Tag: Trucks

By on April 18, 2019

Image: VW

A Volkswagen concept that’s not really a concept appeared in New York City this week, aimed at gauging the American public’s level of interest in a unibody pickup that leans heavily in the direction of “crossover with a bed.”

While South American customers will soon be able to purchase a VW Tarok, the automaker says the model won’t come here. But something like it might. Unlike the company’s brawny Tanoak concept, a vehicle mimicking the Tarok could be offered at a lower price point, and that’s something that interests VW of America head Scott Keogh. (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2019

Ram 1500

Fiat Chrysler doesn’t break down its Ram pickup sales figures for us wordy-typey slobs, so it isn’t easy to figure out just how much the held-over 1500 Classic has helped the brand’s soaring sales. FCA decided, last year, that the old-generation half-ton should remain in production, and not just to smooth things over while the new-for-2019 1500 got up to speed.

Well, we now have a better idea of just how useful that strategy was. Go figure — scores of American truck buyers are willing to forgo refinement for a lower price on a big, brawny pickup. (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 April 8, 2019

2018 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition, Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

What is it with all of this pickup news today? Where are all the new sedans?

Oh right.

Anyway, in a burst of efficiency-minded thinking, Toyota is reportedly developing a single truck platform to replace those found beneath the midsize Tacoma and ancient, full-size Tundra. Sources at the automaker say it’s close to completion, and will make its debut beneath the larger of the two vehicles. (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2019

2019 Nissan Frontier front quarter

“Change is the only constant in life,” said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who probably didn’t envision the remarkable lifespan of the second-generation Nissan Frontier.

Debuting in 2004 as a 2005 model, the second-gen Frontier soldiers on as a rugged and more affordable option in the growing midsize field. But it’s this growing field that belatedly spurred Nissan into action. A new Frontier is on the way, sources claim, bearing improvements demanded of it by a populace that now has access to things like the Ford Ranger. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2019

As both Ford and General Motors have moved to annoying quarterly sales reporting, we’re getting into this whole “quarter” thing. Against our will, mind you, but that’s enough bitching for now.

We told you earlier how Ford’s looking smug as GM and Fiat Chrysler duke it out for second place in the full-size pickup segment (FCA’s winning), but what does the overall health of the truck market look like? As it turns out, it would look a lot worse without a new addition that showed up, fashionably late, in January. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2019

2019 RAM 1500 front quarter

There’s a chill in the auto industry that wasn’t present a year ago. Sales are down compared to this time last year, with only a select few automakers posting year-to-date gains. Among members of the Detroit Three, volume loss is the order of the day.

Over the first three months of 2019, Ford sales sank 1.6 percent, General Motors sales declined 7 percent, and Fiat Chrysler volume dropped 3 percent. While the long-predicted slowdown is upon us, rivalry in the lucrative full-size pickup segment has never been hotter — and the battle for second place among the top three truck nameplates shows no signs of ending. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2019

Image: FCA

Twitter — or as I like to call it, the unintellectual dark web — regularly tosses out scorching takes like “too many people drive pickups” and other gold-plated nuggets for the online punditry to seize upon. Maybe there’s some truth to them.

But until government apparatchiks start barring dealership doors, saying, “Hey! You there — you with the cash that you worked hard to earn. Don’t you dare purchase this pricey domestic product for your own (completely legal) use!” we’ll continue buying them. Meanwhile, a good many people will look at the state of their finances, take a gander at rising ATPs in that segment, and decide on something else.

Are you a truck owner with a mind to downsize? (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2019

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Jeep engineers and PR folks wasted no time in telling media, assembled in Sacramento to drive the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator mid-size pickup, that this truck is more than just a Wrangler with a pickup bed slapped on the back.

Technically speaking, it’s true — there are key mechanical and structural differences. So no one who uttered this assertion was lying.

But while those mechanical differences are important, they don’t change the fact that the Gladiator still feels just like a Wrangler with a bed. No matter what anyone from Jeep tells you, the Gladiator is, in a way, a Wrangler with a bed.

And that will be a good thing for many, if not most, potential buyers.

(Read More…)

By on March 28, 2019

It used to be that, if you were a “Ford Truck Man,” that’s all you drove. In fact, this author and his friends used to frequently quote the Toby Keith classic anytime someone exhibited an overabundance of brand loyalty. The borderline hysterical ad includes a scene with Keith hitchhiking through the desert, refusing rides from anything that lacks a blue oval on the grille. Hyperbolic for sure, but it kind of felt like that’s how people shopped for trucks back then.

Plenty of people still shop for a new pickups in this manner but, according to a recent survey, buyers are becoming increasingly less loyal as truck prices continue to climb.  (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2019

2017 Volkswagen Amarok, Image: Volkswagen

The fledgling alliance between Ford and Volkswagen took another step towards jointly-developed products Thursday, with VW signing an initial contract for a Ranger-based replacement for VW’s aging, midsize Amarok.

Commercial vans and pickups were top of mind when the automakers officially partnered up back in January, with electric vehicles and autonomous driving serving as (potential) future collaborations. More news on that front arrived today, too.  (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2019

Image: FCA

As Fiat Chrysler prepares the Jeep Gladiator for its highly anticipated dealer debut, consumers are gearing up for the first midsize pickup conceived of outside the boundaries of established industry norms in quite some time. The Gladiator is very different from the competition. It looks like a modified Wrangler, has a removable windshield, soft or hardtop roof, and doors, and even comes with a manual transmission option. It’s also new, which is noteworthy in itself.

Midsize pickups have a tenancy to linger. The second-generation Chevrolet Colorado first appeared in 2012 and Toyota’s Tacoma typically enjoys a ten-year lifespan before the manufacturer feels the itch for a full redesign. Even Ford’s Ranger is a reheated leftover sourced from the global market. While not necessarily a shortcoming in itself, the segment suffers from a distinct lack of innovation — and that’s exactly where the Gladiator could find its place in the sun(Read More…)

By on March 25, 2019

Dealers got an early look at a prototype build of the upcoming Ford Bronco. Gathered in Palm Beach, FL at the behest of the automaker, dealers were asked to hand over their phones in order to avoid any leaks. Fortunately, their memories were sufficient in giving us a better idea as to what to expect come 2020.

While the event’s focus stayed on the Bronco and some of its more-interesting features, Ford also shared its plan to develop a family of off-road vehicles to complement the model. Introductory vehicles include the Bronco, its smaller counterpart, and a little unibody pickup to slot beneath the Ranger.  (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2019

While diesel may be deader than disco in the passenger car segment, it is rolling plenty of coal in the half-ton pickup truck class. Once the domain of heavy duty rigs, oil burners are now snaking their way under the hoods of consumer-grade trucks.

We’ve known for a spell the output of Ford’s half-ton PowerStroke, as we have with Ram’s on-again-off-again EcoDiesel. Now we learn GM’s rating and, compared to that pair of competitor mills, it can brag about being best in class.

(Read More…)

By on March 21, 2019

There are wars being waged on all fronts in the half-ton pickup truck market, from towing prowess to outright power ratings. Not ones to pass up an opportunity to bash their competitors over the head with a truck-shaped chair, manufacturers seem to take every opportunity to harangue their opponents – especially when empirical data puts them in the driver’s seat.

The latest to do so? Ford, leveraging the recent IIHS crash test results of its 2019 F-150 Crew Cab pickup to take a shot or three at The General.

(Read More…)

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