GM Small Pickups Take Aim at Tacoma

2014 GMC Canyon 1 II

At a small speaking event in Michigan, GM North American President Mark Reuss said that the new, smaller pickups coming from GM (likely as 2015 models) will go after the "lifestyle" truck buyer and take direct aim at cutting into the Toyota Tacoma stranglehold on the "small full" (midsize) segment.

We've heard several truck manufacturers talk about the elusive "lifestyle" pickup truck that would be more flexible for families and do a better job of meeting the aggressive federal emissions and fuel economy standards coming in just a few years. A lighter, smaller pickup truck with a V-6engine could be the sweet spot many truck makers will target for a decade or two. And it sounds like Reuss wants GM to be the first out of the gate.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Reuss noted that the new trucks will offer packages and colors likely to be popular with younger buyer on the coasts. Specifically, Reuss says GM is working hard to come up with the right names to identify the trucks as something different as well as lure non-truck buyers into showrooms. How you do all that with a name was unclear.

Other automakers like Ford have done well with names like Explorer and Expedition to communicate the traditional values in their SUV and crossover lineups; however, we'll have to wait to see what that means for a company that had the misnamed Avalanche (a natural disaster) and nondescript Colorado (it's just a state).

No matter what happens, from what we've seen from the spy photos, it seems like GM will have to come up with some amazing names and even more amazing technology to advance the new trucks to better compete with the Tacoma. More to come.

2014 GMC Canyon II

Comments

Get rid of the Colorado and Canyon names. Those names are terrible and their heritage of low quality has damaged the Chevy and GM name.

Why is it that GMC trucks always look better than Chevy trucks. The Chevy version of this thing is ugly, but the front end on this is not too bad.

Tacoma?!??!?!
I think you mean Ridgeline.
It looks just like a Ridgeline not a Tacoma.

tacos are great trucks, ridgelines are for wussies.

@Maxx - the truck has an integrated cab spoiler and tonneau cover. It isn't a truck with a Ridgeline C pillar.

Interesting how they refer to the small truck market as the "lifestyle" truck buyer.
"Lifestyle"???
Is that like the leather chaps and vests dudes that don't own Harleys ?
Isn't the global Colorado 9/10th size like the global Ranger? and why is this "lifestyle" market aimed at " the younger buyer on the coasts"?

Is this going to be another GMC misses the mark type of product?

Looks like Colorado and Canyon is out and "SurferDude", and "Speedo" is in. Assuming they are talking left coast.

The Colorado made many DO NOT BUY and Worst Cars lists. It's time to ditch the name.

I have seen HD as lifestyle vehicles.

Lifestyle is the incorrect term to use.

Most pickups are lifestyle vehicles and so are cars, quads etc.

Call them the Sierra II & Silverado II.

The Tacoma has a the market to itself except for the Frontier, but it's irrelevant without a regular cab. Regular cab strippers are the heart and soul of the mid-size market and that's why OEMs backed away from the mid-size market.

Nissan Hard Body trucks sold 100,000+ annually in the US, with a loyal fan base. Now that Nissan stopped offering regular cabs here, Frontier sales are crippled and on pace to sell less than 16,000 total trucks in 2013.

It's hard to tell what GM is thinking, but they must love fleet buyers and cheapskates. GM is GM.

This GMC looks pretty good, first time I've said that about any GM truck in a while.

The Ridgeline bed is fixed to the cab, this looks nothing like the Ridgeline.

Is there any word on when official specs are going to come out for this pair of trucks?

I do not want a truck that will compete with the Taco, I want a smaller truck then the current Tacoma. Like my old 2001 Taco4x4 and 2011 Canyon 4x4 Drop a small 3.0 V6 in it and I would be happy happy happy.

Although the Colorado and Canyon may have had some bad rep for the last couple years I still like the names.. Well atleast the Colarado. If they did change names the classic s-10 & Sonoma ring a bell. A new performance variant with a 3.6TT would be nice. Another name could be the Cheyenne. But if you give it a name keep it.. I understand the Colorado didn't do well but it still a good name, and if you offer a good truck that meets the needs of the people than people won't remember much about the old colarado but see it on used car dealers. Look at the equinox, the first one I thought wasn't that great looking and then came out with the 2010 model, and I thought it looked great, and still selling well..

I personally don't care what GM calls the new twins.Unless I can get one with a diesel,I won't call one mine.No more gassers.

@Denvermike

Are we looking at the same data? The data posted on this site here: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2013/04/march-2013-top-15-pickup-truck-sales.html

Seems to indicate that the Frontier will make at least 50K sales this year.

