Five Minutes With GM's Anita Burke

Anitaburke II

By Andrius Mikonis

GM leveraged global engineering resources to revitalize its midsize pickup trucks under guidance from Anita Burke, chief vehicle engineer for midsize trucks. Burke joined GM in 1991 after working for other U.S. full-size truck manufacturers. She was an engineering group manager in Mexico and directed after-sales engineering for GM in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Burke recently returned to her native Chicago for a walk around of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.

Engineering for the Midsize Customer

"One thing with midsize truck customers is they utilize their vehicles for everyday commuting as well as all their lifestyle activities because they want the versatility of a pickup. They don't need the full capability of a full-size. So every decision we made into this was first and foremost based on fuel economy. … From the integrated front-end design to its air dam to its raked windshield, we took that into account."

Why the Colorado and GMC's Canyon Won't Steal Full-Size Sales

"What we're really covering is all the customer needs when you look at our strategy. We're the only manufacturer that's going to offer a truck that meets every single one of our customers' versatile needs. Not everyone needs the size or the full capability of a heavy-duty or a light-duty truck. They're looking for a midsize truck that's smaller, maneuverable, easy parking and gets exceptional fuel economy."

Anticipating Growth for the Midsize Segment

"This segment has got a huge opportunity for growth when you look at it; that it's been a segment that has been neglected for many, many years; that there really hasn't been something that the customer could choose from. So we've reinvented the midsize segment with delivering this truck, with both the Canyon and the Colorado, that's going to give the customer that choice. … I don't think its chartable or predictable, but when you look at the size of the segment, it's been around 225,000 units last year, and again, that was with limited choice. Their only option was to go with something that was admittedly dated … they turned to crossovers and passenger cars because of the choice that was there. Or they went to a full-size truck, which was more truck than they needed."

The Diesel Option

"At launch, [for the] '15 model year we're going to have two gas engines. … A year later we bring in the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel. What that's going to deliver obviously is one step up with respect to performance and capability. So it's going to be that customer that's looking, again, for this size truck but wants that additional performance and capability. … The diesel engine is currently the same engine that we use in our global products. It's coming out of Rayong, Thailand. It's the same diesel, but obviously modified for the after treatment. … [The take rate is] probably going to be a decent percentage, probably on the order of 10 [percent]. Obviously we don't have set volumes at this point for it, but that's what my take is."

Global Versus North American Versions

"When I started this project, I was on assignment in Brazil where our global midsize pickup truck was engineered. That is their truck that really covers the truck segment. They [Brazilians] don't … have demand for what we consider a full-size truck. The functionality and usage of a midsize truck covers all bases. … There are significant differences. Obviously, we took the learnings [sic] from our global truck, it's still the midsize truck architecture, as well as we looked at our full-size truck learnings, and we leveraged both of those to develop this. Looking at the North American market versus Thailand, the Asia market, South America — they have different market expectations and needs. Again, looking at the global truck, its needs from a payload standpoint and functionality are different than this one, as well as our safety standards, etc. … [The global truck] is a midsize, but its payload capability is what we would consider light-duty full-size because they don't have that. … It's of course going to perform differently from a ride, handling and mass standpoint because of those needs."

Expectations for the Commercial Market

"It's obviously there. It's got the capability. Chevy's got three trim levels. … That base will obviously be key for our fleets and work-truck level. … All the trucks come with a six-speed automatic; the two-wheel-drive extended-cab base trim also has a six-speed manual. So, again, that will show some interest for our fleet and commercial use. … We do not have a regular cab, just a crew and extended; on our extended cab we do have the feasibility of ordering that truck with a second-row seat delete, so that way they have a closed-cabin functionality."

 

Comments

That is a good looking truck. I hope it is a serious competitor for the Tacoma, and I own a Tacoma. Competition is good!

I recently saw the GMC Canyon Crew Cab SLT (short bed) at the Philadelphia Auto Show. While I would love the size of the GMC Sierra, I don't need the full capabilities of a Sierra. The new GMC Canyon will do just what I need from a pickup with better MPG to boot (over a full size).

General Motors seems to have been confused for a long time in this mid size segment. The first gen Colorado/Canyon (and who can forget the bloody awful looking Isuzu?) seem to have been designed to compete with the 1995 Ford Ranger.

