Half-Tons Have Their Game Plans Ready

2013 F150_XLT II
With three new half-ton pickups getting ready to come to market — the new Ram light-duty later this fall, the Chevy Silverado by the second quarter of 2013 and the GMC Sierra soon after that — the strategies are pretty well mapped out.

Ram Truck and Ford seem to be invested in not having a smaller pickup truck to serve the entry-level market, believing instead they can serve their customers with a more efficient full-size pickup, while GM decided to redesign a midsize pickup truck to serve those who may not need or want a bigger pickup.

Bradford Wernle and Mike Colias of Automotive News offer a solid survey of the various strategies that all the full-size truck makers will bear fruit in the form of increased sales. Interestingly, they seem to suggest that Toyota and Nissan may have the best opportunity to make a stronger showing in the truck marketplace. Much will hinge on whether pickup trucks for work and play are bought for their fuel economy or not.

Many truck experts and marketing chiefs don't believe it's as important as many other, more traditional truck-buying factors, but there's no denying that the V-6 segment is getting more momentum. And with more rumors swirling about small turbo-diesels making their way into midsize and full-size light-duty pickups, the issue is likely to get more attention as new trucks come to market.

Comments

@: Vulpine --As I previously said the Colorado/Canyon twins might merit another look particularily if you are looking for a bargain because when the replacements come in another year or two they will discount the older models. Also they have had since 2004 to iron out most of the bugs. Usually the first year of a new model or redesign has more problems. On the other hand the new models might be worth considering. The Suzuki Equator the twin of the Nissan Frontier is another worthy contender if you find one for less than the Frontier (same truck made in the same plant but nicer looking grill). Choices are more limited in Intermediate trucks but all of them are good. I do like the Australian trucks but they will not be any smaller and it is highly unlikely that we will ever see any of them even the global Ranger. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get the closest thing to what you want.

@Vulpine
The 25% chicken tax would probably stop many utes and pickups entering the US.

The NA truck market has become dependent on this tax to exist. And I think in the long run it has damaged your potential to export trucks worldwide.

The chicken tax might have had short term gain with long term pain. Unfortunately protectionism has this effect.

Rumors are GM's 1500 will initially only have a 6 speed transmission.

@Vulpine. Holden and Ford pick from Asian and other suppliers that the NA market cannot. As a result ancillaries are much more reliable than the NA/ Mexican sourced parts.

Export of NA built Pickups is now limited to F250 plus type models, then again the market is limited to Aust/NZ and a few buyers in Europe.The Midsize market for North American built Pickups globally is non-existent. Here the US has dropped the ball bigtime. I think creating a viable Midsize model and F250 +type Van Cutaway/cabchassis for sale globally , should be a priority.

@Robert Ryan
I agree with your deduction on the way the market should be.

There is a lot of potential for US sourced commercial vehicles. But then again the chicken tax and also lack of diesel in their half tonners.

If NA trucks were available when I bought my ute I would have considered one.

I still think Asia does offer some potential. It would be a prestige type of vehicle.

@ Big Al from Oz I see a modern F250/F450 Cab Chassis Cutaway being suitable for a larger Class C Motorhome than is currently doable on a Sprinter/IVECO chassis. You would definitely have a demand there. The Cab Chassis would be more substantial than the IVECO /Mercedes or the slightly smaller Transit with a let say 4.4 /4.5 diesel 9,000-10,000lb payload.

@Ken - There's nothing wrong with a proven 6-speed auto. GM's simplicity has been a selling point for them and what's helped them cut down on recalls and warranty claims. Their infotainment systems are low tech and who cares?

It wouldn't shock me if they still come with drum brakes and I also don't have a problem with them or good ol' fashion pushrod V8s.

Simplicity.

@Vulpine - Did you find the tilt lever on your column? Wasn't that kind of sneaky how Ford used the turn signal stalk?

Well, for sure with the steering wheel tilted all the way forward, you have lots more room behind it, but driving your F-150 must feel like you're piloting around a VW Microbus, right?

How much room does your reg cab leave you behind the steering wheel at a medium tilt setting? I mean, the steering wheel should be perpendicular to your shoulders for maximum comfort and control.

