I started the week in Detroit, meeting with each of the big pickup truck makers and reminding them that truck enthusiasts are getting a little tired of the same old thing. And they seemed to get it. We spent some quality time and had a few long lunches with GMC and Chevrolet, stopped by the Dearborn offices at Ford to speak with Ford Truck’s marketing chief and finished the sweep at the Auburn Hills headquarters of Chrysler to speak with the Ram Truck experts.
In every case, from person to person, they wanted — most said they needed — to be involved with PUTC.
We’re sure there’s nothing more they’d like than to convince us that their products are best, but they seemed to know the website and its readers (and probably me) well enough not to try. In truth, it was quite reassuring to hear how passionate the big truck makers are about pickups. Each can be faulted for many things, but truck passion is not one of them.
But our focus is and will remain about providing them a stage where they can do head-to-head battle — story vs. story, truck vs. truck. That’s clearly what we’ve done best and clearly what the big truck makers want to prove to the PUTC audience.
From Detroit we flew to Texas, where Nissan held a truck event near Bandera, on one of the largest ranches we’d ever seen. Let’s just say the 4x4 route we ran took about 25 minutes to navigate and had us guiding Frontiers, Titans and Xterras as well as Armadas up and down dry riverbeds, over rocky hill climbs and through rutted, scrub-lined two-tracks. Certainly nothing horrific, but plenty of challenging terrain to push stock vehicles outside their comfort zones. Nissan even had TORC pro driver Chad Hord there to demonstrate some of his trademark 80-foot jumps with his Titan racetruck. And, no, they didn’t let us get behind the wheel.
From Nissan’s ranch, we headed to San Antonio to meet up with members of the Texas Auto Writers Association as they conducted the annual Texas Truck Rodeo. If you don’t know, Texas is an important market for pickup and full-size SUV makers, so when local auto scribes want the biggest and best, this is where all the serious manufacturers bring their wares. Just about every pickup for sale in the U.S. was represented, giving auto writers a chance to get behind the wheel on a short-but-challenging 4x4 course, as well as more civilized routes through the local townships. You've probably already seen most of the winners of each category in our recap.
In all, in the past week we probably talked about and drove just about every pickup truck there is. In fact, we’re collecting notes and writing stories about some of the highlights. I know, you want them right now, but I promise they’re coming.
Yes, that was a good week. Now on to the next.