By the time that GM got around to releasing the Colorado, Rangers had a DOHC twin cam all alloy IRS pickup with a 5 speed auto.

The Ford was cheaper to buy with auto than the Chevy.

Based on this woman's remarks they designed a truck that every Five foot Nine inch Brazilian will love. If you're over six feet tall, maybe not so much.

I think they are still confused:

The new Colorado clearly seems to be competing with the Tacoma that came out TEN bleeping years ago. They punted on the diesel to 2016.

Good luck to them. A lot of folks in Wentzville are counting on it.

I seen both the Canyon and Colorado at the St. Louis show, I will buy one after the first year, if they make one like the ZR2 S10, that sits up higher with more ground clearance. They copied the full size truck witht the frame hanging down. And hopefully they upgrade the 3.6 V6 as it gets way lowerr gas mileage then the EPA ratings in the Traverse.

It's nice to have a smaller truck as a daily driver and to haul the occasional load. Full-size trucks are great, but for many they are overkill. I wonder if many will be getting rid of their 20 year old compact trucks to get one of these?

I think your right on target Anita! We want a mid size truck.

Why make us wait a year for the Diesel?!?

I would buy one the minute they are introduced but will wait a year for the Diesel.

A diesel midsize with an off road package is my dream truck.

I think you did a great job on this truck.

Wait, they are only offering the Manual transmission in only one configuration, base 2wd extended cab? that is marked towards fleets , but fleets buy autos since most people dont know Manual, they should offer it in all trims/configurations even with the diesel. ive seen plenty of tacoms and frontier crew cabs with manual tranmissions in the mid to high trim levels with the off road pkgs. Some of us want a pick up that has 4x4 nav, heated leather memory seats, etc, but want to drive a vehicle that has a clutch pedal.

I checked these out at the local auto show. All of the pictures of the trucks are designed to hide the absurdly low hanging frame on them. Why on earth a truck company would design a brand new truck - one that is supposed to fight the Tacoma - with a frame that hangs so low that it hurts to look at is beyond me. I will look at them in person when they get to dealers (seriously GM, did you really have to put them on the "no touch" pedestals at the auto shows?), but after seeing it in person I am disappointed.

On Monday, the wife and I came home with a new car, a Charger R/T AWD, something we have not owned in a long time, a car! Now we are going to wait for the new Calorado to come out, and see if it will be able to tow our Airstream, in either gas V-6 or diesel, and maybe trade the 2011 Silverado in on one, or on a new Silverado, as while at the Dodge dealer waiting for the delivery process, I was able to take a new Ram diesel, and Hemi for a ride, and while the Hemi was really nice, the diesel was ok off the line and around town, but on the hyw? not enough hp! for me, and as far a mileage, at least from the way the computer was telling me, it will not be worth the extra money involved at all! that and the Ram seams to drive bigger than the Silverado, yes the Hemi has more power than the 5.3 in my 2011, but the new Chevy I got to drive with a 5.3 was just a good! and seamed to drive like the truck either weighs less or is smaller, but the Ram is very nice also, and the Charger is great! we got 25 mpg on the trip home, and that is with under 100 miles on it! and around town over the past couple of days we are getting over 17 mpg, in the snow! with a Hemi! so far I love the Hemi!!

@Sandman4x4

Run, do not walk, to your RAM dealer and get the new Ram Hemi 4 door 6 speed with the deals they are making now.

I cannot tell you what kind of trade they'll do on the 2011 Chevy but the Chrysler dealers are trying to blow their V8s off the lot to make room for the diesels.

The Colorado diesel is at least a year away. A lot could change by then.

The deals on V8 rams are so good right now it's almost hard to believe.

GM has a ton of petential with these new midsize trucks, if they restrain themselves from piling incentive money on the half-tons.

There definitely is a market for these in the US and the competition will take notice in short order. I expect the updated Tacoma and Frontier to make huge strides in mpg, but modest ones in performance.

Ford? I don't see the willpower to bring in a competitive ranger. Especially not when the F150 outsold Chevy/GMC combined by more than 100K units in 2013. They just don't need the midsize segment like GM does.

I don't think I could buy a truck with a diesel motor made in Thailand.

Hmmm. Female chief engineer for GM midsize trucks.
That explains a lot.

"They don't need the full capability of a full-size. So every decision we made into this was first and foremost based on fuel economy"

That sounds like Ram's strategy with the Ecodiesel 1500.

I love the looks of the Colorado. The Ecodiesel looks like it will have a good take rate despite the poor payload capacity. 26 MPG in the very heavy Ram would indicate that the Colorado should get considerably better.

Congratulations GMC. I think that you have a winner on your hands.
I disagree with the assumption that this truck will not dip into full sized truck sales. It will.

* "One thing with midsize truck customers is they utilize their vehicles for everyday commuting as well as all their lifestyle activities because they want the versatility of a pickup."
They didn't go far enough.

* "What we're really covering is all the customer needs when you look at our strategy."
FAIL. At 84" wide, it's a foot wider than the Toyota Tacoma and WILL NOT FIT THROUGH A TYPICAL SINGLE-CAR GARAGE DOOR.

* "This segment has got a huge opportunity for growth when you look at it; that it's been a segment that has been neglected for many, many years..."
True, but by making this the same size as older full size trucks, they're still ignoring the Mid-Size segment.

* The Diesel Option
No longer a viable option since the price of diesel fuel is now high enough to completely eliminate the fuel economy advantages of going diesel.

* Global Versus North American Versions
This implies that the Global version is still measurably smaller than the American version, though I admit I could be wrong. Still, when comparing this Colorado to its nearest mid-size competitor in the US, there's still a visible size difference in height and width, though they share the same length.

* Expectations for the Commercial Market
This is where a few very vocal commentators will claim the majority of Colorado sales. While I won't argue that SOME of the Colorado/Canyon sales will come from this market, I do not believe it will be a majority; there are too many people who need the utility of a pickup but don't need or want the size and capacity of the typical full size. GM is recognizing this point from the outset and hopes that this is enough different from those full size to be a success.
However, by making this notably larger than any other mid-size truck currently available, I believe they're ignoring why so many people have gone to SUVs--not only for their better economy but also for their smaller size on average. Were this pickup brought down to the same scale as the Traverse while keeping a 6-foot bed they would likely see FAR more sales than they currently expect from this notably larger model.

@ redbloodedxy
Sexist are we? As an engineer, the standards that we are held to are the same, gender and race do not play a part.

For me, The RAM eco-diesel out priced itself ... by a lot @ $52,000 fully loaded. Hoping for a sane pricing strategy from the GM twins as I use my vehicle for work and play.

BTW, I am the proud owner of an Engineering and Contracting company :) So I would like to have nice, but require capability at a decent $$$. Not worth giving up what I have at the moment. Any upgrade is a splurge on my end ... and, as my wife likes to say, being practical (read frugal) is inbred.

Oh, and I will be looking at the new Nissan's too.

@RoadWhale

I think those Wikipedia dimensions you looked at are wrong. The actual width is 74.3 inches:

http://media.gm.ca/media/ca/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/ca/en/2014/Jan/0112_NAIAS_Canyon.html

That puts it in the same class as the Tacoma.

For what it's worth, this is the first GM I've seen in a long time that makes me think I'd like to own one. I prefer the Colorado over the Canyon because it moves a little further from the "GM look". I'd be interested to see what they look like when they hit the street.

I am a little disappointed at the towing specs. The max is 6,700 pounds. I think that a 7,500 pound max with a max 1,500 pound payload would have been a better spec.

The Tacoma has a 6,500 pound max tow rating.

I am very interested in a smaller tow vehicle for my trailer, but a 6,700 pound max puts me close to the limit when I consider the loaded trailer weight and my wife an I plus equipment in the truck. I have a 2011 Silverado, which is excellent for my needs, but a bigger truck than I would like.

I think Anita answered correctly (if corporately predictably) to all the questions. This is a product that fills a gap, and a gap that lots of new moms and dads, younger consumers, and urban dwellers wanted. I remember when the Transit Connect took off a few years ago: people were wondering why anyone would have it over an Econoline, but the truth it for tighter spaces it just made more sense.

My one bone to pick: while the stated payload of this truck is lower than the global truck, I've always wondered about how payload is calculated in America compared to outside of it. Because many global midsizes have payloads on par with or exceeding American full size trucks. Yet, when I look underneath at the axle and suspension in the rear, the axle carrier is smaller and there are fewer leafs in the springs.

I've held a suspicion that globally, payload is calculated with far more sag in the truck than in the US. I've seen an overloaded Colorado in Thailand before: while I have no idea how much the scrap in the bed actually weighed, it was basically on the bump stops. In America a payload that put the truck on the bump stops would normally be considered way outside of what the rated payload is.

Again I'm not sure either way, but I would like to know the difference in how payload is calculated overseas compared to here. And in that same line of thinking, how GCWR is calculated.

I like it but the 1st time I see one of these stickered for $40,000 I'm going to throw up.

@papa jim,

"By the time that GM got around to releasing the Colorado, Rangers had a DOHC twin cam all alloy IRS pickup with a 5 speed auto. "

Incorrect. The Ranger had a live axle, unless you meant IFS. And up until 2008, the old iron 3.0L V6 was still available. For what its worth, the 4.0 V6 was SOHC and 2.3L 4 banger was DOHC

@Marcus - many countries do not have the same liability concerns that we do in North America. If a 3rd world owner puts 5,000lb in the back and kills someone, the focus is on the driver if anyone at all. In North America we've become a culture that lacks a sense of personal responsibility. We blame everyone else for our problems.
I suspect car companies pad their limits to protect themselves. If they say a truck can carry 1500lb in our jurisdiction but it won't fail until 5000 lb, they keep the lawyers happy. We see proof of this when a company releases new tow/haul numbers and a few weeks later a competitor increases their numbers without changing a bolt.

I tend to agree with NLP "I like it but the 1st time I see one of these stickered for $40,000 I'm going to throw up."
The Ram Eco Diesel @ $52,000 fully loaded is insane ... actually, all truck prices are insane. One reason trucks became popular was their inexpensive price. I'm hoping that Nissan or Chevy price their fully loaded Crew 4X4 diesels around $35K. My personal preference would be a fairly stripped truck (power windows, locks, manual tranny, and cruise), 4X4 Crew Diesel in the mid to upper $20K. Leave it pre-wired for fog lights, radio, etc in case I want to customize it.
GM and Nissan, if you are reading, I WANT A BEAT'EM TRUCK, not a luxury sedan

@Bacon you got me on the IRS, meant Front. The engine specs were right.

I've owned them all except the 3.0--my brother has one of those. The 3.0 was a very solid and well designed engine that was an ideal size for the Ranger.

So point was spot on, minus the IFS part--they had twin I beam front suspension till about 1998 or so.

The point I tried to make involved GM being late to the dance with the first Generation Colorado.

It wasn't a horrible truck, it's just that everyone else had something better. Ford had the Sport-Trac. RAM had the Dakota--Nissan and Toyota had great products, which are still in production. After 2008 GM could not give the Colorado away.

Anyone seen the prices of the new Chevy Tahoe? 70K, yes so 50K for a full size doesn't sound so bad and 40K for a little truck is the new norm.

I agree with Lou BC on this one, regarding GM's assumption that it won't cut into full-size sales. The mid-sized truck most definitely will cut into the 1/2 ton sales, it would be pretty hard to deny it.

First and foremost, I think there will be a bit of a demand for mid-size trucks due to the discontinuation of the Ranger and the aging platforms of all the other trucks. I would be willing to be that there are more than a few who have purchase a full size in lieu of of a midsize due to the lack of options in the current midsized market.

The other thing at play here is that there are certain buyers who only buy GM vehicles. We all know the outgoing Colorado/Canyon simply weren't selling, so I ask where have all the mid-sized GM buyers gone? I would assume they have either bought full size trucks or held on to their aging midsize trucks. I still see plenty of S10s around.

Whatever the case may be, full-sized sales will be impacted. There is only so much demand for trucks. Truck demand isn't going to all the sudden increase 30% as soon as the mid-sizes go on sale, it will stay relatively the same, maybe increase a little, but there will either be truck buyers who downsize or those who move over from the Japanese trucks.

i very much like the colorado/canyon duo, with the diesel option of course. could gm grant one more wish... an 8 spd auto. would bump up mpg's and performance a bit. that would seal the deal for me.

Anita seems to be on more of a marketing exercise rather than talk engineering or even the truth.

There are a couple of her comments that are almost false.

She seems to forget the global market within the industrialised nations. We don't load our vehicles the way she described.

I have been in developing nations and have witnessed the confusions the locals have had deciphering the difference between GVW and load.

The safety aspect of these vehicles within the industrial nations is incorrect. I do know we've had much safer pickups than the US for some time now, even the global Colorado we had was safer than the Chev full size trucks in the US.

She is correct in her assumption that we do use these trucks for the same use as your 1/2 ton and HD's, as she expressed how some developing nations use their midsizers.

She also stated that FE was a primary concern, whereas outside of the US both FE and strength are a concern.

If the US Colorado has had improvements in the suspension, steering and interior it will be on par with the global Ranger, BT50 and Amarok in quality, not work ability.

The US Colorado will be a hit, especially if it can be kept as a steel truck. Keeping steel will make it more competitive, even with the current tariffs and regulations working against it.

The diesel will be great and replace what many buy a V8 full size for.

Midsize pickup= FAIL. Why do you want to pay as much or more for this than a full size truck. Likely will not offer better economy and certainly not capability or comfort.

Want to succeed with something other than a full size truck, create the compact pickup. Trucks like the Pre-Tacoma Toyotas, Nissan Hardbody, S10/S15, Ford Ranger, Jeep Commanche of old offered better fuel economy than their full size counterparts. Did they have a V8? No!! They were for consumers willing or wanting to compromise for economy or those who did not need full size capability. These trucks were comfortable and capable for a couple or few people, and ideal for "personal use."

Every time I hear someone comment, if it were only bigger, or if it had that V8 or some other super awesome full size powerplant, it makes me sick because it is that mindset that has eliminated the ever competent and capable small truck alternative.

If it were not for the demise of category of "small" truck, I would be using a current version of any one of these classic small truck platforms, and likely enjoying 30+ mpg with today's powertrain tech.

All I see with today's "midsize" truck is a bloated body, huge airdam, P.O.S that is larger on the outside than older full size trucks of the 90's. What a joke!!

Why do people believe that the current crop of small trucks are the size of 90's full sized?
My 1990 F250 was a lot bigger than a 2014 Tacoma.

@Dan....same here. I wish I could've kept my old Toyota Hilux on today's roads. It was nimble, lightweight, good on gas, ultra reliable and stupid easy to fix. The best part was, it was fun to drive even with only 92hp. Unfortunately, people started getting into the full-sized SUV/truck frenzy in the 90's and some were lifting them sky high as well and I began to feel like an organ donor every time I had to drive that little Toyota PU. Hence, I upgraded like the rest of them. However, I will admit that I don't really require the capabilities of a full sized truck.

The interesting thing I noticed is the complete change in mindset that has occurred over the last 40 years. Baby Boomers were clamoring (and paying top dollar too) for those little primitive tin can imports back in the 70's/80's. Nowadays, it's back to the excesses of the 50's with over the top styling designs and huge honking large displacement V8 engines. Sure, tremendous advancements in computer technology have made this possible, but I'd have to argue that no one really "needs" 500+hp and 900+ lbs of torque in a normal street driven PU.

I thought the first gen Colorado was a pos and stayed away from it having no desire to replace my S10 ZR2 with it. This new 2nd gen Colorado on the other hand has me definitely interested.

The ONE thing this truck needs is a MANUAL transmission with the v6.(and 4x4 option) F' the automatic only option.

I like the power of the V6
I like that 4 wheel disc brakes are finally back
I like that Coilovers are finally being used and torsion bars go away.
I like the exterior styling and interior.

I am looking forward to this truck.

@Lou_BC
The current midsizers aren't the size of any previous full size pickup.

They all have grown to the size of the Frontier/Tacoma. I can't see them getting any larger. Even in the US they are a large vehicle.

The biggest improvement since 2010 we've had is the vehicles' dynamics and capability, in other words refinement.

The odd thing is the Colorado we get from Holden is deemed the worst of the new breed of midsizer. I hope Chev has ironed out some of the issues.

I have read that the Chev Colorado is coming with a rack and pinon steering, not the recirculating ball setup we were getting. This hopefully means the globals will get new and better steering for their Colorado's.

Also, our ride is rougher due to the suspension tuning where it will cart around the same load as a bottom end HD.

Anita is also trying to distance the US Colorado from the global variant. The difference isn't that great, other than a lighter chassis and body style. The vehicle is already 5 star safety rated. Hence my view she is out marketing the vehicle.

I would love to have a discussion with her on what the real and significant changes are. There wouldn't be too many since GM already spent $2.5 billion on the 'global' version.

I would like to see the body and interior exported for us in Australia as the US Colorado does look really good.

@the real mike
I do think if one has the means to own and operate a HD for his daily driver, let him be.

As for the mini trucks, they are a product of the Japanese capitalising on their vehicle manufacturers back in the 60s and 70s. The US manufacturers were left wondering how they, and where they went wrong. Why would someone want a smaller vehicle?

Even back then Detroit wanted everyone to drive large vehicles. Because that was what they were geared up to manufacture.

The VW Transporter or Combi pickup was the initiator of the chicken tax. As you can see the forward control 'Euro' style vehicle remains with the Transit's, Ducato's, Iveco's, etc.

The VW also brought on the Econoline style vans as well, which lead to the minivans. So the Europeans have influenced the US auto industry through competition in the past.

You still see that attitude with Detroit with full size trucks. That's why I don't have much faith in Detroit succeeding. They haven't learnt their lesson. There are consumers who want large vehicles, let them buy them, but not at the expense of other products through protectionism.

CAFE and insular EPA regulations might be the end of full size pickups. Aluminium will make them a richer man's toy.

Like I've always stated the US is in for some interesting times with pickups. The pickup market needs to deregulate and free up a bit. This will allow for some more ideas and competition.

The best will win. Detroit is hoping on barriers to protect them and I think importers would love to see the chicken tax and barriers dropped.

I think the US will end up with those Euro style vans/trucks in a diesel cab chassis and van for work and expensive aluminium half ton pickups will becoming SUVs for those who can afford them.

Aluminium pickups? As exciting as they sound they will cost more.

With regards to the latest mid-size vs. half-ton full sizes... These current mid-size trucks are very close to the same size as the full size trucks just a few generations ago. I'll use my current full size truck as an example...

2002 F-150 SuperCrew (5.5 ft bed) 225.9 overall length, 138.5 wheelbase, 79.1 wide

2015 Colorado CrewCab (6.0 ft bed) 224.1 overall length, 140.5 wheelbase, 74.3 wide

2011 Tacoma Double cab (6.0 ft bed) 221.3 overall length, 140.6 wheelbase, 72.2 wide.

As you can see the overall length and width are very close in size and the wheelbase of both mid-size trucks actually exceed the wheel base of the '02 F-150.

For this reason alone, I refuse to consider anything larger than the current crop of mid-size trucks as my next truck, even if the new F-150 gets 30+ MPG! Give me a mid-size with even better fuel economy and a more practical size for narrow trails and small parking spaces.

If Ford were to give NA the "global" Ranger... 2012 Ranger SuperCrew (5 ft bed) 210.7 overall length, 126.8 wheelbase, 72.8 width.

Even if you add twelve inches to the overall length (222.7) and wheelbase (138.8) for comparison sake by giving the Ranger a 6 ft bed, the dimensions would still make the Ranger right in line with the current Tacoma.

I for one am excited to see the two new GM mid-size trucks! Competition in the mid-size market will only give the consumers more innovative choices and that’s something that this segment hasn’t seen in a real long time. This might give Toyota and Nissan a kick in the pants they need to bring us updated trucks and might cause Ford and Ram to re-enter the mid-size market. I would even go as far to say there’s even room for a true compact truck… We have more than three type of car sizes available and there is no reason trucks can’t have four (compact, mid-size, full-size and heavy duty). While true compact trucks seem to get bad-mouthed on truck forums, there is something incredibly practical about them and uni-body compacts should not be off the table.

@Brian NC

"...and uni-body compacts should not be off the table."

Well that's great Brian, except for one thing--THEY DON'T SELL.

Subaru built a great little compact pickup a few years back. It was a unibody, had a great truly bulletproof drivetrain. Awesome customer satisfaction and you couldn't kill one if you wanted to. For a while I worked at a Subaru dealer, I know.

Did not sell. Great little truck.

The economics of building compact trucks has changed. Back when Nissan was hitting home runs with their truck in in the 1970s, it used the same components as their line of sedans; they were simply building another model using parts already in the pipeline.

Today sedans are all FWD or AWD. They cost too much to use as underpinnings for compact trucks and the automakers can do better with those components as sedans not trucks.

@ Dan, YOur Spot on Man !!
I had a 91 2wd extra cab toyota manual with the v6 150lb ft of torque.
3500lb towing capacity. I have towed almost twice that much in that truck and always did just fine. Just had to brake a little sooner. Put downey A-Arms on it and bigger torsion bars to level the truck, romped and jumped it in the desert etc. got consistent 22mpg and up to like 27 on hwy. Put a 100K on it. bought for $12700 OTD and 9 years later sold it for $7K.
Like you said wish i could get a truck like that. THe old S-10 ZR2s were awesome, the s-10 itself was a pretty good truck.
All the little trucks great back then, dodge d-50s, nissan hardbodys, etc. dont know why we can have them again because it makes too much sense for consumer and not enough profits for the mfg. dont buy this new overpriced junk. let some other sucker take the depreciation hit !!

@CDNMark: Again (I don't know what happened to my previous response), the data did not come from Wiki, but from the talker's own mouth when he responded to a couple looking for a new mid-sized truck at the Philadelphia Auto Show. They ended up going to the Tacoma to look at it instead.

If you are correct, then that talker made a mistake which could well cost GMC some sales.

@Papa Jim, I by no means suggested that a compact truck had to be a uni-body design. In this day and age when manufacturers are constantly looking to reduce the vehicles weight as well as the number of platforms, uni-body compacts never seemed more relevant. Having a uni-body compact truck would be a viable consideration with the low payload and towing requirements. Just look how many SUV's (typically body-on-frame) have turned into CUV (car platforms) for that very reason over the last three or four years.

While I think Subaru makes great cars and wagons (which you seemed to agree), this low volume manufacturer did very little to promote their wagon with a bed. Auto technology has definitely come a long way in the last few years, and the point I'm trying to make is NOTHING should be off the table when it comes to dreaming up the next innovative product.

@Lou_BC: "Why do people believe that the current crop of small trucks are the size of 90's full sized? My 1990 F250 was a lot bigger than a 2014 Tacoma."

First off, you're comparing a ¾ ton to an approximate half-ton. That said, the length of the 1990 F-150 single-cab long bed is almost identical to the 2014 crew cab Tacoma; if the Tacoma came in a single cab, 8' bed model it would still be pretty close in length to that older truck. Where the current Tacoma (and hopefully the Colorado/Canyon) are smaller is potentially the width (at a claimed 73" or so for the mid-sizers vs almost the same width of my old F-150 and just shy of 6' tall (only an inch or two shorter) that brings the new mid-sizers up very close to their 25-year-old "big brothers". They've all seen a growth spurt over the last 20 years.

That said, while I would much prefer a significantly smaller model at about 15' long x 5' wide by 5' tall, I'm at least more willing to consider something that's at least no larger than the old-model full size.

I currently have a 2011 GMC Sierra HD and don't have the need for it any longer, though it is a very reliable truck, the Fuel Economy is a constant pain in the a$$, by June of of 2015 I'll be the proud owner of an all new Canyon instead. More Fuel Economy, lower maintanence costs and lower monthly payments; can't go wrong with that option.

@Lou, @roadwhale

Until the late 1990s Fords F250 was very similar in size and appearance to the half ton. The greasy bits underneath like hubs, brakes and springs were different; gear ratios too.

Starting in the late 90s, that all changed.

@roadwhale - there is absolutely ZERO difference dimesionally between a 1990 F150 and a 1990 F250. The 3/4 ton obviously sits higher. There is also a difference between 4x2 and 4x4 and there was a LD F150, a Hd F150, an LD F250 a HD F250 and then F350.
My brother had a '87 F150 and I had a '90 F250 (LD). We could swap bodies and no one would be any wiser. They were identical.
How does your truck stack up against a reg cab long box Tacoma?

I would of expected you of all people to at least compare trucks with the same configuration.

@Brian in NC - why don't we compare a reg cab long box full sized truck to a reg cab long box small truck?

My Supercrew with 6.5 box is much longer than a Tacoma long box crewcab. Add 12 inches to all of your numbers. That is a fair comparison not short box to long box.

Yes, I agree that compact trucks no longer exist. That is why I refer to them as small trucks if for no other reason than the fact that they are somewhat smaller than a current 1/2 ton.

Only a small percentage of people will ever buy a reg cab small truck. Toyota is going to discontinue that configuration in the USA. It has been unavailable in Canada for as long as I care to remember. GMC is NOT offering the new Colorado/Canyon with a reg cab.

Care to explain why?

All of these wet dreams for a true compact truck are misplaced fantasies of days gone by.

I am a supporter of open markets and small trucks but I find it highly unlikely that compacts would ever be anything other than a limited run niche product. (Sh!t - I'm sounding like DenverMike. LOL). Unless import tariffs are lifted and dirt cheap Asian stuff is imported.

If current small trucks are too big, buy a minivan. They can fit a 4x8 sheet with the seats stowed.

@DenverLou or DiL ;) (Lou I do hope you realise this is a joke)
You are correct about mini trucks making a comeback. It isn't going to happen.

The reason is most mini trucks were actually based on Japanese cars from the 50s and 60s. These cars they were based on also had a full chassis, ie, Datsun Bluebird.

If any mini trucks do develop they will come out of Europe, based on those little vans, like that Fiat Workup with a unitary constructed body. But these vehicles in van form offer a large cargo area and protection.

The Asians will use Kei trucks as mini trucks, they are smaller than a mini truck and have nearly the same size flatbeds.

Road Whale, is dreaming, the closest vehicle to suit him is a Kei truck. He will not get a 15' long truck with an 8' bed.

Car

http://www.mclellansautomotive.com/photos/B18443.jpg

Truck

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v474/trdmatrix/Datsun/photo.jpg

Bluebird dual cab and van

http://www.earlydatsun.com/datsun5201966brochure.jpg

These pickups also ran the chassis based on the original Datsun Bluebird, complete with torsion bar suspension.

http://www.datman.co.uk/620/avg-09-09-07.jpg

http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af135/kw2401/Car%20Model/Nissan720_zps2bcae176.jpg

@Big Al from Oz - funny...sort of..... ;)
unless a car company makes a cabover/cabforward truck i.e. VW transporter you aren't going to get a short vehicle and still have 8 feet of cargo space.
Crewcab trucks irregardless of size class (small, 1/2, 3/4, 1 ton) are what sell. Reg cab trucks in any of those configurations are rare.
Crewcab trucks sell and people do not want to feel like sardines in a can.

I do think that 1/2 tons and small trucks will eventually blend into 1 size but that will not happen until fuel prices go significantly higher, truck prices rise significantly, or us "bigger is better" babyboomers get planted in the ground.

@Lou_BC
Twin, crew or dual cabs are the future. Single or second vehicles as pickups are also extended cabs.

Even here in Australia we still have single cabs, but we are getting more and more extended cabs for tradesman.

Commerical light duty trucks are going forward control and the pickups are going SUV or 'lifestyle' orientated.

@Brian NC, @Big Al

We agree. The business model that made the little Nissan King-Cab a hit back in the mid 1970s was the fact that it utilized the same components as their lines of sedans. They were rear-drive, body on frame, 4 cylinder, five-speed little trucks that could zip around, get good FE and be paid off in a couple of years.

Along the way, sedans became front drive, cars/trucks needed airbags, anti lock brakes, standard A/C, power steering, auto trans and lots of side impact protection for passengers.

The cheap sedan became the 18k dollar sedan. The little pickup had to be loaded with options to make the deal work.

Today we have a loaded crew cab Tacoma north of 30k, and it's even more if you want 4wd. Even a clean 3 year old Tacoma is pricey where I live.

The business model no longer works, which is why the Chevy Luv and the Mazda B2000 are toast, along with the rest.

@Lou_BC
I had a great idea!

Why don't you start a TV show similar to Top Gear, but for light commercial vehicles.

The show will star DiL and DiM as the hosts.

You can discuss the world view on pickups, van and other light commercial vehicles.

It would be interesting and possibly very comical.

Oh, I'll be the Stig equivalent ;)



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