@Big Al from Oz, Robert Ryan - The chicken tax never slowed down Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Mitsu, Isuzu, UD, Fuso, Hino, Volvo and others including Ford Transits. These OEM trucks were and are great trucks in high demand. That's right there is the difference.

It's easy enough to avoid the chicken tax, but without strong demand for mid-sizers in NA, global and otherwise, the resulting weak sales and piles of rebates would make them a non-starter for foriegn OEMs. But let's be real, their problem has nothing to do with the chicken tax.

OK, picture them having to compete head to head, with NA half tons, anywhere in the world. Hmmm... it starts to not look so good for global mid-sizers. These hypothetical half tons would have diesel offerings as well. But hen 'I' need to get real because NA half tons would never go on sale around the globe for political reason, mostly.

None the less, North Americans have grown up with half tons and they're totally ingrained in our culture, tradition and lifestyle. In short, we love them. But then, even our cars, imports included, have a pretty hard time competing with the value of base to mid-level half tons a I don't have to remind you that modern gas V8s are untouchable in terms of simplicity, reliability and longevity. Their fuel economy is decent and I won't even mention their muscle car power and rumble.

Global mid-size trucks wouldn't stand a chance here and foriegn OEMs know this. They've done the math and the chicken tax isn't any kind of deterrent.

@Denvermike No not at all
" Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Mitsu, Isuzu, UD, Fuso, Hino, Volvo and others including Ford Transits."
The Chicken Tax does not apply as they are assembled or built in the US or NA generally. Ford is now going to build the Transit in the US. These are not imported from elsewhere, so yes it does apply. Ford had to import the small Transit Connect partially built to get around the Tax. This also applies to the Fuso and UD.
So basically to get around the Chicken Tax, you have to either build a US Specific model, like Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, Honda, Hino and or partially assemble it like Fuso,Subaru , UD and Mercedes with the Sprinter.
Political reasons? News to me, more like they have only be developed for the NA market and other changes could cost a fortune. Unlike the Overseas diesel Pickups, they were not designed as mountain goats or the have the ability to operate in 3rd or 4th world environments.
If the US environment changes and the Big 3 are looking for other markets achieve volume, they are not now in a position to do so.

Posting this again as my original post disappeared.
@Denvermike.
No that is not the case. Yes the tax would not have slowed these OEMs down as it does NOT apply to them
“Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Mitsu, Isuzu, UD, Fuso, Hino, Volvo and others including Ford Transits.”

Nissan, Toyota, Hino, Mitsubishi, Honda and Volvo actually BUILD their vehicles in NA. Isuzu, UD Fuso and Mercedes Sprinter assemble partial Trucks/ Vans in the US and in some cases assemble them in the US. Ford did it with the Ford Connect , built in Turkey and modified in the US to escape the Tax.

Political reasons? News to me, more like the cost of converting vehicles to meet overseas requirements is not very cost effective. As it stands there is no US diesel engine for 1/2 tons anyway. If the US economy starts to reject US Pickups, then the potential market that could be used globally to get volume does not exist.

@Robert Ryan
I found this document that was prepared for Ford.

If you read it in it you can see why Ford is going down the eco-boost path in engine design.

From what I read diesel will eventually reign, just because of their efficiencies, but they deem gas a cheaper option at the moment to meet CAFE.

It makes really interesting reading, as it illustrates the information decision makers use to justify the direction a business or even industry follows.

http://www.osd.org.tr/13.pdf

This is a great discussion guys one worthy of my time reading. Denver Mike has some very good points as well. Americans are slow to change on a lot of things. Back in the 70s the cars kept getting bigger and even after they downsized in the late 70s people complained and said that they never would buy a smaller car (this is after the Arab Oil Embargo of 73-74 and the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 79). Move 30 plus years to the present and full sized cars sales have dramatically decrease and people are buying more fuel efficient midsize and compact cars. This is the same thing happening with the full size trucks which have gotten significantly bigger and bigger more powerful V-8s. Big pickups with high powered V-8s are considered to be an American birthright and because of this change will be slower. Granted these trucks are more fuel efficient than the ones 30 years ago but history has a way of repeating itself although a different twist.