The truck logs nice but the cuv front end has to go. Other than that, no spec no care..

Like it or not, smaller trucks going to be what manufacturers will be forced to sell consumers. The days of 5000 lb. plus half-tons are numbered. There is no cost effective way to make such trucks fuel efficient enough to meet CAFE 2016.

My theory is that there will be a new crop of 90% full-size trucks to fill in where current half-tons occupy the market. Current half-tons aren't far off what 3/4 tons were just a few years ago. I think Ford's Atlas Concept is really a glimpse at the next-gen Super Duty which will probably have a more robust Ecoboost gasser and a baby powerstroke. The 2014 GM trucks could also migrate to a light 3/4 ton platform. By 2016, GM is bound to have a baby duramax and Caddy's new 3.6TT will migrate over. Ram can do the same, especially with their new diesel (which is more powerful than old 12V Cummins from the 90s). Ram has something up their always well hidden sleeve.

The current 1 ton truck market has shrunk so much, it is easy to reclassify as heavy duty trucks. Average consumers don't need a truck that carries 4000 lbs + and tow nearly 30,000 lbs. that's CDL stuff.

The truck market isn't what it used to be in terms of sales. A lot of those sales have migrated to cars and crossovers. What's left of truck buyers will still be able to meet their needs. Smaller trucks will replace a lot of the current half-ton buyers as well as attract car and crossover folks. Those who want what is now a 1/2 ton will simply buy what will be called a 3/4 ton. The automakers escape CAFE with these new downsized 3/4 and 1 ton trucks.

@phillyguy - Denver sometimes ignores facts about small trucks because he knows that will rile up some of his detractors. Same applies to his reg cab cheapskate buyer comment.

Small trucks have to compete against minivans, CUVs (small and mid sized), SUV's (small and mid sized) , and fullsized 1/2 tons.
Anyone knows that the money is in higher end crewcab trucks that are sold as alternatives to SUV's.
That may be where GMC is heading with its "lifestyle" label applied to these trucks. Cheepo reg cab trucks aren't lifestyle vehicles.
Full sized crewcab 1/2 trucks do well partially because there isn't much competition from vans and SUV's.

There's still a market for small or compact pickup trucks. That's why Tacoma was and is the best-seller.

Up to now Toyota had no incentive for improving the breed because they had no competition. Tacoma had driven Ranger, Colorado/Canyon and Dakota out of the market and into oblivion.

Now that GM is coming in to the market again, my bet would be that GM has awakened a sleeping giant and Toyota will start to update the Tacoma. It's about time!

Maybe we'll see a small diesel, and maybe a V6 with an 8-speed automatic. And there's no reason why Tacoma could not offer an SUV like the Durango, based on their 4-door 4X4 Tacoma.

@highdesertcat - they do, it is called the 4Runner. The Sequoia is the Tundra equivalent.

@phillyguy & Lou - I must have looked at the Titan sales, but they're still less than a 1/3 of Tacoma sales for no apparent reason. And there's no apparent reason for Frontier sales to have dropped so dramatically since the Datsun pickup and Nissan Hard Body days (vs Toyotas). It also doesn't appear that the Frontier picked up very many Ford Ranger sales. The Tacoma picked up quite a bit, most likely because it offers cheapskates a regular cab. Orkin went straight to Tacomas as most other displaced, fleet Ranger buyers likely did.

The fleet sales for base regular cab strippers soared at Tacoma when the Ranger and Colorado dropped out.

By lifestyle GM means they are going to target different buyers: the 18 year old looking for his first "car", broke college grads, nerds, athelethes - surfers, kayakers, look for more ads that target gays or gay publications, single men, appearance buyers, flakey people, hippies, and retirees that just want something to putter around town in or drive to the hardware store.

The Silverado and Sierra will target more traditional buyers: workers, families, serious and semi serious duty cyles.

Just go back to their old advertising on the S10 for clues: 18, not a dime to share, working for peanuts....

S10 is not a bad name to go back to by the way. They still use it in at least one other country, Brazil I believe. If they call it Silverado 1000 the target markets might get confused but they could include them under the Silverado sales. Calling it anything but Colorado would be a start.

@Denvermike

Yeah, their sales are definitely down from the hardbody days. The truck seems to be selling alright now, but if the new set of twins from GM are fairly modern they are going to put some pressure on the Tacoma but really lay into the Frontier. Nissan is going to have to do some updating of its own if it doesn't want to lose a big pile of sales. But that's a good thing, I like trucks that size and really like the current Frontier. It would be nice for Nissan to address issues like the diff breather which to my knowledge is still a common failure point on Frontiers. I even really like the Honda Ridgeline, and really hope that Honda updates that. The Ridgeline is the perfect "sized" truck for me (in terms of the cab size and bed width, wouldn't mind an extra foot of bed length though). Sadly I do not have too much hope that it will be updated, and even if it is Honda seems to be lagging so far behind every other manufacturer in both powertrains and transmissions that it will likely sell little to no better than the current Ridgeline.

