2013 NAIAS Wrap: Coverage Closeout

A Truck History

The end of an exhausting set of days is behind us, and Detroit's 2013 North American International Auto Show is in the books. Here are some of our highlights as we wandered the manufacturers' floor displays. For the most part, all the automakers did a pretty good job, with Chevy and Ford getting the most buzz with their spotlighted vehicles. Probably our favorite down-sized display was Chevy truck's walk through history with its cabinet of trucks from the last 100 years. 

Ford Atlas Concept

A Ford Atlas Mulally

Without a doubt, the vehicle of the show was a wonderful last-minute surprise that Ford called the Atlas concept. Say what you will about the look, there is likely to be quite a bit of styling and function details that will make it to production. Whether these features and designs show up on the next F-150 or (we think more likely) on the next Super Duty, we'll have to wait and see, but we like the way the automaker is thinking — once Ford got wind that GM was going to save its big-bang hit, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, for the Detroit auto show, Ford pushed the concept truck into the spotlight. We're not sure this counts as a "bitch-slap" or Kanye West moment like some have noted, but it was fun to watch it play out. We have no doubt it has people meeting and planning, especially at GM and other truckmakers. Our favorite piece of technology on the Atlas? By far, the idea of trailer park-assist could be the game-changer. 

Ford Commercial Lineup

B FordTransitNose

Lost in the avalanche of drama surrounding the Atlas concept, Ford debuted to the public its new Transit vans. Ford expects commercial fleet markets to grow as much as 29 percent in the next three years, putting the automaker in the best position of all the U.S. truck- and van-makers to benefit. Also, we keep hearing from the engineers that the baby Power Stroke will be impressive and more powerful than many expect. To recap, the Transit will have three body lengths, four body types, three roof heights and five seating configurations. Finally, does anyone else notice the similarity between the grille shapes of the Atlas and the new Transit?

Chevy EcoTec3 innards

C EcoTec3 partsIMG_3506

Although much of the buzz in the Chevy booth was about the new Corvette, this auto show was the first time most of the media (certainly the international media) had a chance to see the new Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500. There were three trucks from both brands on display to show the various levels of feature content and trim packaging, but, alas, no dedicated announcements, press releases or conference. What it had was good display of the parts responsible for providing the coolest features of the new EcoTec3 engines: the VVTi cam phaser, the direct-injection fuel rails and cylinder shut-off (or AFM) controller.  

GMC Bed Capacity

D GMC bed

On the GMC side, as you might expect, things were a little more sophisticated. Even the bed display was antiseptically separated from the rest of the truck — compartmentalized in a dedicated display — to show off the dual-reinforced bed tie-downs that allows for much more creativity when figuring out how to safely strap down your gear. In fact, we found retaining-wall logs paired with a tool chest to be one of the most creative (maybe odd) displays on the floor. 

Ram Truck Stripped Frame

2013-ram-hd-3500 II

The stripped Ram HD 3500 on display next to a fully dressed Ram HD 3500 gave us a chance to see the inner workings of the larger, reinforced crossmembers that allow the new HDs to get such monster gross combined weight numbers (be sure to check out the video). Still, there are some issues of exact maximum payload numbers (especially in regards to max fifth-wheel numbers) and maximum conventional towing numbers that need to be addressed. We're told by one of our Ram insiders that until the rest of the segment goes full blown into the J2807 procedures and requirements, it doesn't make sense for Ram to step out. However, knowing that trigger could be pulled at any time, it make sense to us that the Ram engineers have calculated a lot of these numbers with all the procedures and requirements in mind.  

Jeep 3.0L V-6 TD

F Jeep 3.0L TD

Although clearly not a pickup truck, we still think its worth noting that the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT still has some import to us as it sports the 470-horsepower, 6.4-liter Hemi, offers a 9-inch corporate rear end, a 7,200-pound towing capacity and has a dedicated towing detent on the sporty Selec-Track center dial. Once the Tow setting is selected, the suspension can tighten, load leveling gets more aggressive, the transfer case splits power 50/50 and the new eight-speed automatic transmission holds gears longer at launch and downgrades. That kind of integration would work quite nicely on a pickup, as well. Additionally, the Grand Cherokee will get a 3.0-liter 60-degree V-6 turbodiesel that makes 420 pounds-feet of torque for 2014, and we see no reason why that VM Motori wouldn't fit into a 2014 Ram 1500. We'll stay optimistic until we hear otherwise.  

