By on October 9, 2020

Americans love their pickups but the segment’s sizing has adopted the same methodologies favored by the McNugget industry. Medium-sized trucks are now supersized, leaving full-sized pickups in danger of developing their own gravitational fields. However, it wasn’t all that long ago when the North American market was awash with compact pickups like the original Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S-10, and numerous Japanese alternatives  including the legendary Toyota Hilux (which we just called “the Pickup”). Dodge even had the Dakota for customers who liked D.I.Y. projects but wanted something a little larger and more capable of hauling the necessary materials in a single trip.

Back then, the competition was incredibly fierce. But club cabs gradually evolved into crew cabs and, before anybody knew what happened, every single pickup left on the market had become monstrously large. Though it wasn’t like that everywhere in the world. Plenty of markets still appreciate the handyman’s pickup and Latin America is about to receive an updated one from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It’s called the 2021 Ram 700 and serves as the spiritual successor of the Ram 50/Mitsubishi Mighty Maxx. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2020

2019 Ford F150 Lariat FX4 blue oval badge

Animosity continues to linger from Ford’s decision to cull its low-priced passenger car models… perhaps even here at TTAC World Headquarters. Few would claim that the Ford EcoSport makes an attractive bottom rung on a product ladder that increasingly caters to the middle-class truck or SUV buyer.

That said, CEO Jim Hackett’s promise not to abandon low-end buyers seems to carry weight. Dealers have begun whispering about an upcoming product that should start just below $20,000, and comes with a bed. (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

Image: VW

No one wants to fail, and certainly no one wants to be handed a steep bill for their failure. With that in mind, Volkswagen is leaning towards the smaller of the two potential pickups it’s foisted upon American auto show goers in recent years.

That means you’re far less likely to see a Tanoak at your local dealer, and much more likely to see a Tarok taking its place. Or, equally as likely, you’ll see nothing at all. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

Image: VW

You’ve seen this vehicle on these digital pages before, but Volkswagen now plans to bring its Brazil-bound Tarok unibody pickup to the United States … if only for an appearance at the New York Auto Show.

Yes, the Tarok’s role this week and next is to give U.S. consumers a come-hither look and whisper, “See anything you like, boys? You let me know.” In this case, “me” means VW brass, who have a decision to make. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2019

Image: Wikimedia Commons

True compact pickups don’t exist in any showroom near you or I, but that doesn’t stop some of us — your author, for example — from eyeballing the black, regular cab Mazda B2600 4×4 that just blasted past on a snowy city street, motoring unimpeded to its destination like a boss that it is. (This recent event may have elicited a lustful “Mmmmm…” from yours truly.)

While we can’t scratch that compact pickup itch at any new car retailer, that won’t be the case forever. In two year’s time, we could have two compacts on the market. The question today is: will there be a receptive audience when they arrive? (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2019

2018 Ford F-550 badge

Following rumors, spy photos, and vague language on the part of Ford brass, the Blue Oval automaker has admitted a new, smaller model is set to join its truck lineup. The vehicle in question will give consumers something else to think about than just Ranger, F-150, and Super Duty. (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2016

Toyota Hilux. Picture courtesy of Toyota

It’s a well-known fact that Islamic State fighters enjoy using hardy Toyota pickups in their pursuit of cleansing the Middle East of people even slightly different from themselves, but they’ll need to restock after last week.

Recent Allied military advances, including a huge, weeks-long push that liberated the Iraqi city of Fallujah, have ISIS on the run, and the U.S. Air Force’s best aerial hardware just caught a huge number of their vehicles making a break for it.

The results, as Defense Department video of the strike shows, wasn’t pretty — for the insurgents or their trucks. (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2011

Few will be surprised to hear that Chrysler Group will end production of its Dakota compact pickup truck next Tuesday, as sales of all small-to-midsized pickups have cratered over the last decade. Indeed, the Detroit News reports that the end of Dakota production will result in the layoffs of only 39 employees, although that number may climb as high as 150. In any case, the end of Dakota production is just the tip of the iceberg: Ford’s Ranger goes out of production in December of this year, and GM’s Colorado/Canyon twins will be discontinued sometime next year. Though Dodge plans to bring a minivan-platform-based AWD “lifestyle pickup” to market as a 2014 model, and Chevy is planning to build a North American variant of its new Global Colorado for the 2015 model-year, we’re looking at a several-year interlude in which no American OEM will offer a small pickup in the US. And looking at this chart, you almost can’t blame them…
(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2010

OK, we get it. Ford’s all-new global Ranger is “90 percent of an F-150” and it would make as much sense to sell it here as it would for Toyota to sell the Hilux alongside Tacomas and Tundras. We may not completely buy the argument that Fiesta, Focus and F-150 make for an adequate replacement to a true compact pickup in the US, but having starved that segment for so long, it’s understandable that Ford would now leave it to die. After all, nobody’s offered a truly new compact pickup for so long, it’s almost impossible to say whether the consumers or manufacturers killed off the once-burgeoning segment of efficient, utilitarian trucks.