@Aaron

I hope that you are correct. I would love to see the half tons shrunk down a little bit. The current group are just too big for me and the stuff that I do, I would be thrilled to see the crop of half tons come down in size a little bit and hopefully go up in mileage.

Reuss said he wanted to make it fun. They did this in the early 90's. The most FUN for your dollar...To get the most FUN out of every dollar....They should have stuck with this target market instead of trying to make the Colorado into something it is not...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-4-dqKB7Ic

Should they bring back the Maxi Cab name?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W9I065QCaQ

Graphics, paint, ground effects, wheels - that says it all...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa7kbBETEm4

Lou, I know about the 4Runner, but what I had in mind was the 4-door 4X4 Tacoma one of my sons bought, except with the bed fully enclosed and without the wall behind the second seat.

It is quite a bit longer than the 4Runner and wider as well.

Right now, my son has bought a shell for the bed with a single door in place of the tailgate. Had it painted the same color as the rest of the body, and it looks just like the Tacoma version of the Durango.

He's had several people sneak up to it to see if it was a fully-enclosed SUV, only to find out it was a truck with a shell on it.

It's kind of like an Avalanche in reverse, bringing it back to a Suburban, from which it sprang.

@Zach - you are quoting lyrics to "Like A Rock" which was Chevy's truck anthem. I don't recall that music ever being used for an S10 commercial.

Lou, Yes, it was used for both but differently. It was used in the first youtube linke I posted here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-4-dqKB7Ic

Note in the S10 commercial, they highlight the lyrics about being 18, broke, working for peanuts, not a dime to share.

In the Silverado they highlight: strength, strong as can be, nothing ever got to me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-4-dqKB7Ic

Same song but different lyrics for the two different target markets: the broke 18 year old who wants to have fun, and the worker hauling around stone.

If you want to see the S-10 return, post comments here.

@Lou,
"Looks like Colorado and Canyon is out and "SurferDude", and "Speedo" is in. Assuming they are talking left coast"

Whatever marketing that works. It sounds like they are after the Tacoma market. I think both GM vehicles will expand this market segment rather than cannibalizing it

The S-Series ended production in Brazil in 2012, being replaced by the thai Chevrolet Colorado, but still with the name S-10.

@Robert Ryan - I agree that the Colorado will not eat into Tacoma sales. Frontier sales maybe but not Tacoma. I also agree that the market will expand. The "Buy USA" types will buy an Asian product from an American company but won't buy an American truck from an Asian company.

@Zach - thanks for the links. Interesting strategy.

@Lou,
The trucks you can depend on. The trucks that last. Like a rock!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2VgRiaDHWw

I've always been a Ford truck guy with my last new trucks being a '94 4x2 XLT Ranger SuperCab and '02 4x2 Lariat F-150 SuperCrew. But this great looking GM Canyon just might be my next truck since Ford decided not to bring the award winning T6 "global" Ranger to North America. I need a crew cab (2 kids in car seats) but refuse to buy a full size truck because of their bloated size and poor MPG numbers. Don't need the towing and payload capabilities either. The new Ranger totally meets my needs in size, payload & towing ratings, with my only complaint being it has only a 5 foot bed (6 foot would be perfect). So if this GMC is truly fuel efficient and anything like the new Ranger in size and offers a 6 foot bed, I'd be writing a check as soon as they hit the dealers lots.

Oh, I'm the lifestyle market too.... Married with two kids, hobbies include mountain biking, canoe/kayaking, motorcycles, camping and the truck is also often used to haul trail building tools and building materials for work with a local non-profit as well as compost & mulch purchased loose by the cubic yard. My truck definitely get used as a truck!

@Lou,
I thought you would be interested in hearing this.

From the AP:

Mark Reuss, GM's North American president, said Tuesday that the trucks will be able to do 95 percent of the work that a big truck can do.

The new GM trucks are aimed at different audiences. The Canyon will go after more functional work buyers, while the Colorado will target younger "lifestyle" buyers who use trucks to haul recreation equipment and play outdoors, Reuss said. Both will have a list of options so people can customize them to their activities, he said.