Via Motors X-Trux


One of very few trucks that had us stop dead in our tracks was this concept truck from Via (pronounced Veee-ahh). We noted earlier how special the Via press conference was due to the high-flying female acrobats over the media seats, but this truck was even more impressive. Essentially, Via bolted two of its 400-horsepower-producing electric motors together along with a traditional transfer case to create an 800-hp 4x4 ready to blow away everything on the street or through the desert — and do it all with software controls. We'll have more on this truck later, but it is the brain child of Via board member and former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz (who, by all accounts, had his way with the exterior design team) as well as quite a bit of spectacular engineering from a pair of brothers from Utah. We've been told it will be a little while before we can get behind the wheel, so stay tuned. 

Gibbs Quadski ATV

H Gibbs Quadski

After seeing Craftsman show a lawnmower (albeit a pretty cool lawnmower) at last year's NAIAS, we were not surprised to see something like this on the show floor. Gibbs has spent the last 15 years getting this new product going, and now it has arrived: Behold, the first amphibious ATV we've ever seen at an auto show. You may have seen the Gibbs Quadski reviewed by Car and Driver or Popular Mechanics, both offering relatively high praise for the dual-sport bedtoy. The Quadski uses a single BMW-sourced engine, converts from one medium to another with the push of a button and is reported to be able to maintain speeds of 45 mph (on land). Early reports noted the Quadski was to go on sale two months ago; there have been some delays, but Gibbs is taking orders. Pricing is likely to be north of $35,000. 

Cars.com Work Vehicle Award

2013 Ford F-150 Red II

Over the last few years, Cars.com has been getting a bit of a reputation for throwing one of the biggest and best parties at NAIAS. We usually have a good band at the party and take the opportunity to present a few award to some of the vehicles we think have been standouts throughout the year. Yours truly got to present the Work Vehicle Award this year at the party, where the Ford F-150 took home the prize. The award is an interesting one because we define the category of "work" so broadly that it allows cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups to compete against one another. We include hypermiling commuters, head-honcho statement cars, family-carrying beasts-of-burden, and work-horse pickups all against one another. After many long hours of debate, we had a winner. Congrats to Ford.  

Toyota Chose to Endeavour

I Toyota Trundra

Although there was a lonely Tundra and Tacoma in the newly designed Toyota display, there was no truck news to be had. Rumors are flying fast and loud that a new Tacoma or Tundra is just around the corner, but we couldn't confirm them. However, we did note that if ever there was an argument for the absolute necessity of a standardized test for determining maximum tow ratings (meaning SAE's J2807), it would be the fact that Toyota is making such a big deal about towing the Space Shuttle Endeavour 200 yards over a Southern California freeway overpass. We would also like to note that Toyota is the only truckmaker to be adhering to the J2807 towing with all its vehicles (in fact, it has been for several years). We expect that someday consumers will be able to compare Toyota's SAE-calculated towing numbers with the rest of the segment, but it won't be soon.  

What We Drove in Detroit

H Ram 1500 II

While in Detroit for the auto show, we were able to drive a 2013 Ram 1500 crew cab SLT 4x4 with the Pentastar engine and new eight-speed automatic transmission. We like this combination; ours had the full navigation system, the big center console and the air-ride suspension. The truck was priced right at $40,000 and gave us 20.1 mpg over the 100-or-so miles we drove while in town. Granted, we don't normally lightfoot the throttle, but we weren't doing anything crazy. Most of those miles were done around town, to and from the convention center, with a jaunt to Ann Arbor, Mich., and a local design studio that I can't say anything about yet.

FordAtlasConcept_06_HR II



@Mark Williams, Why no coverage of that awesome black lifted Power Wagon in the background in the pic of the RAM dually?

@ Hemi V8...because no one cares about it. Ford Atlas stole the show. Get over it.

Seeing the Ford Atlas behind those guy's that thing looks absolutely massive, I love it!!

@Ford Atlas, Some of us are interested in trucks we can buy.lol

Thanks for the info and pictures. Love the Ford Atlas, too bad its just a prototype, iwouldn't buy one , but lots of guys that want a truck to be a show off, this one will definatly deliver. Are you sure the Ram pictured is a 4x4, looks awefully low. I can't wait for the new GM to hit the dealerships, in real life the interior is awesome, much the same as the 2013 Ram with a little more storage. Hope to hear about the next gen Superduty, it should be awesome.