The new fuel standards for trucks will go into effect in a few years and already people are saying don't touch my truck and if it happens I will hold onto my full size forever. Eventually as the standards are phased in and fuel prices continue to go up people will accept the more efficient and downsized trucks. They will not radically downsize any of the fullsize trucks because the manufacturers do not want to drive their loyal customers away. Eventually the full size half ton pickups will be more on the scale of the Global Rangers. I doubt 3/4 ton trucks and above will change radically because of the commercial users needs.

With the changes you might see smaller front wheel drive trucks like A-Bats on the market because they can share platforms and components with smaller cars to keep costs down. It takes several replacement cycles to effect change in the truck market and a couple of new generations of truck buyers. In the mean time as some have expressed you have to make compromises and get the closest thing available that meets your needs. All the manufacturers in the NA market make good competitive products.

Chrysler has really come a long way and the Fiat ownership has infused new blood into a company that appeared to be headed for the scrap heap. Ford has been smoking hot and appears to be unstoppable. Far from what some of the readers on this blog think GM is still a viable competitor. GM does need to put a little more resources into their trucks but being one of the largest vehicle producers in the World I do not think they are anywhere near dead. Robert Ryan and Al from Oz have valid points that all these NA auto producers will have more global vehicles in NA with less variation because of development costs and production costs. Regardless of some of the doom and gloom these will be exciting times and all even Toyota, Nissan, Mazda are going to have some world class products that will be shared around the globe. This will be an Evolution that will take years in the making.

@Robert Ryan - As we've seen, the chicken tax is hardly a deterrent for great trucks with a large enough customer base. Building them in NA is a penalty or 'tax' that would be offset by volume and that's what global mid-sizers would lack. Foriegn OEMs have done the math and would no doubt be here otherwise.

Building trucks in NA doesn't mean they would be assembled by union or UAW hands. They would be built in southern US states or even Mexico, but again, volume has to be or there or there's no point.

But then most foriegn OEMs aren't based in 3rd world countries and pay their workers a decent wage. Japan could build their cars in any 3rd world country before shipping them to NA, and only pay a 2.5% import tax. They build in NA despite this option and VW builds in Mexico. No one is forcing them to do so. You forget that putting cars and trucks on a boat headed for NA is a tax in itself.

All it really takes is a 'knock down kit' like Mahindra was planning on taking advantage of. Final trim would be shipped to NA separately in bulk or sourced locally.

If half tons didn't exist in NA, offering great value and muscle car appeal, yeah there would be considerable demand for global mid-sizers here. Kind of or exactly how it's like anywhere outside of NA.

What I mean by "politcal reasons" is NA half tons aren't exactly seen as 'green' or a step towards saving the planet even though they're not much bigger or drink much more petrol than mid-sizers. Mostly, our chicken tax would have to be considered by foriegn leaders and a retaliatory tax would have to be set in place. It's only right.

Most 3rd world mountain communities could cope with the approx 10% larger size of NA half tons and could be offset by the 100% bigger payload and towing. This equalls less trips to market. Either way, NA half tons wouldn't sell big in 3rd would places because most people are poor. The trucks that would sell would be decontented base trucks. It's not really a market worth striving for.

@big al from oz, I saw a dodge ram in australia. I asked him how he got it. He imported it.

@DenverMike--They are assemblying the Tacome in San Antonio and before In California. Toyota does not seem to be having problems selling Tacomas. Nissan has been assemblying Frontiers and before that the hardbodies in Tennessee for about 30 years now. Some of the problems with other foreign truck makers might be the cost of making their trucks compliant with US emissions standards and safety standards. Not only the extra cost but the weight of the their trucks would significantly increase thus making them less fuel efficient. If you strip away the air baqs, other safety equipment, and pollution equipment the average midsize truck would weigh considerably less.

Their diesels would have a lot of added cost to make them comply with US emissions standards. Also diesels have a negative reputation for a lot of consummers as being dirty and noisy even though the newer diesels are much improved. GM did not help the reputation of passenger diesels in the 80s with their gas V-8s that were converted to diesel. Those diesels had a lot of problems.