Reuss said GM is evaluating whether to keep the Colorado and Canyon names.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/04/16/gm-small-pickups-on-way-in-2014/?intcmp=features#ixzz2QhcbafAn

ATTENTION, take this for what it is worth but he says: The new trucks will be DRAMATICALLY different from GM's newer midsize pickups already on sale in Asia, he said.

After reading about the not so FTA with Japan I think CAFE, chicken tax and all the other barriers will remain in place in the US for another decade. This is bad for you guys.

So, I would bet that GM starts using the Holden Commodore ute chassis. I don't know if you will get the same body.

If they offer a US style cab the vehicles will be nearly the size of the Avalanche etc.

This chassis is already providing the same or larger load capacities than most of your current 1/2 ton pickups.

A US styled 'Commodore' pickup would weigh less than 4 000lbs.

At least you can have a pickup that can handle.

Here is a link on the SV6 Commodore ute. It weighs slightly under 4 000lbs.

http://www.carshowroom.com.au/newcars/reviews/2020/2011_Holden_Commodore_SV6_Ute_Review___Road_Test

When all the other automakers go to compact and midsize trucks that have the same capacity as current 1/2 tons, but with much better fuel economy, Ford execs are going to choke. They are putting all their eggs in the full size truck and they are never going to get the efficiency out of a full size that these other companies will be able to get out of smaller trucks.

Keep the 1-ton trucks for the heavy duty working crowd, ditch the 1500 and 2500 trucks, and bring to market a new midsize 1/2 ton truck with heavy suspension options, diesel options, 4 door room, etc....boom problems solved.

@Aaron - Full-size trucks will need to have 19 EPA MPG to comply with the 2016 CAFE schedule. They're almost there already. 23 MPG by 2025 may take extensive use of aluminum and composites (if there are no further advancements in drivetrain tech) to keep the same/current footprint. But the less things there are to rust, the longer they'll last.

CAFE comes down harder on compact Chevy S10 size trucks, but they don't really exist anyways. Mid-size are now 9/10th the size for full-size and they keep growing with each new generation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy

Good luck GM on taking out the Tacoma, you will need it. Unlike the Canyon and Colorado name plates, the Tacoma (and Hilux) has great heritage and it a name that comes up when talking about off road vehicles and dependability.

Considering the Tacoma hasn't even had a MAJOR update since 2005 and is still selling over 100k units a year. Toyota still has the updated 4.0 V6 that hasn't been implemented into the Tacoma yet, and considering the Tacoma costs nearly as much as a full size truck, it is amazing how well this platform still sells for being 8 years old.

I like the looks of the GMC version of this. Call the GMC version the Sierra II and call the Chevy version the Cheyenne and change the grill of the Chevy version to the same as the 2013 Traverse. Offer the diesel option in both. GM strategy of just appealing to the young buyer is wrong, many older buyers would like these trucks as well because they would not be as tall and easier to park. Many buyers of crew cab Tacomas are older buyers.

@Lou-I agree with your assessments about crew cabs and Denver Mike. Denver Mike is far from being an expert on what people drive and he is trying to stir the pot. The days of selling several 100ks or a million units of any particular model are gone and a model can be a success at less than 100k if it shares a platform and components from other models. Trucks are not selling at the levels that they did 10 or more years ago because there are alternatives such as the crossover. That does not mean that trucks are not successful, it means that the money is made on the higher trim levels and offering more extras. The market is more diverse than it was many years ago with different sizes of cars, SUVs, crossovers, vans, pickups, and etc. The days of having one size car or truck have been gone for many years and that is one reason that the manufacturers share platforms is to reduce their costs so that they can offer more variation at a lower sales volume. Presently all sizes of crossovers are the most popular, but who knows for sure what will be in the next 5 or 10 years. The market changes based on consumers' needs and preferences and on the CAFE standards that encourage manufacturers to make a certain type of vehicle.

@WXman - Half ton trucks need a certain amount of mass to overcome what they're towing when going around turns etc. A Half ton suspension on a compact truck is an interesting concept, but it would be so stiff that it would rattle your teeth going down the road. The vibration would drive you insane if the truck can stay bolted together. No, mid-size trucks are used for much more than commercial hard work. They're multipurpose family rigs and also have to please commuters that buy base/simple trucks as the would Corollas, Sentras, Focus', etc.


Fuel economy of mid-size trucks is not so great. Especially when you're talking 4X4 crew cabs. Then they get similar MPG to similarly equipped full-size. Worse MPG actually, depending on how they're optioned or put to work. Diesels are becoming more of a curious niche product, similar to hybrids, in small vehicles that obviously don't pull horse trailers, etc.

