Today’s Rare Ride coverage was prompted when your author saw an unusual pickup truck on the roads of Cincinnati. The truck in question was a black Sierra Denali from the early 2000s, with a telltale feature on its rear fenders: little lights on either side. Let’s talk Quadrasteer.
The full-size truck race is competitive, and one can’t afford to fall too far behind.
After a few years of hearing criticisms concerning the Silverado, and how it’s not as stylish as the Ram 1500 or well-done as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet has unveiled an updated truck, with the intent of blunting those critiques and getting back in the game.
Ford had a short Web meeting for the media earlier this week, and a big chunk of the time was spent on the newest version of the F-150 pickup truck, including confirmation that the company will be building an all-electric F-150 at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, as Matt wrote Thursday.
The other big announcement from the Blue Oval focused on how the F-150’s existence helps America. Drawing on a study from Boston Consulting Group, Ford says the F-150 is among the most valuable consumer goods sold in America.
I’ve never owned a truck. Over my two-plus decades of driving, I’ve shopped for trucks new and used, but have always stopped short of stroking a check for something with a bed for various reasons big and little. Typically I needed something with more interior space, more lockable cargo space, or more comfort — but one thing always holding me back was fuel economy. Traditionally, trucks aren’t particularly efficient.
However, modern diesel engines can yield impressive economy, which is why we’re beginning to see them trickle into the half-ton range of pickups from each of the Detroit Three. Ford, long the sales leader in the segment, has given the Power Stroke treatment to this F-150, and we were curious if it improves an already impressive truck.
With full-year sales stats now available from each of the Detroit Three, we can see how the leaders in the critically important full-size pickup segment faired in the eventful year of 2019.
And it was an eventful year, what with new full-sizers on offer from Ram, Chevrolet, and GMC, and revamped Heavy Dutys from both Ram and GM entering the fray. (GM’s big guys landed for the 2020 model year, with Ford’s redesigned 2020 Super Duty series arriving shortly after the launch of its Detroit rival.)
It’s no secret that Ram did well last year, but how did it stack up next to the perennial front-runner?
Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup truck has a problem that Nissan engineers, marketers, and product planners will probably never fix.
That problem? The truck isn’t built by one of the Detroit Three automakers.
Ram, GM, and Ford each have such loyal followings that it seems like the full-size truck market is simply impenetrable. It’s not just Nissan, either – Toyota’s Tundra faces the same challenge.
To its credit, Nissan seems to understand this. Company reps say that they know that conquest sales will be tough, so they’re focused on the over half-million truck buyers (their number) that don’t really harbor any brand loyalty, as well as current Nissan owners who may be looking to move into a full-size truck.
That may just be PR speak – putting a positive spin on things is their job, after all. Then again, perhaps it isn’t. While the Titan doesn’t have the built-in brand loyalty of its Detroit rivals, it’s not a bad truck. It’s not on par with the segment’s best two – Ram’s 1500 and the Ford F-150 – but it’s ready to tangle with Chevy and GMC. On its own merits, it’s plenty competent.
I’ve long scoffed at the class of trucks often referred to “Cowboy Cadillacs,” those seemingly built for the well-heeled Texan deep within every suburban dad who wants to prove he’s the king of the bagged mulch pick-up lane at Home Depot. Loaded down either from the factory or a catalog with big wheels, low-profile tires, buckets of chrome, boastful badging, and plush leather, these rigs seemingly took everything that was good about a proper full-size truck and amplified the douche factor.
Then I drove one — this 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn. With badges illogically glorifying both Wyoming and Texas, I fully expected to be underwhelmed.
Nope. Not one bit. The newest Ram half-ton has had every possible superlative heaped on it, with good reason. This Ram is easily the best full-size truck you can buy right now.
Noteworthy year-over-year sales declines were reported in August 2017 by the three lowest-volume members of America’s five-strong midsize pickup truck category. As a result, U.S. sales of midsize pickups tumbled 8 percent last month, driving their share of the overall pickup truck category down from 18 percent in August 2016 to 16 percent in August 2017.
The Honda Ridgeline, America’s lowest-volume pickup truck in each of the last two months, reported a 24-percent drop to 2,610 units. For the 2018 model year, Honda will make the all-wheel-drive Ridgeline distinctly less affordable. The GMC Canyon, which persistently and predictably generates far less showroom traffic than its Chevrolet Colorado twin, tumbled by a fifth to 2,698 sales. And the Nissan Frontier, which last year reported its best calendar year results in 15 years, continued its 2017 tumble with a 51-percent plunge to only 4,637 units, its lowest-volume month since January.
But those are low-volume midsize trucks, scarcely relevant in the overall pickup truck scheme. Total pickup truck volume rose 4 percent in August because full-size trucks jumped 6 percent, thanks mainly to the best-selling vehicle line in America: Ford’s F-Series.
