Current Negotiations Could End 'Chicken Tax'

2014-04-air-force-one3 II

By Tim Esterdahl

President Obama recently visited four Asian countries to discuss, among other issues, the status of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. While most of the TPP issues were not a big deal to the pickup truck market, the continuing debate over the "chicken tax" is a huge deal. To briefly recap, the chicken tax is one of the most significant international tariffs the U.S. has imposed in the last 50 years. If it goes away, it could fundamentally change the truck market in North America by opening a floodgate for new compact and midsize truck offerings.

The Chicken Tax History

During the Cold War, the U.S. chicken industry aggressively grew and what was once considered a luxury became a staple of the American diet. American chicken farmers started exporting their product around the world, and other countries accused farmers of unfair trade practices and artificially altering the meat. In response, France and West Germany, looking to protect local chicken production and a perceived threat to the health of their citizens, placed a tariff on the U.S. chicken imports. The U.S. responded in 1963, under President Lyndon B. Johnson, by placing a 25 percent tariff on potato starch, dextrin, brandy and light trucks — yes, light trucks.

It seems odd that a tariff on potato starch and brandy should include light trucks, but it was signed into law at the same time the Volkswagen van was gaining popularity. This odd-looking van threatened U.S. manufacturing. Enter the United Automobile Workers, which saw the VW van as a threat to U.S. automakers and, by extension, bad for its members. The UAW took the threat so seriously that audiotapes from President Johnson's administration reveal the union threatened to strike prior to the 1964 elections. It wanted Johnson to respond to the increased shipments of the VW vans to the U.S. Johnson wanted to avoid a strike during the election and also get the UAW to support his civil rights platform. So a deal was struck, and the chicken tax includes a 25 percent tariff on light trucks (about 10 times greater than the average tariff, according to a 2003 Cato Institute study).

The tariff worked and in 1964, West Germany truck imports declined to one-third of the imported number from 1963. VW van sales and imports rapidly declined to insignificant numbers.

Ongoing Impact

1968 Volkswagen_Single_Cab_Rear_Quarter II photo by Mark Williams

During the past 50 years, the original tariff has been modified and removed on every product except for light trucks. Generally speaking, the thought here is the tariff will continue to protect U.S. domestic automakers from more aggressive Japanese and Germany manufacturers. Many believe the tax has played a large part in the domination of Ford, GM and Ram in the truck market; however, some critics are becoming more vocal. The same Cato Institute study called the tariff "a policy in search of a rationale."

It is a double-edged issue for U.S. automakers. On one hand, the tax keeps foreign pickup trucks out of the highly profitable U.S. market; on the other hand, those same U.S. automakers can't import their own trucks from other markets. However, U.S. automakers have become pretty creative in getting around the tax.

For example, Ford recently had a conflict with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in regard to its Transit Connect. Ford used to build it in Turkey as a passenger vehicle (to avoid being defined as a "truck" and having to pay the 25 percent tariff) with rear windows, seats and seatbelts. Ford then shipped the Transit Connects to a facility in Baltimore where workers removed the rear window, seats and seatbelts and turned them into cargo vans. This strategy worked for years and saved Ford thousands of dollars per imported truck. Then customs stepped in and "requested" Ford stop. Now Ford has a new Transit Connect van, made in Spain, that adheres to the letter of the existing law.

It's worth noting that Ford isn't alone. From 2001 to 2006, Mercedes-Benz and Dodge Sprinter vans were built in Germany and used the same assembly/disassembly process to circumvent the added tax on their full-size cargo vans.

Changing Light-Truck Classification

Through the years, the classification of exactly what is a light truck and what isn't has evolved. This definition has caused the rise and fall of several different types of vehicles. Consider the Subaru Brat and its two detachable rear seats. Those bed seats helped classify it as a passenger vehicle and not a truck under the law. However, customs officials ended up changing that specific classification, and the Brat was effectively killed because of the added surcharge.

Also, the Chevrolet Luv and Ford Courier were built overseas, and a bed was added after they were imported. They weren't trucks without a bed right? Again, customs officials closed that loophole in 1980, which helped kill those vehicles.