Oh and congrats to Ford for the work vehicle award.

The onlything I really dont care for on the Atlas is the 3pcs front bumper design, I hated it when Chevy did it in 2007. That said Chevy had a lot of heat over it and for 2014 its back to a 1pc solid front bumper. I hope Ford figures that out before the put this thing into production. The 3 pc setup is not that noticeable in an all silver truck , but I bet it really looks really ugly on say a red or darker colored truck where those end caps would really stand out against the center chrome section.

The Coverage of the new GM twins was horrible from here to GMI, and other sites, there was almost no new pictures, no new spec info, basically nothing new if anything at all that I saw has been reported about the 2014 GM twins. I thought this was supose to be there big public launch, and last month was a preview sort of deal. I guess there is always hope for the Chicago show to yield some new info.

GM will release info in due time. GM has a great following and i suspect they are not panicked to get info out until closer to build date. Confident that their product will always sell well, they see no need to make a huge deal of it at present.

The Ford Atlas looks rather huge. I like it, but I was kind of thinking it would be smaller.

The only truck that actually has done work was the Tundra!

The rest are show trucks...

Work vehicle award should have went to the Tundra!

So the tundra pulled the space shuttle on flat ground. Take a trip over to youtube and watch all the video of trucks pulling trains, semitrucks and old propaganda videos from ford and GM pulling aircraft carriers. So really that has proved nothing. The F150 deserves the Work vehicle award. Look at all the features the F150 has to help people work. What does the tundra have? Does it have a tailgate step, sync/work solutions, trailer sway control, trailer brake controller, and the list goes on. So what does the tundra offer?

In other pictures, I saw the Atlas on an elevated display. I'm guessing that makes it look bigger than it is in this picture.

The Atlas makes all other trucks look pretty boring


The Tundra at the auto show was the actual one that pulled the shuttle. I do not recall any F-150's at the auto show doing anything like that hence show vehicles.

I do not think the data plates on any F-150 at the auto show were the ones that pulled trains, warships, etc...

The Tundra is the ACTUAL one that did pull the shuttle!

so was the award for vehicle that has done the most work at the auto show?
So with pulling a space shuttle aside, i politely ask again what features does the tundra have that make it a good work truck that helps people work? what stand out features does it have?

The Gibbs Quadaski come from New Zealand. They are going to manufacture it mainly in the US.
"Gibbs Sports Amphibians Inc is developing additional sports amphibians at development facilities in Auburn Hills, and Auckland, New Zealand."

The Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 3 Litre CRD engine has been sold here for a while. It is preferred as a towing engine to the 5.7 Litre Hemi.

Fords "Baby Power Stroke" known as the 3.2 litre Duratorqu outside North America.

@Evan, the Atlas is siting on an 8 inch platform, the guys standing in front are not on the platform.... none the less, cool truck for sure.

I wish they would announce the HP/TQ numbers for the engines in the Transit vans, as well as the fuel economy and towing numbers.

We've been looking at the 6.6L diesel Express/Savana vans, but if the Transit offers similar performance with better fuel economy I think they might be the way to go.

Hopefully, they'll still offer the low roof with the HD vans. The higher roof vans get you pulled over on the parkway here, as they automatically assume you're over weight.

@Oxi - you are now an expert on work trucks?
Has your wisdom no bounds?
Toyota had 2 trucks in their display.
What message does that send.
Enlighten us......

You stopped posting for a while.
When did you clue in to the fact that the world hadn't ended?

Those transit vans from Ford have got to be the ugliest van ever produced, ever. I hope to god my HVAC Co. does not buy these and I am stuck driving this euro design from ONE Ford.

If you don't see the RAM design on the front of the Tundra and Atlas you are blind. I guess imitation is the greatest form of flattery. lol

Toyota and work do not belong in the same sentence. They have tried them in the HVAC trade. They don't last long. Not heavy duty enough.


ONLY FOR 100 YARDS (I doubt even that as its fake for t.v)..