Shortly after the stroke of midnight, Jerry Dias and the rest of the Unifor-GM bargaining committee sat down in front of reporters immediately after marathon negotiations. Dias, the president of Unifor, was elated.
“I am pleased to announce to our members … that we have found a solution for your facilities,” he said to Oshawa workers through the media and the press conference live stream.
Indeed, Oshawa was saved.
That’s not to say there won’t be some pain — the Consolidated Line at Oshawa will still close on schedule in 2017 when GM begins production of a redesigned Equinox, and the union made some pension concessions — but, at least for now, the clouds have parted over one of Canada’s longest-standing auto-producing towns.
Yet, the announcement raised more questions as it answered. And there are two major unknowns yet to be revealed: the products allocated to the Oshawa and St. Catharines plants.
Are the economic successes of Wall Street not being passed down to Main Street? Are concerns over the future post-November direction of the country fostering caution in the minds of consumers? Did certainty regarding forthcoming autumn incentives postpone summer purchases?
And might the benefits of a burgeoning midsize pickup truck class finally be inhibiting demand for full-size pickup trucks?
Whatever the reason, U.S. sales of full-size pickups declined in the summer of 2016 after growing much faster than the overall market coming out of the recession.
In fact, in August 2016, all six nameplates in the category produced fewer sales than they did one year earlier. During the same period, sales of midsize pickup trucks jumped 39 percent.
The folks in Dearborn are right chuffed about the F-150’s latest crash results — so much so that they sent out embargo materials to a number of outlets, including us (thank you!), to make sure we get the story straight.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the F-150 SuperCab — in addition to the SuperCrew tested last year — is now a Top Safety Pick, when equipped with optional forward collision alert. Ford is the only brand awarded as such in the segment.
The latest round of tests comes after Ford was caught with its pants down last year. Those tests found that not all F-150s were created equal when it came to withstanding the dreaded small overlap frontal crash test.
This year, it’s more of the same — but the trucks behaving badly aren’t Fords.
Not since 2009 has General Motors ended a calendar year with more total pickup truck sales than Ford. Moreover, not since 2009 have General Motors’ full-size pickup trucks, combined, outsold the Ford F-Series.
As GM’s current generation of pickup trucks overcame their slow start and GM added midsize pickup trucks to their fleet – and as Ford entered a transition phase between old F-150 and new aluminum-bodied F-150s – 2014’s results were close. Yet even in those circumstances, Ford Motor Company sold 1,000 more pickup trucks than General Motors in the United States last year.
2015 is very, very different. As Ford gradually ramped up F-150 availability for much of the year and as the clear-out of remaining last-gen models ended, total F-Series sales slid 2.4 percent through the first half of this year. Meanwhile, GM’s full-size twins are stealing market share, not just from the F-Series, but from the Ram P/U range, as well.
Full-size pickup truck sales improved by a modest 3.1% as the U.S. auto industry climbed 4.6% in April 2015.
As a whole, the pickup truck category increased its sales at a faster clip than the overall industry, rising 7.8% thanks to 46% gains from small/midsize pickups, vehicles which accounted for 15% of all pickup truck sales in April 2015, up from 11% at this time a year ago.
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- Jeff S I rented a 2012 Chrysler 200 with the 4 cylinder from Enterprise for business travel and it was not a bad car but I would not buy one. I would have picked a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or a Ford Fusion over a Chrysler 200. I have known people that bought Chrysler 200s that had nothing but problems with them. I appreciate these old reviews and miss the old TTAC before it became what it is now with many articles that are slanted toward politics. Don't have to agree with everything but it is good to read an honest review of a car.
- Jeff S The Cybertruck was first unveiled and announced on Nov. 21, 2019. For over 3 years Tesla has been saying that this truck was going to be released soon. The mystique and surprise is no longer there. I think the Cybertruck is hideous but then I am not the target for this. Since its initial unveiling there has been the introduction of the Lightning, Hummer, and the Rivian truck. The anticipation of this truck and the mystique has faded. There will be a few that will buy this because they are hard core Tesla fans and some because it is different but Tesla should have been the first to market an EV pickup. GM is planning a compact EV pickup under the GMC brand starting at 25 MSRP. This should have been Tesla and Tesla could have downsized the Cybertruck to either a midsize or compact truck and been first. Tesla should have been first at the very least to release a smaller EV truck.
- Bloke Wow, this should make a big difference, to those catalytic converter thieves who don't have tools like 'angle grinders' with them.
- Carlson Fan The way the truck drops in the rear and the bed/tailgate become a ramp is genius! I'd buy it just for that alone!!! It would be awesome for loading snowmobiles and garden tractors in the back. However, my trucks need to be able to regularly tow heavy loads long distance, summer & winter. Sorry folks, current battery tech. isn't even close to what it needs to be for me to think even one second that a battery truck could replace my current ICE powered truck. An EV for a DD makes sense , but for truck you need a MUCH better battery.
- Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.