The midsize pickup truck segment has been on life support for almost two decades, with the current crop of competitors at the lowest number ever. Even though a new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will enter the market next year, other manufacturers are being cautious about how much they invest in this fickle U.S. segment.
Sales for small pickups during the last few years have remained flat, with pickups like the Ford Ranger and Suzuki Equator walking away from the segment entirely, the GM twins taking some time off and even Honda, with its Ridgeline, threatening to take a hiatus in order to save some plant remodeling money.
There's no question that for those who have toughed it out, there are other challenges as well. Vehicles like the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are still quite popular but are selling a huge majority of their smaller pickups in relatively few flavors, mainly the four-door types. Offering a full lineup of regular, extended and crew cab models seems less important as more customers show preferences for versatile, passenger-friendly cabs. We would expect, especially if something more "entry level" was on the horizon, that some of these manufacturers would eliminate the smaller regular cabs altogether for the midsizers if they had the chance. And it looks like things might be headed in that direction.
Mike Connor (who we've never heard of or met at a press or new-truck drive event) is reporting in Motor Trend's Truck Trend Magazine that Toyota will dump the regular cab option from the 2015 Tacoma lineup. Of course, the regular cab isn't a huge seller and is typically the platform of choice for most small-business fleet purchases,making up less than 10percent of the total No. 1-selling Tacoma yearly sales volume.
Could this mean Toyota has plans for an actual compact pickup truck as a future product or could the next-generation Tacoma become even larger with a CrewMax model (similar to the Tundra), effectively making the Access Cab Tacoma the entry-level model? We like the former option, but we'll have to wait and see.