The tractor got the shuttle rolling and for a small 100 yards the Tundra let physics work,roll down a bridge looking like it could tow,hey you can jump an orange Charger 1000 feet in the air and land and drive off with no damage ! Right...

The Tractor/dolly/trailer they used was the main key on how and why the Turdra could look like it could tow the Shuttle 100 yards for a commercial,like all tv it aint real...

PR stunt..its like those guys pulling 747 planes with their teeth...



Totally fake that the Tundra towed the shuttle,even the fake inspecters watching/inspecting the cables for the truck/shuttle were fake just for the commercial..

The tractor on the shuttle did the work...

Funny how people like to be b.s'ed..I like the truth and not a bunch of b.s like the tundra Shuttle b.s

Tundra did not tow the shuttle....

The Tractor on the trailer did...Tundra lol,its a lie,fake and full of b.s !! Toyota worlds worst manufacturer,rust,failing engines out of control excelleration...Toyota full of lies,just like the tundra/Shuttle lie..as proven it didnt do anything...

Proven its a lie as they were told for the commercial to look like the cables actually were hooked to the shuttle...lol...Toyota lies,fake scammers..Saps buy/drive Toyota's !!

@Toyota LOL - and you probably believe that the Newtown masacre was a hoax to allow the socialists in government to remove assault rifles from law abiding Americans.

The Chevy model display is super cool.

The load of wood in the box of the Chevy is a bit lame. That wood looks dry as a flea fart.
I don't know of any self respecting guy that would stick their tool box in the middle of a load of fire wood.

Does that 800 hp electric toy come with batteries?
It does look cool.

The quadski is okay but Argo has been making amphibious vehicles for decades.

Looks like the F150 won an award too. woo hoo, yeah, great, hip hip hooray, booyah, great, wonderful, bla bla bla bla bla.
I tried to sound like HemiV8 but it just doesn't sound right for a grown man to act that way.
Maybe I'll just cut and paste that news a few hundred times in the most inappropriate places.
Luckily for everyone, that Atlas truck didn't catch fire.
But it did burn Chevy and Ram's ass ;)

@hemi V8
Have you not seen the butt ugly RAM vans that are coming here from europe. The fiat vans are the ugliest things ever made period and look even worse with the RAM on the front. But thats ok cause the girly vans will get a girly symbol. awesome how the ram symbols look like a womens reproductive system. Proof that RAMS are for girls

I do think the Ford Atlas looks are polarising.

If this is the size of things to come for a 1/2 ton pickup I'm wondering if CAFE regulations are forcing this with their footprint method of calculating fuel economy.

If the size increases will the payload increase to several thousand pounds as well.

After having lived with a F-250 SD for a short time (which was fun) the size of the vehicle become annoying if you aren't using it, especially in an urban environment.

This truck will be to large for many and maybe GM bringing out the Colorado and especially a 2.8 diesel version might not be so dumb.

Will the global Ranger come to the US with the same 3.2 Duratorque that will be fitted into the Transits? Or by then a 2.2 diesel.

The Atlas is a great looking pickup, but sorry , the Transit is too much European and more than Ugly !!!!!r

Just a hail mary..but wonder if this Atlas could be the new F250 and the new F 150 will be 'frameless and based on the transit large commercial van chasis...

Plus Ford sent van production from Avon Lake to Kanas City plant that ..also makes F 150s as welll..

Lou: I believe someone is using your name to make stupid remarks, and as far as the Atlas goes, it is probably no bigger than the reg F-150 it is the photos that make it look bigger, and it does look kool, and all the Ford fanbois out there that has been critical of the new Chevy and the big front end are being a little hypocritical about that, and the shuttle could have been towed across that flat overpass with a John Deer lawn tractor, it is all in the grearing, and the only reason they did not use the regular tug, was because of the weight, the regular power unit that towed the rest of the way and the begining weighs a lot more than the tundra, but it all boiled bown to $$$, from toyota's best dept. in the whole company, is the PR dept. and who ever came up with that one should get a raise!

Good job on the Atlas. It looks like a modern version of the F-150 meets the SD. Very sharp design! The Dodge still looks nice as well there. I think Dodge can do the same type of thing as Ford did with modernizing their truck and keep making sales gains. The Chevrolet is a letdown. I like elements of the redesign, particularly the new cab and the return of a full front bumper. The front end is nice though I actually like the current headlights better without the crossbar going through them. The rear end and sides of the Silverado just don't work. They almost look cut and pasted on there and I find it bizarre. I suspect they'll continue their sales slide. Adding 4 wheel disc brakes and making their bed stronger again won't cut it. Those things should have been there on the current truck in the first place. Chevy needs better designers for their trucks exteriors. This is 2 duds in a row now.