I do see full size being downsized over a period of time but never to the size they were in the 60s and 70s. People in America keep getting bigger and they have to fit comfortably in these trucks. I was looking at some old cars displayed at the Home Depot near where I live. They had an old 49 Dodge pickup and a early 50s Chevy pickup. Neat old trucks but the inside was not as big as my 99 S-10 and was about on par with my 85 Mitsubishi Might Max. That is pretty small for most people.

@Denvermike. Building in the US is a way of getting around the Tax and keeping the cost of their products viable. for the US market The cheapest alternative would be a straight import, but that would never be on the cards.The US Market is big enough to have several manufacturers doing this.
Problem is what they could potentially build , are SMALL DIESELS, something that the rather conservative US Market might not embrace enough to make it viable, something Jeff S alludes too as regarding the negative experiences the public has with the GM diesels
In fact most articles lately on Pickups.com talk about small diesels being developed by GM and Ford , Nissan experimenting with Cummins etc. All of this activity has been going on for a while. Potential negatives of initial cost of introduction and the NA only "Gas V Diesel" debates which seem everywhere on the net(which are very strange to us),suggests US manufacturers are pretty wary about introducing any new diesels.
Denvermike, I have noted before that many NA Consumers want basically a "SUV with a bed", so the domestic 1/2 tons do that very well.
What Vulpine, Jeff S etc want is what we want in a Pickup. "SUV's with a bed" does not interest us, we leave that to true SUV's

No the US Pickups have considerably smaller payloads than the Asian diesels. Yes you can get a HD F150 that has similar, but how many HD F150's are sold?
Towing is a moot question. I have noticed that Asian Pickups towa small 5th wheelers (26-27ft, 8,300lb )better or as well as a F150 with a 6 litre gas engine.

@Jeff S The emission and safety issues are NOT a big problem .As it stands looking at the recent Pickup.com article on the collision performance of US Pickups , they actually rate LOWER than the Asian diesel Pickups.
The Japanese , Volvo Daimler, Mercedes have made their truck/van diesels compliant without major costs. Ford is going to introduce the Transit with a diesel option and it the Van will be built in the US, diesels will be imported.(cost more to build in US)

@HEMI V8. Yes you can import a Dodge RAM diesel into Australia, but they are NOT SOLD in Australia . It is ILLEGAL to do something similar in the US. You cannot own a current vehicle built outside the US unless it is sold in the US. That is why that Toyota Hilux being used to test products by US aftermarket suppliers ,can only reside in the US for a year and cannot then be resold in the US

@Robert Ryan, Jeff S - Getting global mid-size trucks to pass US emissons and safety would be a minor hurdle if there was a deep enough customer stream. It's no different than the chicken tax. These requirements are more annoying than anything and certainly not detrimental.

Tacoma sales are strong for now because they're getting to be the only game in town. The US small and mid-size truck market has been shrinking for decades and although it will never fully go away, it can't sustain too many players. Any new global mid-sizers would divide up Tacoma sales.

All the talk of putting diesels in NA half tons is just that. All talk. The US is just too hostile an environment for diesels to be offered up or become successful in light vehicles. This is just another setback for global mid-sizers that don't have a full line up of gasoline engines for NA. Just as it would be a setback for NA half tons to try to go on sale around the world without a diesel. Our chicken tax and its potential backlash (around the world) kills that deal anyways.

I met an Ozzie importer of Ram pickups and vintage mustangs while I was out in California. He would buy up lightly used. late model Ram pickups and have them converted to RHD when they reached OZ. He was getting roughly double his money when the dust settled.

You can't tell my there isn't a strong demand and even lust for our half tons around the world. Yeah, we love them too and combine that with everything else global mid-sizers have going against them and you can clearly see why they would struggle here.

I do think that Fiat/Chrysler will come up with a diesel Ram and Ford has gone the way of eco-boost in the short term.

If they can get a Ram with the V6 VM I think they would be on a winner.

That link I posted above was prepared in 04/05 so this is prior to the "Great Recession" and Ford had already commited itself to gasoline back then (in NA).

@ Hemi V8 - Back in the late 90s Chrysler were considering importing RHD Rams into Australia and they would have started at about $40k. These were mid spce'd, but it never occurred because alot of the product coming out of NA was of inferior quality.

If I shove a Ram into a container and bring it over I'll need to spend thousands of dollar converting it to a RHD.