Ultimately Japanese manufacturers like Toyota and Nissan built their own plants in the U.S. due to the tariff. While this seems like a win for the tariff, the further insulation of the U.S. automotive industry from direct global competition, thanks to the tariff, is a subject of debate among economists who contend it could and has crippled the industry.

Trade Agreements Impact

Mahindra_truck_580 II

Astute truck fans will point out that many trucks are built in Mexico and Canada. This means they would be subject to the 25 percent tariff right? Wrong. The North American Free Trade Act has a clause that excludes the chicken tax. And now negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership want the same exclusion.

If the chicken tax is dropped as part of the TPP, it could have some interesting ramifications. To begin, the business case for building limited-production vehicles for this market would change. Typically, when deciding whether to offer a vehicle in a given market, automakers talk about demand and then scale. For scale, they typically have to sell hundreds of thousands of units over a life cycle to offset total production costs. If truckmakers could import a vehicle instead of making a large investment in production, they could sell fewer vehicles, charge less money and still turn a respectable profit per vehicle.

Let's consider the possibilities here.

Ford: This one is pretty simple — the global Ford Ranger. While Ford contends it doesn't want the Ranger competing with the F-150 on its U.S. sales lots, a rebirth of the midsize truck market caused by dropping the chicken tax could change the cost/benefit analysis. Ford could import the truck to the U.S., and this would help the company avoid overtaxing its pickup or SUV factories.

GM: There's been a lot of media buzz lately about a Chevy Luv coming back to the U.S. While it's difficult to see that happening with GM's U.S. plants churning out much more profitable full-size SUVs and pickups, importing a smaller vehicle from Brazil or China could make sense. The Brazilian market already has the Chevy Montana — sort of a modern El Camino — and GM's Chinese operations are growing. GM's China chief has speculated current growth plans could include exporting vehicles made there to the U.S.

GM has been talking about taking risks and offering a unique product for more customers. A fourth pickup could fit nicely below the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, offering customers more choices than any other truckmaker, very much like it does with its SUV lineup.

Hyundai: Yes, even Hyundai could get involved in the compact truck market. There were strong rumors last year about a Santa Fe-based pickup, and Hyundai has been talking for more than a decade about building a unibody, front-wheel-drive pickup. Sure, it wouldn't challenge Ford's dominance, yet it could be a profitable offering. Think it doesn't make sense? Consider the success of the Honda Ridgeline.

Jeep: A Jeep pickup has been rumored for years, and Jeep's top executives have said they want a truck. With a perceived rebirth of a midsize market, the business case gets better for offering it. And now that Chrysler has announced it will build three Jeep models in China there could be new synergies to take advantage of.

Mitsubishi: Mitsubishi is struggling in the U.S., and a midsize truck could help dramatically increase its presence. What would it look like? It could be the GR-HEV diesel-electric hybrid Mitsubishi showed at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show. Although it is a bit wild looking, a compact/midsize diesel-electric hybrid would certainly grab mileage-conscious customers' attention and give the company a strong technology footing.

Ram: At the 2013 New York International Auto Show, then Ram Truck chief Fred Diaz spoke about the possibility of bringing the Dakota back to the U.S. market. While that seems like a long shot (and Diaz said as much), what about a Fiat truck? The Fiat Strada could finally be imported into the U.S., filling a niche similar to the Subaru Baja, and could significantly help Chrysler meet the stricter corporate average fuel economy requirements.

Scion: We also spoke with Scion Vice President Doug Murtha at the NYIAS. He said the chicken tax is a big part of why Scion doesn't have a pickup truck. Dropping the tax could make it easier for Scion to, hypothetically, borrow a platform from Toyota and restyle it for quirky-loving Scion customers. Scale would also be a concern, yet with Toyota's many manufacturing facilities around the world, it would simply be a matter of planning and timing before Scion could ship it to the U.S. in 500-unit bundles.


Volkswagen-amarok II


Toyota: For years Toyota fans have been calling for the Hilux to come to U.S. shores. Could dropping the chicken tax bring it to the market? Probably not. However, it doesn't seem so farfetched that Toyota could move the Tacoma production overseas and share a platform with the Hilux. This would alleviate the capacity issue facing the company at its San Antonio plant, and Toyota could dramatically increase the amount and variety of cab/bed configurations for the full-size Tundra — the more profitable truck.

