regulations are at fault too; the truly small trucks were killed by punitive regulations putting a 25% tariff on imported trucks and the elimination of a loophole that for several years allowed partial assemblies into the States to be finished in US plants.”

            But if people truly wanted these small trucks then wouldnt Ford and Chevrolet have continued cranking out Rangers and S-10’s and enjoyed the windfall? The Ranger and the S-10 were already top sellers and if demand had been there they would have seen sales grow further as the imports were pruned. The Dakota was already a midsized truck in this era…youd have to go back to the Mitsubuishi rebadges and the little Ramcharger for their compact offerings and they were gone early in the compact truck boom.

            And that brings up the Mazda rebadge. You seem to be saying the Mazda was based on a midsized Ranger, but the US has never gotten a midsized Ranger. It was a compact truck from the early 80’s right up until the bitter end. It may have grown a little when it shifted to being based on the Explorer platform (versus the early Explorer being based on the Ranger platform), but it never approached what we call a midsized truck and honestly was the “last man standing” in the compact segment. The new Ranger is a different animal.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “But if people truly wanted these small trucks then wouldnt Ford and Chevrolet have continued cranking out Rangers and S-10’s and enjoyed the windfall? The Ranger and the S-10 were already top sellers and if demand had been there they would have seen sales grow further as the imports were pruned. The Dakota was already a midsized truck in this era…youd have to go back to the Mitsubuishi rebadges and the little Ramcharger for their compact offerings and they were gone early in the compact truck boom.”

            —- They did, for another 25 years or so. Then they decided they wanted to cut costs rather than support their customers. Ford, GM and Chrysler ALL essentially stopped upgrading their mid-sized trucks for multiple reasons that had nothing to do with lack of sales–they actively worked to push those sales into the full-sized market where they could get away with avoiding fuel mileage fines, among other things. I would have you note that my 20-year-old Ford Ranger still offers more highway gas mileage than any of its larger cousins AND DEMONSTRATES IT at 27 mpg where only the newer trucks’ diesel models (and only a couple of them) exceed it with ultimately a lower payload capacity than my Ranger. My Ranger’s in-town mileage averages between 20-21mpg. Moreover, it’s actually fun to drive because of its smaller size and agility.

            Unfortunately, you are wrong about one additional point, however. The Ford Ranger and Chevy S-10/GMC S-15 were all larger than the imported compacts. That’s how they became known as “mid-sized trucks”. Yes, the Dakota was larger yet but over the years both the Ranger and the S-10/Colorado grew to match the Dakota’s size–at least approximately. Compared to those old-school compacts, the last generation of mid-sized trucks (pre-2012) was about 20% larger than the compacts while the full-sizers were about 20% larger than the mid-sized models. The difference between mid-size and full-size today is only about 12% while the full-sized trucks are about 40%-45% larger than the old compacts. Just put them side by side to see for yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Also, with respect to your theory of them making the compacts more expensive to drive them out, I don’t see it. My first new vehicle was a 93 Ranger. 2WD, regular cab XLT and 5 speed. It was $13,000 ish. In 2003 I purchased another newsmall truck, an S-10…Think it was an LS trim, similar in equipment to the Ranger. This was a 4 cylinder, 5 speed and had an extended cab this time with that extra little door. It was a whole $14,000ish.

            What happened to compact trucks was the Jellybean F150 with the crew cab and short bed. Full sized trucks became civilized and easier to live with as a primary means of transportation.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            So yeah, some people still want them but not enough to sell them profitably. Heck I want GM to start producing first gen Saturns again, complete with manual steering and 84HP. If they did they would sell me one for sure. After the 6 other people got theirs though there would be no demand.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Art: Re your argument about pricing.

            Back in 1983 I purchased my Mitsubishi Sport Truck for roughly $8K when full-sized trucks were selling for $16K and mid-sizers around $12K. After that loophole was closed, the imports pricing jumped to between $10K-$11K, simply too close to the American-designed models.

            Your own statement shows how the pricing continued to rise and my own Ranger, in ’97, was priced at an MSRP of $13.5K. A similarly-equpped mid-sized truck today is double that price. I can promise you the new Ranger coming out next year will have its “XLT” model priced no less than $28K.