@Denvermike. Yes a RAM HD 2500 0r 3500, a "car/truck" for 5th Wheelers or larger Caravans. Not a RAM 1500. You could use a Japanese Truck or A European Cutaway Van, but they can be either cumbersome to park or look odd(taking either into a Supermarket to pickup groceries)

Yes the problem is the acceptance or lack of it of small diesels in the US, a real problem for the manufacturers.

No there is virtually NO demand for your 1/2 tons outside NA. If there was ,Ford/GM /Chrysler/Toyota would be exporting them in droves, and putting in diesels where necessary.
In fact their is very little demand for the full range of US Pickups outside NA is more of a worry. If the US market declines or manufacturers want new markets, they need to desperately to change the product i.e Global Ranger.
The fact that the demand for US Pickups

@Denvermike
A case in point, same locally built 5Ver two different tow vehicles. The IVECO has the advantage of a better ride laden and unladen, more fuel efficient, but is like a Mercedes Sprinter to park. Where the RAM will do 70Mph the IVECO 50 mph on the same section of hill towing an identical 5Ver.
The RAM is more carlike.
http://www.travelhome.com.au/amh/images/Rykers.jpg

http://www.myrv.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/Travelhome-Macquarie-ext-1.jpg

@Robert Ryan - You and I can guess how people around the globe would react to NA half tons showing up at their local dealers, but one check of Youtube shows ethusiastic owners of grey market half tons in every corner of the world.

On paper, yeah many combinations of cut-off vans and tilt cabs, more common to the world, can out haul and out tow NA half tons, but your missing one very important ingredient: Style.

OK, two: Muscle car performance and V8 rumble in a 4X4 offroad package.

You may not care to own one, but I've met OZ and NZ natives that would absolutely kill to have one. That may or may not be a universal sentiment, but you won't find anyone in NA nearly that enthusiastic about the prospect of owning a global Ranger or HiLux. Nor would they command the ridiculous prices of grey market half tons converted to RHD. Who the heck would spend that kind of money ($10K+) to convert a global mid-size pickup if they were allowed into NA?

@Denvermike. they are a bit like British Sportscar fanatics. they would kill to get a Austin Healy 100. Not many of them and they are fanatical. Grey Market , or in our case RHD converted F250's for RV work is growing. They the owners buy near new 2nd hand vehicles very low mileage and convert them.
The Market as I stated is pretty well non-existant outside NA for 1/2 tons, even in Australia. I saw FIVE Dodge Rams and one Silverado all HD models after going through 10 countries in Europe in 2010

ON THE OTHER HAND. US Automobile Companies are very aware the 3 Litre Diesel market is booming and look at the lead story about Chrysler and they all realise that they have to eventually get into this market as it is booming.

@Denvermike I very much doubt You Tube is a reliable source of buyers behaviour if it was we would all be doing burnouts before buying a new vehicle.
As I have stated if there was a market for US 1/2 tons outside NA, then the US Auto industry would be trying to mine this "El Dorado" with LHD/RHD and Diesel variants. They would not waste their time trying to reinvent the wheel, by developing the Global Ranger or Colorado.
"Style " is a subjective thing, not the main reason they sell Pickups here. If thing is Ugly i.e BT-50. Big Al from Oz stated you can look the other way and enjoy other aspects of the vehicle.

@Robert Ryan
Hey, my truck is gorgeous!! When driving it. It's actually an exceptional drive for a pickup that can carry 3 000lbs.

Actually I starting to like the looks of it, or I've become de-sensitised. Except the tail end is far worse than the front.

@Denvermike
One thing most people don't discuss on this site is production capability and what direction auto-industrial complexes are heading in.

Europe and NA will rationalise their production facilities. This global recession might have been the medicine that OECD economies needed to realise they have to be competitive or be swallowed.

Asia appears to be leading the way in production technology, just take Thailand for example. They are building massive industrial complexes to manufacture one platform for worldwide distribution.

The major players ie Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda etc are setting up these complexes. The US is currently in a FTA with the Thais. When the agreement is made a lot of mid-size pickups are made there. The ones we get.

@Big Al from Oz - I have to agree with the comment "One thing most people don't discuss on this site is production capability and what direction auto-industrial complexes are heading in."