Chevy needs better designers for their trucks exteriors. This is 2 duds in a row now.

-More like 3 duds if you count when they destroyed the GMT800 front end in 03 and turned it into the Angry Chinaman truck as everyone calls it. Idiots. How the once mighty have fallen.. They need to bring back the old guys or stick the Tahoe crew on there. I don't know what to say about Chevy anymore. I still love their old trucks though. Anything from 2002 and back was golden.

Seeing the Ford Atlas behind those guy's that thing looks absolutely massive, I love it!!

@Whoopud, This truck is the stuff dreams are made of. I love it!!! Can I get one without the blue oval though?? :)

More like 3 duds if you count when they destroyed the GMT800 front end in 03 and turned it into the Angry Chinaman truck as everyone calls it. Idiots. How the once mighty have fallen.. They need to bring back the old guys or stick the Tahoe crew on there. I don't know what to say about Chevy anymore. I still love their old trucks though. Anything from 2002 and back was golden.

@WaltR, Yep. Chevrolet trucks ceased to exist in 2003 as far as I'm concerned. Notice they didn't put any of their little models on display from that year forward either. Even Chevy themselves are aware of when things went to hell. Why they won't fix it is truly a mystery I don't get. Old Chevy's > Old Ford's though. Just not anything from the 2003/2004 era of each company forward. That's when Ford's became great and Chevy's went into the crapper.

Old Chevy's > Old Ford's though. Just not anything from the 2003/2004 era of each company forward. That's when Ford's became great and Chevy's went into the crapper.

@tmp, true for 1500's but if you want a SFA you have to go back to 1987 for a Chevy. If you're talking offroading, Ford has owned Chevy since 99 when the Super Duty came out. For the 1500's though I agree. 03 is when their looks took a dive off the cliff with the slanted jap front end. 07 just made it about unforgivable.

@sandman4X4 - There have been a lot of fake posts using my name.
I actually do not like the looks of the grill on the Atlas. I also do not like the grill on the Super Duty. My opinion is just that - my opinion. I do like the rest of the truck other than the back seats, shifter shape and the blue mood lights in the cab.
I agree that any vehicle could of pulled the Endeavour. Toyota LOL's post was plain stupid.
I like the new Chevy and GM trucks. I don't like the Chevy as much without those projector headlights. iI'm eager to see the motor lineup for the GMC trucks.
On the topic of PR - true, Toyota hit a homerun with the Endeavour. Ford also upstaged everyone with their Atlas truck. They sucked the wind out of GM's sails and also steamrollered over Ram's North American Truck of the Year award and Ram's 30K tow gorilla.

I thought that Ford would shrink the F150 not make it bigger. If the 30K Ram is any indication, Ford may boost the F150 into 3/4 ton territory, the F250 will also move up in capacity with the F350 becoming the pickup beast and the F450 becoming a MDT with a pickup box. That will then give them room to slot the Global Ranger into the line up. I bet it will show up as a F100 to gaurantee F Series sales domination.
I am betting that we will see a turbo inline 4, the 3.5 EB and the 5.0 in normally aspirated and turbo form for the F150. I think that the 6.2 will be gone from the F150 line.
The reason why I think the 5.0 will be NA and TT is because of the next gen Mustang. The 5.0 will remain but the Shelby 5.8 is too big to fit under the hood. Rumours are for a blown or TT 5.0.

The Atlas concept looks easily doable and likely just a current F-150 below the Atlas skin. GM's all-new engine specs are still a mystery, but the 2014 Corvette's all-new 6.2 gained all of 20 HP vs the current Vet's 6.2

Talk about PR and advertising, does anyone else remember the old F-250 ads, with the F-250 carrying a Chevy truck, while towing a Dodge truck up a hill of cinderblocks? THAT was something! I think it was when Ford came out with their new HD pick up line back in the erly 70's! or was it carrying the Dodge and towing the Chevy, and I am not sure if they were 3/4t trucks, but the Ford was. Now toyota makes a big deal out of towing a gutted shuttle craft, over a flat overpass?