Volkswagen: VW has said publicly for years the main reason it didn't bring an Amarok-like pickup to the U.S. is strictly due to the chicken tax. Currently VW has one production plant in the U.S.; investing in expanding it to include truck production doesn't make sense, especially when you consider how much scale and complexity it would need to add.

While VW contends the Amarok is too small for the U.S., and company executives seem mixed on whether it makes sense to offer it in a larger size, having no tariff could create a completely new business case. Depending on how VW priced it, the company could import a limited number of the trucks and see if customers respond.

The Amarok is currently built in Argentina; however, VW has several plants in China and could export the truck from one of those facilities if needed.

Other manufacturers: Without a chicken tax, many smaller manufacturers — like Honda, Daihatsu, Mahindra and others — could find ways to import distinctive pickups into the U.S. They would simply need an outlet to sell them through and a plant with a good amount of excess production capacity (that might be the biggest challenge). To help with production costs, we could see any one of these manufacturers making partnership deals with Ford, GM, Chrysler and others to offer rebadged products on familiar dealer lots. In the strange world of auto making, stranger things have happened.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations

All of the scenarios we've discussed could be included in the TPP negotiations. The trade pact aims to cut tariffs and set common standards on a slew of trade items between as many as 12 different nations. And depending on how you slice it, these countries cover more than 30 percent of the global economy. Currently, the holdup is centered on differences between Japan and the U.S. Negotiators are working hard to overcome these differences.

"We understand the challenges," U.S. trade representative Michael Froman said about talks with Japan, according to Businessweek. "These changes relate to fundamental reforms and the market opening of sectors in Japan that have traditionally been closed."

In the end, many believe the globalization of the auto industry and the proliferation of platform sharing (see the One Ford Plan and the global Mustang and Ranger) means the chicken tax may not be as important or beneficial as it once was. However, it still has a significant impact on the North American truck segment. With trade negotiators pushing for the TPP to be done by year's end, meaning the tax could potentially go away in the next two years, we could be looking at a dramatically changing truck landscape for the pickup customer. Will we be driving a Ford Ranger in the U.S. sometime soon? Who knows? One thing is for sure though: We need to keep a close eye on the ongoing negotiations.

Manufacturer images; stock photo of Air Force One

 Ford Ranger II



@Big Al

Okay, lets take your BT-50 then to see if it matches up.

A four door 4x4 Mazda BT-50 with a 200hp/350lb-ft 3.2L diesel is rated at 9.2L / 100Km in Australia. That is 25.5mpg in US mpg (not imperial). In imperial mpg that 9.2L / 100Km would be 30mpg. You might be converting to imperial and not US mpg in your little spew of numbers above. There is a big difference. So....what was it that you were saying?

Oh and I forgot to mention that that 25.5 mpg(US) in diesel with your truck is equivalent to a gas vehicle getting 22mpg with current gas/diesel prices of diesel being $.60 cents more per gallon than regular.
Posted by: ALL1 | Apr 23, 2014 11:32:50 PM

Good post, All1.

According to other data, the best a 5 seater 4x4 BT-50 with a 3.2L can get is 7.4L/100Km going by the AU/EU test standards. ( ) That is equivalent to 31mpg(US) on AU/EU "extra-urban" highways test that has an average speed of 63Km/h (39mph) in their short less than 4 minute test run with various ups and downs in the speed. The US uses a much longer highway mpg test of over 12 minutes(10 miles) and has an average speed of 48mph also with various ups and downs on the speed.

Put that BT-50 to the US test and I bet it would receive a lower mpg number here, and this is with slow as a slug with 3.2L diesel. Imagine what a 44 mpg light truck would be. Although that might be okay for your standards, that is unbearable to US standards.

Another thing you neglect to look at in the FE numbers is speed limits of both countries. As you know(or should), speed kills FE fast especially after 65mph(105Km/H). What is your average speed when you get that 8.6L/100Km average? Our speed limits here, both highway and city, are on average much higher than Australia's. The average urban/city speed limit in Australia is 50Km/h (31mph) and the average rural/highway speed is 100Km/h (62 mph) with a few areas being 110Km/h (68mph). In contrast, urban/city areas in the US is on average 55mph (88Km/h) and out rural/highways are mostly between 70-75 mph (112-120Km/h) with the acception of a few States being over or under that.