@ WXman--Probably so but if these trucks do well Ford could change their mind and bring over the Global Ranger as the next F-100 or Ranger. I am sure Ford will be watching closely.

Just call it the S-10 and I'll buy it.

Chevy Adventure!

Paint it bright yellow and put a AT logo on it, and I'd think I had Kung-Fu grip. Older Xers here will get the reference.

Put a small block diesel in it and General, I'd buy one.

@BAF0 - That Holden Ute is a perfect answer to the El Camino and Ranchero... FINALLY!!!
Holden can't even give that thing away in its own country. It's cute and all, but load an approx 3,000 lbs pallet of sod, roofing or concrete mix in the back of that Ute and good luck with that. Yikers! It's like the Camaro of trucks. Been there, done that.

The Chicken tax is bad for US OEMs because of retaliatory taxes imposed by governments like that 22% EU tariff on US trucks (with absolutely zero loopholes).
BUT then the Chicken tax doe NOT affect global or domestic OEMs wanting to sell cars in the US. Obviously. Obviously Not any more than the tariff placed on cars imported to the US.

US consumer choices are ONLY dictated by what sells, what doesn't or what wouldn't.
Let's count all the successful and wildly popular IMPORT cars, pickups, trucks, vans, including medium duties, that have sold like CRAZY here in the US over the decades since CAFE, EPA, NHTSA, DOT and TARIFFS have been in place. That would take a while...

CAFE actually HELPS trucks sell in the US. Trucks from country and any OEM. CAFE makes ZERO distinctions on nation of origin. And CAFE makes NO distinction in class or size of trucks, at least historically. This tremendous advantage should have helped sell mid-size trucks. It did allow them to grow though. Nope, they're mostly undesired. Except of course, by fleets.

Australia has a FTA with the US and nothing would prevent the Holden Ute from selling here along side the Holden re-badge'd Chevrolet SS.

Every developed nation has "barriers" in the name of public safety, but are equally restrictive to all OEMs including their own domestics. EU and US standards differ, but both are "barriers" to each other's products. "Who's Right and Who's Wrong" is a different topic.

Make the bed on this about a foot longer and it will be good.

The term "lifestyle truck" is just stupid. A small truck aimed at carrying mountain bikes is no more a lifestyle truck than a Harley edition F- series, aimed at well heeled motorcycle fanciers. If you're honest with yourself, then anything not used as a work truck, is a lifestyle truck. "But I use mine to tow my boat/race car/camper/ carry my hunting dogs/etc... if it isn't what you Fo for a living, its a hobby or LIFESTYLE.
Now, before you flame me, do whatever you want with your hard earned dollar. The only thing that bothers me is complaints about how expensive a particular gasoline based pass time is getting.

Just for once I would like to see these so called trucks that have the same or better payload then half tons in the states be compared evenly. Put both up to max payload, see how they stop. See how the trailer towing is; lets see ow much space they have, oh, they would lose that one off the bat, for the interior and bed space. Put 7,000 pounds (atleast) behind them on a windy day. Drive them at highway speeds, like 60-65.

It's no wonder there are reports of Mazda warranting the leaf springs on their BT-50s because they are over rated.


Point is, pickups in the states have a rating where they can handle the weight and do it well, the global ones have a "oh sure you can throw 2000 pounds on a crewcab Ranger and drive 25 mph down the road, and maybe it will last"

Holden Ute, that's pretty much a toy. Did you see how well the Dodge Rampage sold? Gone in about 3 years. It only sat two as well. Sure they only had 2.2 engines, but if it was for lack of power Chrysler coud have just stuck a turbo on it like they did many 2.2s.

I wouldn't say it would be useless, but how many want just a two seater? Sure, a two seater would be okay for my girlfriends 17 y/o son and his girlfriend, (and actually we like it better that he wouldn't have a big car load of people to distract or egg him on into doing the wrong things, like hill topping, which killed an old classmates niece) But then, most high school kids aren't in the market for cars, are they?

Can't hardly put any weight in a Holden ute.

@WXman

19 mpg doesn't sound like much, but it is. Also, don't forget that this number continues to rise further in the future. Ram is closest with its V6 8 speed and auto stop start package at 18 mpg city. It's entire line of light trucks will need to average 19 mpg city. When you take a v8 powered truck that gets 15 mpg city, it has to improve efficiency by over 20% to hit that number. I don't see how this is possible without either resorting to diesel engines and/or reducing vehicle size and weight. Something has to give. Makes more sense to push a smaller platform to consumers and reposition current half-ton models as heavier duty models exempt from light duty cafe standards.



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