@Lou--I hope your right about a F-100. If they grow the F-150 into the size of a 3/4 ton and GM and Ram follow then it is just too big for a lot of people. I could compromise on a global Ranger size or a Colorado size but growing the full size half ton any bigger would leave a huge gap in the truck market. I am not a fan either of the massive grill and the coverings over the headlights of this Atlas but the rest is not bad. The 2014 Silverado looks much better in the front than the current one but I am not too crazy about the huge bumps on top of the wheel wells, but it is much better. Ram still looks good. I don't have as much of an issue with the styling of these trucks as putting them on steroids and growing them any bigger. Isn't that what HDs are for? To each his own.

The 2014 Silverado looks much better in the front than the current one but I am not too crazy about the huge bumps on top of the wheel wells,

@Jeff S, that's the biggest problem with the new Silverado. The wheel bumps.

@JeffS- the auto companies could cheat on the EPA MPG rules by bumping the 1/2 tons into the bottom end of the 3/4 ton truck bracket. IIRC, the rules are more lax for bigger pickups.
I've always thought that if a car company minimized overlap, there would be room for smaller trucks.
We may see a 11/10th scale F150 and a 9/10th scale F100.
If they use lighter materials and go to smaller engines, they could conceivably produce a larger truck but still be lighter than the current F150. A larger size does not mean a deterioration in aerodynamics.
Guys (sounds like the same guy really) are panning the Chevy for its wider stance but I bet it isn't significantly wider and I bet it is much more aerodynamic than the old truck.

Ram truck guys seem to get threatened easily, you think they would be used to being last by now.

I love the look of the new GM. At least it has built in fender flares, everyone seems to add them to their truck nowadays, the big bulge over wheel is better fad. GM is a sharp looking truck. I am glad they kept the squared up front istead of going to the sloped down style like the new Ram. The Ram reminds me of a car now.

@Lou--Yes you might have something there about getting around the wacky fuel standards by growing the half tons. Even if these half tons become more fuel efficient I just have no need or desire for a truck that big. If others want these trucks then ok, but I will pass. We all have different needs and wants. I am sure you are correct that the Silverado is not any bigger and maybe this concept Atlas isn't any bigger, but they both look massive. I also have no need for a truck that will tow 30,000 pounds. I feel like the manufacturers are in this size race and all sanity and reason has gone out the window.

@Jeff S
Further from our previous dicussion.

The 1/2 ton pickup might make history of being the first vehicle to be sized out of a market.

I know some guys on this site think it is great to have gigantic vehicles, but the for the average person who wants to do some gardening or home renovations it is to large.

A vehicle so large with such little capability is ashame also.

@Big Al from Oz--I agree these trucks continually grow externally except the beds get shorter. They have become more of a grown man's toy. If I needed the capabilities of a full size truck I would go for a longer bed and either a single cab or extended cab and I would get a work truck because I would use it for hauling. Most of the guys that I know that use their trucks for a living have gone to heavy duty. Most people don't really need trucks this big. I would also want a manual transmission which have disappeared in full size trucks.

@JeffS - there are times when I do miss a standard transmission. My brother went to Dodge trucks years ago because they were the last holdout. He prefered the standard for rough offroad bush road work. So do I. His company stopped letting guys order the manual shift due to better resale with the automatic. I don't think that you can get a standard now in any of the full sized gas powered trucks. Ram will continue to offer the manual for the stalwarts that insist on it. Current auto transmissions with lockout torque converters, and select shift behave almost like a standard.
@BigAl - there is a good chance that 1/2 tons may supersize themselves out of the market. The old nomenclature of 1/2, 3/4, 1 ton is uselss anyways. All of the current trucks are "boxing above their weight class".
Rumours were for Ford to downsize the F150 a bit to meet looming regulations, I was caught offguard when I saw that they may go bigger. That has been the North American approach for exploiting the rules. Any large truck based chassis gets "protected" for being bigger than it needs to be. Makes perfect sense.
Why downsize and face penalties when one can supersize for less R&D and face easier rules which equals more profits.
North Americans love their land-yacht's. When gas prices and the Japanese badged smaller cars killed off the dinosaurs in the '70's, I think that most North Americans just hoped over to pickups and big SUV's. Big SUV's became politically incorrect with the Hummer being the flagship land barge. Soccer moms and lifestyle types flocked to crewcab useless box (shortbox) pickups. The herd did get culled during the 2008 downturn.
The hardcore lifestyle types that need them for recreation have hung on to them. I have to admit that I fit that category. My truck fits my lifestyle. I could get by with a smaller more efficient SUV. The current small trucks aren't efficient enough for me to justify their purchase. (4 banger useless for a family extended cabs notwithstanding. LOL)