            Meanwhile, a similarly-equipped Fiat 500 is only priced at $16K.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Even if you want to make the ridiculous argument that the Ranger and S-10 we’re midsized trucks, they wouldn’t be today. The Dakota would but the Ranger and S-10 are tiny compared to today’s crop of midsized trucks. All of my Rangers were closer to my friends 80s Toyota than a Dodge Dakota.from back in the day. I have owned a.current gen Frontire and it was giant (and a.rocket ship) compared to my Rangers. The Ranger was roughly the same size as the Courier it replaced which was of course a Mazda underneath.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Oh, so now you’re agreeing with me that mid-sized has grown too large. Yet, listening to Denver Mike and others, the current round of mid-sized trucks is only marginally larger than the old-school versions–as in less than five inches in each dimension.

            That IS my point: the new trucks are much larger than the older ones and the older ones were visibly larger than the compacts. And no, even the original Ranger is visibly larger than the courier, due to a 6′ bed, wider stance and taller roofline. The Courier was an almost perfect utility truck for light duty, including TV repair shops and aircraft maintenance shops (drove a LUV for both, one diesel), the aircraft shop using it to transport propellors for overhaul to a certified shop roughly 100 miles away on a regular basis. The TV shop would use their truck (gas engine) to pick up and deliver multiple console sets and even rear-projection sets for repair. Perfect size and relatively easy to load, even when the rear projection sets weighed in around 200# each. (With today’s lightweight flat screens, people forget just how heavy those CRTs were.)

      • 0 avatar
        Guitar man

        But people in Asia and South America want bigger PUs but they are limited in size by local regulations. That’s why mid-sizers have become so large.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        You forget the fuel economy. The compact trucks brought little 4 cylinders to the game as base motors. They could haul the trucks of that era around adequately in the era and the fuel economy boost was meaningful when the big 3 were still stuffing 351 Windsor’s, 460s, TBI 350s, and 454s under the full-sized trucks hoods hooked to 4 speed automatics developed in the 70s.

        Big trucks got better. The fuel economy gap has narrowed to nearly non-existent. Those small trucks would weigh more with all the safety equipment and what not people want today and those full sized models now have modern powerplants and transmissions.

        My first 2 vehicles were Rangers (an 88 and a new 93) so I am as nostalgic as the next guy for them. I also got an S10 new right before they went away. But my F150 is so much better in every way I use it. Yes, if I lived in a tight urban area it may be a chore but then again I drive it through downtown Atlanta frequently so it is doable. You have to be in a really narrow demographic for the compact to make more sense.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Modern four cylinder engines are notably stronger than their predecessors while still offering as much as 50% improvement in gas mileage over V8s both in town and on the highway–somewhat depending on aerodynamics, that is. A modern 2.4L non-turbocharged engine puts out as much horsepower as a 1970 302c.i.d. (5L) Windsor; maybe not as much torque, but certainly the horses. Add a turbo and the torque is there, too. A small truck with a modern four would run circles around the big trucks because they would still be lighter and have a smaller front profile to cut the air better.

          And there’s more than nostalgia to owning a smaller truck. They have agility advantages the bigger trucks can only dream about; such big trucks would need integrated four-wheel steering to even get close and still their physical dimensions will work against them. Big trucks do have their place but so do small ones. Not everyone needs or wants a big truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Lou,
      I agree with you regarding the size of pickups. People want a larger vehicle.

      What might be forgotten here is the fact midsizers are the domain of the global market and not the NA market, so their size increase is from global pressure and not US or NA pressure.

      The Chinese sell the two largest midsize pickups in Australia the Foton Tunland and the new LDV T60. Both are capable and cheap. The LDV actually has attained a higher safety rating than the VW Amarok and several other Japanese pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Big Al from Oz – “What might be forgotten here is the fact midsizers are the domain of the global market and not the NA market, so their size increase is from global pressure and not US or NA pressure.”

        That was my point. Thanks for clarifying.

        Global “small” pickups have grown because that is what people want. Domestic i.e. USA/Canada small trucks are sourced from those pickups. That means USA/Canada will not see anything smaller.