I don't think many people follow trends, or care to change their habits. They are more likely to complain and blame polititians etc. then try something different. Many would rather blame foreign companies than admit that domestic companies have made too many big mistakes or have been too slow to adapt.
The auto industry collapse in the USA is a prime example. GMC and Chrysler collapsed and Ford scraped by. Ford's earlier and quicker adaptation has left it much stronger than the other two.

Fuel prices is another example. Many feel that OPEC and/or the Middle East are to blame. They also feel that the USA is dependant on oil from that part of the world. I suspect that myth has been encouraged by USA governments to justify the unsutainably large military presense in that part of the world.

Many have the attitude that their way is the only way that matters. I've seen the attitude of many Americans abroad where they complain about what they see and then say "this the way we do it back home" and "our way is better". The better attitude should be" Hmmm, I wonder why they do it that way? and is it a better way or just a different way?"

I remember meeting a tourist from Maryland. He'd be what Robert Ryan refers as a Grey Nomad in his 45 foot Motorhome. I was in Northern BC close to the Yukon border when I met him. He could not fathom how "we" could make a living in the "North" as there were no ranches and farms. I tried to explain to him about the lumber industry and harvesting the forest, as well as mining and oil. I also explained to him that the winters were too long and cold, large preditors would cut into survival etc. I pointed out that if he headed east 10 more hours he'd be in a huge agricultural region but he could not see it any way other than his way.

You can ignore the fact that half tons are the #1 best selling vehicles in the US. Maybe that wouldn't happen in OZ or the typical 1st world country, but they'd no doubt be a force to be reckoned with. Tell me how well mid-size trucks do against everything else in OZ. It's no wonder they wouldn't stand a chance against half ton pickups in NA.

Buying a new vehicle is an emotional, impulsive and almost irrational decision for most and the intangibles play a major role, like it or not. Our half tons play on your logical side too. They're a pretty good value, safer and versatile to no ends. They're a muscle car justified.

That reply was @Robert Ryan and Big Al form Oz

@ DenverMike The Hilux was the best selling "car" in Australia for the last two months. Then you have the SUV's that make up 25% of the market, Pickups and Utes make up another 15 %. Then small cars and lastly larger cars.

@ DenverMike If you have a largish family you get a SUV. Pickups/Utes are mainly driven by single men/tradies or young women. Young women like small cars. Older men /women like large cars and SUV's

@ DenverMike SUV's are the "Force to be reckoned with" growing in leaps and bounds. Larger cars are dying and even very small cars are losing market share to them.

@Lou
Like Australia the US/Canada has many challenges confronting them. The auto industry in NA had a very strong UAW and weak management. They have been given an 11th hour reprieve by the gracious tax payers and there is no more room for decision errors to occur. And to top it off the economic climate is right for change and easily justifiable.

Why was it Ford and GM decided to design the new mid-size trucks outside NA? And as I pointed there are design features with them ie, high riders and vehicle size indicates there is more going on than is being admitted. This to me is significant, because in Australia we buy a 4x4 if we want height and we have been using the "small" mid-sizers for years. Developing nations don't have the money to invest in a high riding pickup and a the older smaller style pickup sufficed.

I don't think the Big Three are telling all about the future of your large 1/2 tonners. They can't exist in their current form for much longer in relation to CAFE targets. After 2016 CAFE and Euro VI will exist in harmony. That means diesels will become available in NA. That's why I think Fords Eco-Boost is short term.

The new large 1/2 tonners, are they "new" or built on the current platform. Just changing a body with a few mechanical changes isn't really investing into the best possible performace.

From a country's oil security perspective you get more gallons of diesel per barrel than gasoline.

I have noticed that Chrysler keeps on throwing out tidbits to test response ie diesel 1500 Ram, small pickup. This indicates that they haven't made a decision on what direction to take with any 1/2 tonner whether mid-size or large.

Ford and GM have, hence the T6 Ranger and Colorado and Fiat/Chrysler have nothing.

Like I have said you NA guys are in for some serious changes.

I hope VW does import the diesel Amarok into Canada as this will change things completely.

I try to read trends and stats to find things out. I know there is a lot of subjective, emotional banter on this site, but this has to be expected. As all are relatively ardant pickup fans.