The reason Ford didn't downsize is because people want NO COMPROMISES. They want a touch truck that can haul everything they need, will last and last, and get the best fuel economy. GM is taking a different path and making compromises on everything.

@Lou--You are correct about the crewcab full size half ton becoming the family hauler, but like every family vehicle before it (SUV, minivan, full size van, and station wagon) eventually families will move onto another type of vehicle. What type of vehicle will be the next family hauler is anyone's guess but this seems to always happen. Possibly it could be something like the new versions of the Transit Connect, but then it could be something else. I do think that the new full size trucks will eventually get too big for most people, but there will always be some that want the bigger size.

@Dave - for some people, buying a full sized truck is a compromise. Unless you have the bank account that rivals that of a Saudi Prince, we all have to make compromises.
Ford makes compromises and so does Ram, or Toyota or any car maker. They have to come up with a formula that pleases the largest number of people the most amount of time. Most people would like 400 hp 500 lbft monsters but we also want decent MPG - isn't that a compromise? We could have a 1,000 hp but what about longevity? again, another compromise.
GMC wouldn't of made the 2014 Sierra and Silverado look the way they did if their reseach said no one would like it. They knew some people would not like it. Studies indicate that there is often an initial "shock" with new products. Some never grown accustomed to the new looks. For those people, they either have to buy based on loyalty or factors other than looks, or if looks are of ultimate importance to them, its simple, buy a different brand.
That is also a compromise.

You are talking about option/feature compromises. I'm talking about general lineup compromises. I don't like their approach.

- GMC compromised Silverado

- Colorado comprises Silverado fuel economy; therefore, they are not doing all they can to get Silverado to have better fuel economy

- True compacts eliminated. Mid-sizes were compromised on quality.

eg. Ford wants the F-150 to have no compromises: tough truck that can haul gear, take a pounding and still go further on a gallon of gas than others on the market

eg. GM wants a Silverado to be a tough truck that can take a pounding, but they are not very interested in the best fuel economy.

To those who want more fuel economy, GM will compromise the size and capability of their trucks.

I don't agree with this approach. Make each truck the best it can be and put more resources into the more popular Silverado.

@Dave - it still is a compromise. We have to wait and see what the mpg, tow/haul, and hp/torque numbers will be for the 2014's. There may be little in the way of compromise.
When it comes to small versus big pickup, Ford chose to pass on the compromise to its fans - if you want a Ford truck, it has to be a full sized truck.
There is more profit in a full sized truck. MPG rules are more lax with a full sized truck.
Ford killed the Ranger because new mpg rules, emission rules, and safety rules would cost them billions to meet. It was cheeper for them to kill the Ranger and loose 60,000 sales a year. Even at a guestimate of 10K profit per unit, Ford would loose 600,000,000 assuming all those customers were lost to Ford.
That was a compromise.
Ford's strategy is to focus on the 20% of their business that makes them 80% of their profits.
Ford wouldn't of killed the current Ranger if they would loose 600 million a year due to its demise.

Sure, GMC is making compromises, but it isn't as bad as you say. (I hope not for GMC's sake.) Designs are carefully researched therefore I doubt their trucks will go down in flames because of it. Is Silverado being compromised for Sierra? - only in the high end trim levels in the USA. Some don't care if it has a GMC or Chevy badge on the grill. I don't. I have no problems buying a Sierra over a Silverado if I want high end and a grill badge sourced from General Motors.

GMC has a two brand, 3 size strategy. They feel that they are offereing less compromise to the consumer by offering that strategy. That would be "global" Colorado/Canyon, 1500 Sierra/Silverado, 2500/3500 Sierra/Silverado.
If one feels that is inadequate, go buy a Ford, Ram, Toyota, or Nissan.
I'm sure someone has a product that will make you happy ;)

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