        I’m not anti-small truck. Far from it. I’ve owned two Rangers. If I had the disposable income I’d most likely trade my truck for a Colorado ZR2 Diesel. My sons will be out of high-school in the next 3 years so I won’t have much need for a bigger truck much longer.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Tim Cain – – –

    Your data show that the market size in increasing not decreasing
    And my dat show that the SLOPE of growth is POSITIVE for ALL trucks, except the Ridgeline in Calendar Year 2017, to date (January to October)

    How do you “square” with this contradiction??? (See data below) – – –

    I) Here is the 1st group of Sales Data from 5 FULL-SIZE Pickups, using Calendar Year – – –

    A) SLOPES

    FordF…….ChevyGMC……Ram…….Tundra…….Titan
    745………….988……………285………..194………..18

    B) SALES TOTALS in 1000’s

    FordF…….ChevyGMC……Ram…….Tundra…….Titan
    728………….644……………419………….96………..40

    II) Here is the 2nd group of Sales Data from 5 MID-SIZE Pickups, using Calendar Year – – –

    A) SLOPES

    Colorado….Canyon…..Tacoma…..Frontier…..Ridgeline
    225……………..28…………180…………..50………..-33

    B) SALES TOTALS in 1000’s

    Colorado….Canyon…..Tacoma…..Frontier…..Ridgeline
    93……………..26…………..163…………61……………29

    =======================================

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    In my opinion pricing has a lot to do with the take up of full size 1/2 ton pickups over the midsize. I would also think many of the V6 1/2 ton pickup purchasers would opt for a midsize if there was greater disparity in prices.

    The only way to solve this is to allow imports in. Imports don’t mean a lesser qaulity product, as you can see your newer midsizers like the Colorado and Canyon are heavily based on a global midsize and they are often viewed at the bottom end of the global midsize market for overall performance and dynamics.

    Also, greater choice is needed in the midsize market, actually the whole of the US pickup market needs a shakeup with more choice and not the half dozen choices. The lack of choice is shown by the constant short term special trims available.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Thumbs up, BA.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      We only have the largest selection and choice of make, model, trim, pkg, engine, wheelbase and class of pickups the world has known or will ever!!

      All offering tremendous value like no other.

      If there’s something missing anyone would truly snivel about (besides a couple three Vulpii), go ahead make a list. Yes no market is absolutely perfect but make a list of better ones, I’ll wait right here,,,

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        There’s a lot missing in the pickup market, DM, and you know it. All you have to do is look at the general automotive market in the US to realize there are now no less than four sizes available in cars from the tiniest sedans and coupes to the largest–there’s only two sizes of pickup trucks.
        There are no less than SIX sizes of CUV/SUVs available–there’s only two sizes of pickup trucks.
        There are no less than THIRTY brands of cars, CUVs and SUVs available in the US–There’s only seven brands of pickup truck, despite the rest of the world having at least a dozen more.

        That “largest selection” you describe is limited to seven brands with Ford offering no less than twelve trim levels while the others offer about eight trims each at most. What if someone doesn’t want Ram, Chevy, GMC, Ford, Honda, Toyota or Nissan? What if someone wants a Fiat, Mazda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, VW, Mercedes, Volvo or any one of the other already-mentioned brands available in other countries? The whole idea of offering choice is to let them succeed or fail on their own, not assume some few know-it-alls actually know what will sell and what won’t?

        Mahindra could succeed readily, considering its Willys/Kaiser Jeep roots and an already acknowledged presence in the US with their farm tractors and other agricultural equipment. VW at least deserves a chance, since their older trucks based on the Microbus were pretty popular and even the Rabbit truck saw sales. In fact, I saw an old Rabbit pickup not all that long ago on the roads–in the rust belt–and still looking in decent shape.

        So why should pickup trucks be held to such a limited choice of sizes and brands? Not everybody likes the same things and quite honestly pickup trucks in the US overall have been downright ugly over the last 15 years or so. It’s time to open your minds and realize that this is a world of over 7 billion people and by no means will they EVER all think alike. You like what you like but that doesn’t mean everyone else will like it too.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I didn’t say it was perfect but name a better one???

          Oz may be the 2nd best with extremely limited pickup classes, and one wheelbase no matter the cab selection. Clearly you can’t please everybody but the US does it best, even if you don’t see it from your narrow perspective.

          Now answer the question for the love of god.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I told you what we could do, DM. You just don’t want to admit that you might be wrong if more variety came into the States.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Having more variety would be awesome, what makes you think I’m not 1,000% in favor of it??

            But the cold reality is there isn’t one place on Earth that can have it all. Usually automakers like to have this thing called “profit”, maybe you’ve heard of it?

            It’s too bad you can’t, or refuse to incorporate one of the fine existing choices into your program, wanting something slightly oddball instead, while fighting a never ending, yet obviously, losing battle, and for what, over a couple inches here or there???