@Robert Ryan - Crew cab half tons do get used as family haulers and by tradesmen. Often as dual purpose vehicles that seat 5 or 6 full-size adults. That means greater versatility. Crew cab mid-sizers only offer the front/rear leg room of extra cab half tons, but only seat 4.

Half ton crews mean your family can get by with one less vehicle and one more nail in mid-sizer's NA coffin.

@Big Al from Oz - there have been rumours that Ford will shrink the F150 to gain MPG for the looming EPA rules. We still might see something close to the global Ranger in NA. Ford doesn't want to loose its traditional buyers so I suspect that we will see small changes over time. It will shrink but I doubt it will be a "2012 A Space Odyssey" type of transformation. I've used the term "Evolution versus Revolution" as how truck builders in NA progress. Revolution is seen as cause for revolt in the conservative truck buyers mind set.

@Denvermike
Believe it or not my new Mazda BT50 has plenty of rear legroom and the seat back is actually sloped for comfort, not like the old mid-sizers. The pickup is a little over 6' wide and about 19' long. These are not small by any measure, though not as big as your full size 1/2 tonners.

They will also accommodate 3 across the back with relative comfort, especially kids.

They have much more room in the front and rear of the cab than a Toyota Camry about the size of our Ford Falcon/Commodores.

The Hilux was the number 1 selling vehicle in Australia, Nissan Navara (Frontier) 5th, Toyota Prado (Lexus 470) 7th and Mitusbishi Triton (pickup) 10th.

In the top ten we have 3 pickups and a 4x4 Wagon.

@Lou
Then Ford would have the T6 Ranger in one form or another right now, but they said it was to close to the F-150 to introduce.

I've said it before, I see a few Americans say they would like to have the pickups available in 3rd world countries, but reality is they are used to large, high horsepower trucks. I doubt many would be happy with them. Toyota has plants here, if they thought the hilux would be a big seller you can bet they'd be pushing them out the door. Big Al, from everything I've seen about twice as much gasoline is available per barrel than is diesel fuel. That's why I think USA has a much smaller number of diesel vehicles.

@Tom
What we are saying is your small pickups are worse than what 3rd world countries are getting now. They get the Amarok, T6 Ranger, Mazda BT50, New Colorado, D Max and Toyota Hilux.

25% of your crude yield goes to heating oil. AVTUR and heavy oils come out also the real heavy stuff like bitumen etc. This hasn't even included diesel yet.

@Big Al from Oz - While Mazda BT-50 crew cabs may be roomy inside, their combined leg room, front and rear, is equal to extra cab half tons. Pretty good, but 5 full-size adults would be get really uncomfortable, real fast. And the 6th guy or family member would be out of luck. This would cause you to own a separate full-size car or SUV if you wanted the leg room and seating capacity of a half ton crew cab.

That's part of the beauty of half tons and still not much bigger than mid-sizers on the outside. And yet another justification for owning a V8 muscle truck.

@DenverMike, Robert Ryan, Al from Oz, and Lou--I think there is a lot that we the public don't know that is going on behind closed doors by the manufacturers as to future product developments and changes to the 1/2 ton trucks. I have to agree with Lou that one of the challenges will be is to keep the bed dimensions the same and if I might add the interior room about the same on the full size 1/2 tons. Maybe with different motors and the position of the motors they might take a couple of inches off the front. Definitely lighter metals will be used on the frame and the skelton of the trucks and with that these metals will bring the cost up which will make it a challenge to control costs. Lighter vehicles will allow smaller lighter motors. I don't see V-8s going away but there might be less of them and they might be lighter and smaller.

Any development will have to be shared on a global basis because it is very expensive to develop new products and the retooling costs are high as well. With a more competitive market containing costs is a major challenge. Knowing this and as you said Denver Mike the midsize market is a diminishing market in America they will not put as much development effort into the midsize market. The midsize trucks have grown in size on a global scale and the full size NA trucks will be reduced in size and then as Lou said there will be little if any difference between the midsize and full size. I agree Lou any changes made to full size trucks will be gradual as the new fuel standards are phased in. All the manufacturers are aware of their market and the last thing they want to do is lose customers. These are just my opinions and there could be other things that happen that none of us know about.