Lastly, your weight limit standards on your vehicles are vastly different then ours too. I can guarantee that the capacities of that BT-50 would greatly be reduced here in part to our higher average speeds among other things. Things are different here weather you like them or not OR think it is bad or good in your eyes. Now I know the US can't be as perfect as Australia(<---sarcasm) because we all know Australia is without fault even if they do have fuel subsidies and regulation on imports as well.

Posted by: ALL1 | Apr 24, 2014 9:03:26 AM

Great post.

@ALL1 - A lot is lost in translation, never mind gross exaggeration. Bottom line is full-size trucks can get better MPG than mid-size, given the same diesel engine (if that's what you're into), plus the aluminum bodies.

But mid-size trucks have science working against them more than CAFE. The Access cab (extra cab) Tacoma gets near identical MPG as the Super cab F-150. Yes that's a mid-size with a I4 vs V6 in a much bigger truck! WTFs???
And for some unknown reason, CAFE expects much better MPG from the smaller truck when the laws of physics don't exactly work that way...

The 2025 CAFE schedule is actually tougher on regular cab full-size trucks, than it is on the biggest mid-size truck, footprint wise. Not so much difference between mid-size and full-size, when it comes to 2025 CAFE requirements though. And OEMs of mid-size trucks will eventually force crew cabs, as their 'base trucks' as there's not much or zero profit to be made off extra cab midsizers. $25K should be the minimum 2wd midsizer starting price (in today's market). Even that's a little too thin.

But when it comes to the Chicken tax going away, Detroit Big 2.5 have the most to gain and least to lose. Nothing to lose actually. Hell yes they want it gone. ASAP! I mean assuming there would be any new players in the small truck game. Obviously the offshore OEMs, already selling in American (Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, VW, Honda, Hyundai/Kia, Fiat), have the most to lose from small import vehicles, new to the American market.

@ Dave - if one wants to get into a discussion of who is right or wrong..........

" He is right that Obama with no executive experience will negotiate a bad deal."

Obama isn't the negotiator.

A panel of "experts" are doing the negotiating.

You raise some valid points and thanks for the extra information.

Left or right in many cases is irrelevant since there are factions on both sides that are against FTA's.

I do find it interesting that when the debate turns to a topic like Tariffs and FTA's the number of bloggers that engage in the discussion become rather limited. I suspect that most people don't really care and/or do not pay attention to the important issues that directly and indirectly affect their standard of living.

@Denver - please post your evidence backing your statement "But when it comes to the Chicken tax going away, Detroit Big 2.5 have the most to gain and least to lose. Nothing to lose actually. Hell yes they want it gone. ASAP! "

It all depends on the players. Ford wants a reciprocal agreement with the EU covering tariffs and technical barriers to trade but is actively opposed to FTA's with Japan.

The UAW has Press Releases wanting members to lobby against the lifting of the Chicken Tax.

I have not seen any evidence from FCA or GM for or against. FCA would like an EU FTA and since they would like to increase capacity in the EU to build Chrysler products for export into the USA.


Admit it, Lou--were your hands a little shakey during the time that the News/Comments page at PUTC was down?

--Papa Jim

Here's riff on the UAW that I saved for you and our brothers here at PUTC. Enjoy!

The United Auto Workers, surprising even its supporters, on Monday abruptly withdrew its legal challenge to a union organizing vote that it lost at a Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee in February.

Just an hour before the start of a National Labor Relations Board hearing on the challenge, the union dropped its case, casting a cloud over its long and still unsuccessful push to organize foreign-owned auto plants in the U.S. South.

VW workers due to testify at the hearing were already at the courthouse in downtown Chattanooga when they heard the news, which left lawyers in the hearing room wondering how to proceed.

The union did not explain why it waited until the 11th hour to drop the case, but UAW official Gary Casteel said the decision not to go ahead was made last week.

@ALL1 and Dave
I hate to tell you this you can try to troll. Yes, my average at the moment is 8.6, when I drive on the highway at 110 I'm getting better than 8.6.

I don't care what you say. You will not get a gas engine to achieve the same FE figures as a diesel.

Remember, as gasoline engine are improving their FE, diesel is doing the same or better.