            I sincerely hope you seek the help you desperately need.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            As I’ve said before, DM, none of the available choices meets my NEEDS, much less my wants. The Honda comes closest, but it’s still too wide (wider than current mid-sizers) while the others all have either driver comfort issues (not enough legroom) or poorly designed half-cab areas in their extended cabs which eliminates the floor space I’m looking for. And if a mid-sizer is too big, you can imagine how much worse a full-sizer is.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You have extremely specific “NEEDS” that no fwd pickup in the world may be able to meet. At some point you’re gonna have to “BEND”. Or sit down with a foreign automaker and have a small truck designed, built and imported just for “YOU”.

            If you have a billion dollars laying around, maybe you could “CHIP IN”

            But from what you’ve said, it has to have an extra cab, 6′ bed and no bigger than 12′ long. That would have be a “cab-over”, tilt-cab design.

            Truly the easiest path would be to simply custom-build your own (have a customizer handle it) based on an existing CUV or smaller wagon.

            Otherwise just get one of whatever truck comes closest to your needs, combined with a healthy dose of psychotherapy/meds!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            At least two such trucks already exist on the open market in Central and South America; by no means would one have to be custom designed. I’ll grant they may need to be modified to meet US specs but such modification would NOT mean the cab floor needs a huge plastic mount for the folding back seat the way certain American-built trucks seem to believe.

            A third is already on the drawing boards and has shown prototypes at US car shows “to gauge interest,” just not at the car shows I’ve been able to attend where such a model is likely to be far more interesting. Moreover, that third brand has already green-lighted at least one so-called pickup truck to hit the market by 2021 six years after said prototype was revealed. Even Tesla has done better with its prototype-to-market rate by getting them out within two years or so (unfortunately, no truck…yet.) And now there are rumors of others, so you can’t assume you are right, especially since every proof you have ever offered has refuted your own words.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            And this is the compact truck “buyer” in a nutshell.

            “If only they’d build/import this, I’d show up cash in hand and pay MSRP”

            They build/import said model

            “I wanted to like it, but the bed was half an inch too wide and what’s up with they MSRP??? My 85 Ranger was only 5500 out the door”

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That’s stereotyping and nowhere near true, Art.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            Goldilocks was eaten by the bears whileever trying to have it her way in their home.

            Buy a truck. Use it as necessary. Live your life. Quit complaining it isn’t perfect. It’ll be over soon enough.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I have this image in my head of Vulpine showing up on one of the Velocity shows like B!+chin Rides and having Dave build him a six figure Mitsubishi Mighty Max and being wholly unimpressed at the end lol.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Try me and find out, Art.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Soon as I hit that lottery. If I am going to be transacting business with anyone on those Velocity shows I’m more in the Garage Squad or maybe Wheeler Dealers (sometimes) income bracket than the Dave Kindigs or Chip Fooses of the world.

            The 3000Gt that they did last week would scratch my 90s itch nicely

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Once I become TTAC’s most benign and beloved despot I’ll get Denver Mike and Vulpine together over a 3 day weekend. I will give them: 1. A used appliance white Transit connect. 2. A Sawzall and extra blades. 3. Duct Tape, they’ll need it somehow. 4. Welders, grinders, and some sheet metal tools to make a one of a kind New Millennium Econonline. 4. Enough sheet metal to to their finish project properly. 5. A couple of cases of of white spray paint. 6. At least two cases of beer. Things should work out between them.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You want to do that then you better make it a couple cases of JW Blue, not beer. Don’t want DM too drunk, after all.

      And you know, an extended cab pickup from the TC might not be a bad idea. Offer a longer usable bed by not wasting so much space on the front end and with the right engine still be able to tow a decent travel trailer with a gooseneck or lifted fifth-wheel over the rear axle. Modify it with Tesla drivetrains and a 100kWh battery pack and you’d have a pretty stout rig. Go with Tesla’s new batteries (not out yet) and would probably have 200kWh under the floor.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    “Try me and find out” what does that mean?

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    Mini trucks had a boom for several reasons in the 80’s and 90’s. for one you could get a brand new one for 7 grand give or take. S-10’s and Rangers sold by the hundreds of thousands. eventually sales tapered off and the Ranger really fell off, it was the last one on the market. That’s why they don’t make them, this isn’t complicated. I just turned 450,000 on my S-10. sure glad I don’t waste money on vehicles.

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