I do see a market for a compact truck though but there again development costs will be an issue. Platforms, parts, and drivetrains will be shared with autos and/or SUVs to contain costs. Fuel prices, government standards, market demand, and containing development and production costs will determine what is developed. More likely any compact truck developed will be front wheel drive and all wheel drive variants of the cross overs each manufacturer has. Those customers that want the full capacities of a truck will buy full size.

Great discussion.

@Jeff S
I agree with your comments.

You guys have yet to recieve these new mid-sizers, they are different and larger than the mid-sizers you currently have on offer (maybe on par with the Dakota).

Most of your comments are based on Taco's etc. Plus your mid-sizers are Americanised to reduce cost to the consumer.

GM seems to be the only manufacturer to make a move with them. Maybe because they want a head start as the reviews for them here aren't as good as the Amarok/T6 Ranger/BT50.

I also hope you get the 2.8 Duramax diesel that's going into your Caddy and they keep the safety aspect of the vehicle as it is.

I wonder why VW who is independent of the Big 3 hasn't moved yet to introduce the Amarok. I think they would be watching closely what's going on in NA. Could be production capacity.

@Denvermike
I do understand what you are saying about having 3 adults across the back, but what is the size of the average NA family 1.8 kids?

I also notice alot of comments (including mine) regarding the attributes they want in a vehicle. But in the future it will be driven more and more by what is logical, affordable and regulated.

@Big Al from Oz - A while back a story ran about the Amarok. VW would only consider bring it to NA if they felt that they could sell 100,000 units a year. Currently the market is around 250,000 units a year for all of the brands. If the market was 500,000 or more VW would probably have a better business case. I bet that all eyes are on Colorado. If they do not gain much market share compared to the ancient Tacoma, that would be viewed as an epic failure by the global auto industry. The fact that Toyota is dragging their ass on the Tacoma also shows that they don't expect much from the NA market or the Global Colorado. I do think that the Hilux with a diesel or any of the global Hilux engines would kick ass in NA. It seems that no one wants to take the chance and go against the "big pickup is the only way to go" mentality.

@ Lou
Over here Toyota are bringing out the new Hilux in 2014, the same year as the Tacoma in NA. I wonder if they are going to be the same again.

Considering the T6 Ranger/BT-50/Colorado/D Max/Amarok, Toyota's new mid-sizer will be good (and most expensive).

@ Lou (again)
That leave Nissan and Mitsubishi without a new mid-sizer.

I have read that Nissan and Mitsubishi have a joint plant in Thailand and are going to build pickups on the same line. This is much like the Ford - Mazda pickup line with the T6 Ranger and BT-50.

I don't know if this has commence yet. I'll try and find out.

Smaller is better--period. My family is no kids--period. I, and a lot of people like me, simply don't have a need for a 5- or 6-seater truck that won't even fit in a standard parallel-parking place on the street. Heck, most families only consist of two adults and 1.5 kids (in other words, about a 50/50 mix of 1 or 2 kids. More than two, and I really don't want to know you.) As such, super legroom for 5 adults really doesn't make sense for a personal vehicle.

Now, I'll grant I'm driving a 4-door Jeep Wrangler. Why? On very, very rare occasions I'll carry two additional adults. In all honesty, those rear seat backs lie as flat as the Wrangler's design will go--which could be better, and I use it as cargo floor. The problem is, that cargo floor won't let me easily carry a 55" television, or a new refrigerator or more than a few bags of mulch, paving blocks or other oddly-shaped cargo that simply won't fit in a covered SUV. For all of those, a small pickup with an extended cab would meet the need--since I simply wouldn't be driving it if I expected to carry more than 1.5 passengers.

I own a 2001 dodge ram 1500 with the v6 and the fuel economy is horrible. I feel that a v8 would have been better since I'm one of the people that use their truck, but I would love to drop a diesel in it. The mileage would be worth it I think.

I would like to get a pickup truck for my minimal cargo-carrying needs. Unfortunately, they all get poor mileage compared to my family sedan. Until the manufacturers come out with an economical (25mpg+) small pickup (that can hold minimum 3'X6'), I will continue to hitch the U-Haul trailer to the sedan.



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