You can try and dig up all of the nonsensical data from wherever to put forward.

Also, Dave our speed limits are lower on average? I think you guys had better come over here.

And, you'd better provide accurate and better data than what you are presenting.

Hmmm...........ALL1, I really thought you had more smarts than that. Tier 3?

@Lou_BC - The UAW (labour lobby) is far removed from the sales end, and have a one track mind. Their main objectives have absolute zero to do with Ford, GM and FCA opening up new markets abroad. And easing tensions between major markets, for the sake of everyone involved. All though it should they're # objective. They see import trucks as a threat when obviously they're not. They're brain dead. And the average worker on the line doesn't know any better either. To them, it looks like the money the UAW steals from their paycheck is going somewhere useful.

And Ford, GM and FCA get the short end of the stick. EU tariffs are about 4X what the US imposes. Import cars and trucks are still fairly free to flow into America.

But what's in it for offshore OEMs already selling in America (Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai etc), if and when all tariffs are gone? They already sell in all meaningful markets around the globe. They have absolutely nothing new to gain in markets they're already in. Except they have much to lose when they suddenly have to compete with imports new to America.

All this is common frickin' sense...

When it comes to Japan, there's no dealing with them. That's the biggest small market, unfriendly to imports. US tariffs against Japan should stand. They already build most of their high volume stuff here anyways. And it would cost Japanese OEMs more to build them at home than in America, especially Mexico.

Here's straight off of the Mazda site. 4x4 BT 50 dual cab at 8.9 combined???

I think maybe Mazda can answer.

Have a read at the bottom of the page.

Oh, you still have produced an equivalent performing full size with it's FE figures ;)

Pick a mid performing vehicle, like my Mazda.

The funny thing is this vehicle will perform roughly the same as the Ram VM diesel.

So, keep on trying to discredit.

Remember, I'm not part of the smAllpar clan.

Oh, having a higher average speed during testing might improve FE. It's all according how testing is done.

The best answer for FE is to actually own what you are talking about ;)

@Big Al--Even King Ferdinand and Queen Isablella were interested in the the silk and other riches they could obtain from China regardless of the dangers encountered. The early church believed that the Earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Much easier to fund Columbus trip than to risk the chance of falling off the end of the Earth. The riches today are not the silk and the jade but the cheap labor and the growing middle and upper class consumers which now number over 300 million. Presently there is more incentive to manufacture and sell in China to profit from the insatiable demand for consumer products such as vehicles but once the demand stablizes then the cheaper labor can be used to manufacture vehicles for export. How long that will last is anyone's guess until the next place to manufacture at a much cheaper rate. Nothing ever stays the same. Maybe eventually it will come back, to the USA>

@ALL1 No your figures are pretty off. The 31mph is a restricted speed for back streets. Plenty of areas for doing 70mph. So the
" In contrast, urban/city areas in the US is on average 55mph (88Km/h) " is slightly slower than in Australia.
Where Big Al from OZ comes from it is 130kmh.

When I read that GM & Ford were building plants in China I told my wife our kids and grand kids would be driving Great Wall Ford’s or Shanghai Chevy’s one day but if they drop the chicken tax soon it will be her and I.

These are the slow restricted speed back streets
Anywhere else it is 60-75mph.Most people cruise at 60-70mph depending on the road.
In the Northern Territory

@Robert Ryan - It doesn't matter how magical your engines are Down Undah. If true, we'll take your engines, put them in all aluminum full-size , 10-speed US pickup trucks, and sell them back to you! WITH EVEN BETTER MPG!!!

BAFO will be the 1st to trade in his Mazda BT for one...

You won't because you're still hopping Saab makes a comeback.

I have been around the greater part of the US(Canada/Alaska next year) and their a lot of similarities between urban driving in both.Well some of the "engines" I can think of would be a bit big for a Pickup.

@Robert Ryan - Stop. You're babbling in coherently.

Thanks for agreeing. May the UAW prosper.

@Big Al

WTF? Why handing out troll calling cards? I guess anyone who dares to disagree with you and your bullsh!t is automatically labeled a troll? Get of this pedestal you put yourself on and come back down to earth. You think too highly of yourself and you opinions. Next time you feel like handing out troll cards, don't forget to give yourself one.

Here's straight off of the Mazda site. 4x4 BT 50 dual cab at 8.9 combined???"

Go back and look at the mileages of the link I posted in my last post and also look at the 7.4L/100Km (31 mpg) I used for the BT50.

"I don't care what you say. "

That's funny because I feel the same way about your "diesel is the bestest thing in the world" BS.

"Oh, you still have produced an equivalent performing full size with it's FE figures"

There isn't one that gets that mpg here and you know that. The only thing close in both your little diesels performance and fuel economy is our base V6 engines because all of the bigger engines will outperform that BT50 of yours by a very large margin. Hell, even un-tuned my engine is creating 70lb-ft more torque then that 3.2L does at 2,500rpm. Does it cost more in fuel? Yeah, but I will more then gladly pay it. You may think FE is what makes an engine better which is fine for you, but most American truck buyers put FE further down their list behind things like room and capability. I have posted the recent JD Powers surveys from new vehicle buyers proving this multiple times.

Like I have told you countless times before, not everyone is like you and focuses only on FE of vehicle when it comes to the whole picture of a vehicle. It is a give and take depending on what is more important to the buyer and what mpg they are comfortable with. Sales prove this over and over again, and we will see who is right when more small truck diesels hit the market. Just because a small truck gets 30mpg doesn't mean it fits everyone's room, capability, or performance requirements. What is the point of owning a BT50 if it is slow as slug, is not big enough for what you want, or cannot tow the over 8,000lbs you need it to.

"Remember, as gasoline engine are improving their FE, diesel is doing the same or better."

Actually no. Gasoline engine efficiency is increasing faster than diesel engine efficiency due to emission laws that require even more efficiency robbing after treatment devices to diesels. --


@Robert Ryan

Actually we are both off. Most city streets in Australia are 60-70kmh(40-45mph) according to the maps.

There are also a few states that have a speed limit of 80-85mph(130-138kmh) in the US as well, but they are not as common as the 70-75mph(112-120kmh) speed limit that most highways here are. About 30 miles from me there is even a 85mph(136kmh) highway.

@ALL1 Yes pretty spot on.I find the speed bumps constant roundabouts on speed restricted roads annoying.Driving RV's tend to cruise on 60mph Highways here. They have raised the speed limit in England to 82mph for cars. Strange place, they have a big thing about speed cameras. So not surprised to have a Van passing me towing a Caravan at 75mph+ on a A Road, so no 56mph if they can get away with it.

@papa jim - nope. I was on vacation for most of it. When I came back I saw that I didn't miss much.

@Robert Ryan
When I lived up here last time we had unrestricted speed limits. It looks like it will be back, we already have unrestricted speeds up here and it will be expanding.

The slower 130kph limit will be used in the more heavily trafficked sections of road. From what I'm hearing two 300km stretches leading into Darwin.

You have Jabiru and Katherine both around 300kms from Darwin. Jabiru has 2 000 and Katherine 6 000 inhabitants. They are the closest town to Darwin.

The quickest I've driven my BT50 up here at the moment was 185kph (115mph), overtaking a road train. But I don't think it'll go much faster as it is a slow pickup. I would need a couple more miles to squeeze around 120mph. :)

The last Labour government introduced the blanket 130kph limit and then bought highway patrol vehicles, for ticketing and ensuring speed limits are adhered to. Prior to that the NT Police had mainly diesel Hiluxes and 79 Series Landcruisers.

I enjoyed Popular Mechanics link, except the date it was published.

It seems more of a opinion piece, a piece on the potential of gasoline.

It really did negate the positive attributes of some of the newer diesel tech that is coming out or already is out.

Skyactive is a fantastic piece of work by Mazda.


Also, like I've stated provide me a US half ton pickup with the same FE I'm getting that can tow and carry 9 500lbs?

The only one is the Ram. But it is an 'either/or' pickup.

It can carry people, no load, or tow. Have a driver carry 800lbs or tow 9 200lbs.

This leads me to believe that even as 'slow' as my truck is it will still out tow any F-150 with 5 on board, towing 7 800lbs with a few hundred pounds still able to be carried in the bed.

And go off road.

Show me a US half ton pickup that gets the same FE that can match what my truck is doing?

Oh, I'm only challenging you because if you look closely at what you are doing you are being a d!ck.

The Eco Boost vs the VM diesel Ram, very interesting the outcome ;) Hmmm....'a heavy right foot make the Eco Boost deliver FE in the low teens'. Interesting. Read some of the RV forums on the Eco Boost.

The Eco Boost is good driving an empty pickup, but then will it reach 23mpg?

A lot of these third world countries are recieving pickups that are more technologically advanced than what you have. The recent NA Ranger is behind technologically than the Great Wall pickup from China.

Even your Taco's technology is behind the Hilux.

These new third world pickups have a 5 star safety rating, far more than what is being offered in any NA pickup.

More hp doesn't equate to technology. Even in NA there are alot of people who couldn't afford to run a 400hp vehicle.

The US is in a lot of debt and large contributing factor to your debt is the importation of oil. Use less oil and help the US recover, use diesel.

@Big Al

"Also, like I've stated provide me a US half ton pickup with the same FE I'm getting that can tow and carry 9 500lbs?"

You truck is not rated to tow and carry 9,500lbs. According to Mazda, your truck has a maximum tow ball download/ tongue weight of 350Kg (771lbs). It has a maximum trailer tow rating of 3,500Kg (7,716lbs) with a trailer with brakes and 750Kg (1653 lbs) with a trailer without brakes. Your payload is rated at 1,156Kg (2,548 lbs). The most you can tow is 7,716 lbs IF the tongue weight was at 10% and NOT 9,500lbs like this fictional truck that you want me to name that does not exist here. I told you before there is not one half ton truck that gets 27mpg combined (24 mpg in gas) here in the US so why do you keep asking?

I can give a rats a$$ about that 27mpg you are getting because; a) it a slow a$$ truck, b) the interior is too small for my wants/needs, c) the bed is tiny for my wants/needs, d) you can't put a gooseneck hitch in the bed/frame, e) it's a Mazda, f) is not rated to tow what I need it to, g) does not have enough balls for my taste, and h)did I mention it was a slow a$$ truck?

You see, I am one of those types that don't mind paying for more power so I don't get off to FE like you do. I completely understand that if I want more power then I will have to pay for it which I am okay with. I would gladly pay the extra $794 a year on fuel with the 17mpg average I get versus the 27mpg diesel your truck would get in the US based off your 8.6L/100km average. To me the extra power, towing capability, interior room, bed size, and performance are worth the extra $794 a year I would have to pay. Hell, even if it were an extra $2,000 I would still gladly pay it over that small moped...... I mean truck you got there. Call me rich or say "well not everyone is like you" all you want, it ain't no skin off my nuts. I don't go around to car or truck shows drooling about how much FE a car has. I am not saying wanting better FE in your choice of vehicle is a bad thing. It is just not the kind of thing I get my rocks off to, and I worked to damn hard to get where I am at to not enjoy driving my truck.

Sheesh, 27 seconds to 150kph, no wander you ran out of room trying to get to 185kph.
(I know this is a 3.2L in a Ranger and not a BT50, but it is the only one I could find)

This is an example of what I was used to before mine was tuned (not my video). Pretty much cut the time it would take you almost in half to 14 seconds to get to 150kph.

Unlike you, I don't have issues with not having enough road when needed, and I am glad to pay for not having that issue. Hell, next time I am out, I will roast the tires a bit and burn fuel senselessly just for you.

@Big Al

Are you sure it is not "Small Al from Oz" because you seem to have "little man syndrome" especially when it comes to anything from the US or our trucks. I don't know, it almost seams like a jealousy complex too. Hmmm, we may never know.

Other's on this site have attempted to travel down the path you are heading.

The reality is this, US pickups are great vehicles, but as in this article does allude to they are protected, their permanence isn't very secure.

It's not much different here with our pickups and utes.

They are mainly SUVs and toys, they have be migrating in that direction for many years.

CAFE alone is designed to reduce the number of large vehicles on US roads. Even if CAFE is friendlier to pickups. But, how friendly is CAFE when you need to build a full size out of aluminium and run quite small V6's that are turbo'd. Again increasing cost.

Aluminium and turbo'd gasoline engine starts to make diesel more attractive.