With Mahindra struggling to offer its diesel pickups to American dealers, we aren’t holding out much hope of anything compact pickup-related changing anytime soon. Sure, there are whispers of a GM compact pickup in development (and some promising talk from Nissan), but that’s strictly in “wild ass rumor” territory. Meanwhile, VW is trying to apeal to more American consumers, doesn’t have a full-size truck lineup to cannibalize, and yet refuses to send its Amarok stateside. If any of the automakers is going to take a risk on compact (preferably diesel) pickups, Volkswagen seems like the one to do it. Alternatively, Mazda has its own version of the new Ranger and no full-sizers to cannibalize. Someone step up here!

By on June 4, 2010

We may love compact pickups here at TTAC, but apparently we’re in the minority. On the other hand, if the segment had some fresh blood, this graph might look a bit different…

By on May 26, 2010

If you’ve been reading TTAC regularly, you might have noticed that many of us have something of a soft spot for compact pickup trucks. And what started for me as an innate affinity for all forms of cheap, honest, rugged transportation has become full-blown affection on the strength of several months driving a ’92 Toyota with four-cylinders, four-wheel-drive and a manual transmission. Of course, all auto writers struggle with the disconnect between their personal taste and that of the buying public, and cheap full-sized trucks seem to have eliminated all chances of a re-investment in the segment. Ford, for one, has said that it plans on “replacing” its aged Ranger (which dies next year) with Ecoboost-powered F150 options and its Focus hatchback. Dodge, or Ram, or whoever builds the trucks in Auburn Hills is said to be considering an unibody Dakota replacement, but hasn’t made a peep about it in months. Meanwhile, GM is shutting down Canyon/Colorado production at its Shreveport plant by 2012, ending its half-hearted competition in the segment. But, according to Pickuptrucks.com (which is usually one of the best at breaking these kinds of stories), GM is considering a new entry into the otherwise neglected segment.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2010

Quit your whining and go buy a Fiesta, you girl.

Ford’s facing one of the toughest challenges in automotive product planning: how to offer the competitive compact pickup consumers say they want without cannibalizing far more profitable full-sized trucks. The solution? Don’t offer a competitive compact pickup. “It’s no secret we have a new Ranger coming globally. We’re working on one for all the other markets in the world,” Ford’s Derrick Kuzak tells Pickuptrucks.com. “The difference is that all of those other markets only have a Ranger. They don’t have an F-150 above it.” See how that works? But don’t worry, Ranger fans. Ford has your effete, pathetic backs…

(Read More…)

By on January 14, 2010

Back to the basics (courtesy:nissan-of-omaha.com)

About a year ago, Nissan’s response to nose-diving truck sales betrayed some serious ambivalence about chasing the profitable-yet-dangerous segment. Its first plan was to rebadge the new Ram, but that deal has fallen apart in the wake of Chrysler’s shotgun wedding to Fiat. At a loss for options, Nissan canceled the Quest, QX56 and Armada and started tooling up its Canton plant to produce commercial vehicles. It looked like Nissan’s days in the truck market were over. Now, USA Today reports that Nissan is developing a new full-sized pickup (and SUV) after all. By itself. Who’d have thunk it?

(Read More…)

By on December 16, 2009

Amarok you like a hurricane
The Argentinian-produced Volkswagen Amarok pickup might be coming to the US if VW thinks it can sell enough of them. VW of America’s Stephan Jacoby tells pickuptrucks.com “we’d have to sell at least 100,000 Amarok pickups to make it feasible.” But don’t get too excited: the only compact pickup to sell in those numbers is the Toyota Tacoma, which sold 102,327 units year-to-date.
(Read More…)

By on November 18, 2009

Yes, but where are they actually?

Autoblog ran this picture purporting to show the locations of future dealers of Mahindra and Mahindra pickup trucks. This piqued our interest because we’ve been curious to see how the Indian firm’s plans to bring diesel-only compact pickups and SUVs to the US market would play out for some time. Over a year ago Mahindra said it would be delaying its US launch (originally planned for Spring 2009) until the fourth quarter of 2009 because, as Mr Mahindra himself put it “my family’s name is going onto this vehicle, and it’s not going to fail.” Well, here we are in the fourth quarter, and Mahindra is still calling the dots on the map “potential” outlets. They’ve also apparently pushed back the launch date again, to the first quarter of 2010. Automotive News [sub] reported way back when that Mahindra’s distributors (Global Vehicles USA) were asking for $200,000 in franchise fees. Maybe finding folks willing to pay that amount for the honor of selling diesel-only compact trucks and utes are hard to come by. Either way, it’s getting to be defecate-or-get-off-the-pot time.

Recent Comments

  • nrd515: Whenever I think about one of these wheel falls off incidents where nobody gets hurt, I think of the all time...
  • nrd515: It was about 30 years ago when a family friend was killed when a woman’s car that had just been...
  • Scoutdude: What it said in the article was that the 1000 number was speculation and not an announcement by GM. Over a...
  • akear: I thought autonomous vehicles were already proved to be a con job. It is a shame so much time and money has...
  • NeonNoodle: The dash is “odd”, but overall I kinda like how this looks and it has cool details. Also,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber