Sources: GM Working on Return to Small Truck Roots

Sources: GM Working on Return to Small Truck Roots
1982 Chevrolet S-10

While other manufacturers have announced plans to completely abandon the slow-selling midsize pickup segment, General Motors apparently thinks there's still life and new opportunity to be found in small trucks. GM is said to be working on a new compact runabout that's reminiscent of the original Chevrolet S-10, according to our sources.

The current Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins have been steadily losing sales and market share over the past few years. Year to date, the Colorado is down 30.3 percent from a year earlier and the Canyon is off 28.5 percent. Newly retired former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz said in February that the future of the two trucks were uncertain and, last year, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said it was GM's plan to end production at the Shreveport plant where the Colorado and Canyon are produced by 2012.

The two biggest players in the segment today are the best-selling Toyota Tacoma, which still sells more than 100,000 units annually, and the long-in-the-tooth Ford Ranger.

But some have complained that the Tacoma is too big -- it grew to its current size in 2005 -- and expensive. And Ford says it will end production of the Ranger next year because small truck buyers can make do with a small car or fuel-efficient F-150. Small truck buyers have also moved into full-size pickups because the cost of entry-level half-ton trucks is often close to the price tag of midsize pickups.

Those reasons are said to be enough to open the door for GM to potentially offer a modern take on a small truck that's similar in size to the compact pickups of the 1980s, when the segment sold more than 1 million trucks annually.

Through April of this year, only 87,985 compact and midsize trucks have been sold, according to J.D. Power and Associates' Power Information Network sales figures.

The key elements of success for GM's future small truck would be fuel economy that’s greater than its full-size pickups and a window sticker that’s significantly less. It would also be a completely different and smaller platform than the planned next-generation overseas version of the Colorado that will be built in Thailand.

GM isn't the only manufacturer still serious about small trucks. Chrysler has said it hopes to produce a successor to the Dodge Dakota, which ends production in 2011, and Toyota's subsidiary Scion has said it's also considering offering a true compact pickup.

If our sources are correct -- and we're confident they are -- we think this is a brilliant move on GM's part to take advantage of a segment that's only down on its luck because the product choice today is so poor.

Comments

Back in 2002, Dodge M-80 was brought out as a concept (http://www.pickuptrucks.com/html/autoshows/naias2002/dodge/m80.html). Time to revive that?

Oh Hurry hurry, my 1989 Toyota pickup is rusting out - I don't need or want anything bigger.
Ford is not correct in stating that I could make do with a car. My pickup is a work truck and I want every bit of that little 6' bed. I also still love my little vent windows I'll be sorry to see those go.

i see gm might bring back there rust bucket s 10 there silverados rust out fast

I'd be perfectly content with a standard 1950-ish Ford or Chevy 1/2 ton pickup.

Straight-6 (gas or diesel) with a 5-speed trans (4.10 gear in 4th, overdrive in 5th), 3-abreast bench seat, 6-ft bed would be adequate, 8' better but not crucial (as long as i can drop the tailgate to haul 4'x8' sheets). 30 mpg highway would seal the deal.

I don't need a premium sound system, FM stereo with CD player would work, a USB port for MP3 player would be a nice touch. Cupholders optional, I can't see the need for more than 2, but a decent-size glovebox and in-door or underseat storage bins would help.

Never been a VW fan but think they might be missing an opportunity with the 2.0 turbo four cylinder in a mid sized truck. Maybe on a Jetta platform.

Why not the Australian Holden Ute?

I will give these so called "small trucks" two or three years before they start morphing into gigantic pieces of junk. GM/Ford- they are all the same. They dont have a clue about what we want. If you dont believe me, check what is being offered by GM/Ford overseas. They get the good stuff- we get the junk.

Aren't we talking about a unibody, compact or mid-sized El Camino/Ranchero here? Or perhaps a Subaru Brat/Baja for you 4WD fans? If you need a real pickup, the larger, Tacoma-sized ones are necessary at the very least. No?

Their is NOTHING I like about the colorodo truck. NOTHING! I do not like the tail lights I donot like the fenders, I do not like the gril, I do not like it at all. It is so frecking ugly. What the hell was GM thinking. Dropping the s 10 lineup for a five cylinder price of crap. I hope the colorodo goes to its grave sooner then later.

I realize this is an old article but had to comment.

I own a 2004 colorado and love it. Its the extended cab i5 and frankly is the perfect size truck for me. It hauls the yard waste and occational friend moving to a new apartment along with my bass boat during the summer. Only issue I've had was a wheel bearing but other then then i get great mpg's with it and its been reliable. Maybe I got the only working one by accident or something.

My issue is that I'd like to buy one of the z71 models (because of the 4wd....2wd in mn just isnt fun) but they're way too expensive for what you get. A new one is around 30k...I can purchase a much heavier duty full size for the same price....they are just not competitively priced anymore.

It'd be good to see GM come out with a product that is targeted for this market and priced accordingly.

I like S-10 pickups from the 1980s.

I had a brother-in-law who bough a S-10 in 1985 with a 4.3L gas engine .This was a great truck he still has it but he don't drive it that much now.He wanted to get a nother one but they stop making them.big mistake most people I hear talk about If they could have a truck like that again they would buy two.

The price of the truck was around 13,000 or14,000 not alot but a great truck.I believe a 4x4 was like 16,000or17,000 some like that,they were'nt that much a great investment and moneys worth.

Most people don't want to give alot for a small truck,when they could buy a bigger one for the same price or less.You'd have to be a fool to do that.GM needs to bring back the small trucks again and make them more affordable,now is the time.

i just purchased a 2004 gmc sonoma zr5 witth a 4.3 literv6 with 21000 org miles, good truck good gas mileage 4 dr crew cab, best truck gm ever built

We can only hope that this story has some truth behind it.

I love my Chevy s10 2002 ZR2 LS Xteme , its a great truck, people just didnt understand it when it came out because GM didnt marketed the different between a stock s10 and an s10 ZR2 , such as its wider tracking 3.9 " wider than the stock s10. bigger axles. dis brake on all 4 wheels, riding about 3. 9 " higher than the standed s10 and the nice part about that lift is it was done in the factory so every thing in the truck is in line with that lift Its not some back yard hillbilly lift job or some little hillbilly auto repair job, also the ZR2 has bigger tires and shocks, etc. Its really a great 4x4 and the 4.3 liter V6 works well with it you need extra power and is balance well for it. If you have to much engine, it will take gas or too small or it will take gas with the extra weight on a 4x4 but the 4.3 liter v6 is a great engine for the job. I still have the new sales window sticker and it rated 20 hwy and 15 city with a 4 speed automatic, that better than my Nissian 4 cylinder 5 soeed stick shift 4x4 truck, I had before and it was under powered, you didnt pass unless you were going down hill with the Nissan 4 banger 4x4. I love this truck and its an LS Xteme model too , fully loaded with electric sun roof ,flow master exhaust system, K & N cold filter intake. The 4.3 liter is a great engine too also the metal belly brush pans where replaced with lighter carbon fiber ones something the factory should of done, the newer nissan and 4.0 liter ranger are both an inference engines which means there no clearance between the valves and the pistons if the timing belt breaks , the timing belt holds them apart and if the belt break the valves and pistons will destory each other at moving speedsand a lot of Honda' use it too. an inference engine is junk to me and the Nissan uses a rubber timing belt on it too, thats just crazy because it will break much easier. The 4.3 liter is not that type of engine and breaking a timing belt doesnt do damage. Its a good engine about 190 HP. i also have the rare sport interior with the leather high back bucket seats they are black and yellow centers with the chevy emblems sewn in the tops of the seat about 10" long by 6" high and yellow and black matching door panels and black dash, dark smoked windows , all matches the out side of the truck in yellow, looks really cool, one person said it looks like a race car insidel and lots tell me that is a neat truck. Bring the s10 ZR2 back and do the marking right this time.

While most of the posts are going on 2 years old, I just had to chime in. When GM was contemplating a mid-size truck to replace the S-10 platform they had a true opportunity to create a true mid-size. They so missed the mark with the introduction of the Canyon/Colorado. They were plagued with gremlins from electrical to drivetrain issues. While the S-10 was never an "exciting" vehicle, it did what it was supposed to do. So much so, that they are produced in Brazil albeit with a little more bling than what we saw in the US market. A quality mid-size truck could meet the needs of a varied market.

The reason why GMC is losing sales on the trucks,specificly, the Canyon,Colorado is because of thier ugly appearences the GM refuses to snap out of. That front look and odd flashy trim is so last decade. GM needs to start listening to thier customers who drives them, not what they think they would like, and GM needs to be quick on decision making, and stop with the ugly vehickles

It's time!!! I have been looking for a used S 10 because I can't get anythin that size new. I have a problem finding any with less then 150,000 miles. I have not bought a used car for more then 45 years. I have bought many new cars but if I want a smaller size truck I have no choice. I will be one of the first in line to buy a new S 10 size truck.

Can not wait Greg Xakellis



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