In what could turn out to be one of the strangest chapters in pickup truck history, manufacturers look as if they will continue to ignore the Society of Automotive Engineers’ towing standards — which they all agreed on for the 2013 model year — for at least one more year.
As we've covered here before, the SAE J2807 towing standards were settled more than a year ago, and it looked like new-truck buyers were going to be able to compare any half-ton and three-quarter-ton pickup truck (as well as quite a few other one-ton trucks) tow ratings with direct competitors. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
In one of the most exhaustive articles written on the subject, Automotive News charted the history of the SAE-designated panel and where it stands today. And after repeated attempts to contact someone at SAE, Automotive News concluded that we're likely to stay in this standoff, where none of the manufacturers — except Toyota, which adopted the testing protocols two years ago — will use the new procedures and ratings unless everyone does.
In all likelihood, half-ton ratings will drop only a few hundred pounds; three-quarter-ton trucks could, depending on the configuration, drop several thousand pounds; and the strongest one-ton pullers will be over the 13,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating of the requirement, so they'll not be included — for now.
Whether or not a story like this will be enough to get the truck makers back to the table to figure this out remains to be seen. In fact, we've even played with the idea of an informal lunch to take care of this. All we know is that there needs to be some way to allow consumers to cut through the towing hype and hyperbole of the commercials and marketing materials to truthfully see how each truck compares with any other.
At the heart of the issue is the safety of the driver, and we're guessing manufacturers can understand that putting current or potential customers at risk is not a good idea.