Diesel or gasoline, I really don't care. But my interest has been the general direction that the industry has been heading in. The trending of information and data. Many of you might not like my prognosis, but I try and remain objective.

I'm don't have the emotional attachment you have with Ford and Eco Boosts or Hemi V8 with Rams or any of the other fan boi's.

Gasoline offers advantages as does diesel. Currently diesel is more advantageous to achieve better results than gasoline just due to it's density. Gasoline can't achieve the FE advantage of diesel. Unless by some magical sorcery you are an alchemist.

Gasoline and diesel can both become more efficient.

Diesel regulations in the US are actually trade barriers like this chicken tax.

The US uses a different quality of diesel. It is more abrasive, contains more sulphur and has a lower cetane value.

This doesn't allow for the same engine that the Europeans can run. But, attaining the emissions standards in the Eurozone is becoming harder as well. US diesel doesn't allow for low enough compression of diesel engines to maximise the reduction of NOx. NOx is a big hurdle with diesel.

Gasoline might head down that track with particulates, we'll see.

Don't worry about an FTA between the US and the Japanese as Obama failed and I bet vehicle tariffs (chicken tax) and mainly agricultural protection are to blame.

You only have to worry about the US reaching an FTA with the Korean's. But the Korean's are similar to the Japanese with protectionism.

This is a pity as the Japanese and Korean's are two very significant players in the Pacific region.

The US and Asian's have to be able to play together a little better.

This show that the US's attempts in the East Asia region to increase it influence isn't as great as most would have liked.

Got all excited about the VW pickup until I think about the Touareg TDI's US price.

Need myself a simple, mid-size, diesel-powered pickup for farm work; 6' or better bed, extended cab, good torque and 30+ mpg. No fancy features, no electronic doors and windows. Just some good seats.

Until that happens, I'll just keep buying Detroit beaters and using them up until they die. Might bite on a used Colorado diesel or wait for a Jeep, once we have reliability info on the drive trains. Might be waiting a looooooong time, Chicken Tax or not.

@Living Farmville, Not Playing it - Typically Americans like the idea of a small truck, but it has to be used. "Let someone else take buy it new", and take the original hit. You're a perfect example. And of course, absolutely no need for it to be loaded with, chrome cladding, cowboy fetish theme, leather, sun roof, Nav, sub woofer stereo, etc. Zero need. OEMs "love" this aspect of 'small truck' buyers. That and dealing with the fleet, cheapskates and other rebate demanding bottom feeders. "No Respect" is right...

Small trucks make a great addition to many personal fleets, but usually as a 2nd or 3rd vehicle, for occasional runs to the dump or The Home Depot. Or in your case, 'round the farm'. Usually what ever they can afford in cash. No need for another car payment and full-comprehensive, on top of their other cars.

With this kind of discourse, small truck OEMs are reluctant enter the American market. Or return.

Mazda? Mitsu? Isuzu? VW? Subaru? ...Been here. Done That. Bought the T-shirt... The Chicken tax was here all along and had zero say, zero effect on them taking a swing at the American market. They sold like hotcakes for a while. But it was an artificial market and couldn't sustain. The US set up a 'trade embargo' against Japanese "cars", but said nothing about import "trucks". Trucks were the loophole. So Japanese OEMs opened the floodgates on cut-rate, cheap import trucks. It created a buying frenzy and small trucks were the hottest '80s trend, this side of big hair and parachute Pantz. Similarly, the small truck craze/fad had to die out. The Japanese OEMs eventually had to raise their 'small truck' prices and Americans returned to business as usual. So we shifted to the next trend on wheels. Compact 4X4 SUVs, 2 and 4-door. Explorer, Samurai, Amigo, Trooper, Sidekick, Bronco II, 4Runner, Pathfinder, Blazer, Wrangler, many others.

What have we learned? America is not an ideal place to sell small, expensive to build, BOF small trucks. We don't take them seriously. And we won't pay what OEMs need. If Ford couldn't make a business case, what does that tell you? The Tacoma and Frontier survive on name, and being the last small trucks standing. Long, extended generations help. That and the Taco and Tundra share an assembly line. The Frontier shares an outdated chassis with the Titan/Armada/QX. That's how they can still exist, but it's not a good proposal for OEMs of small trucks. The upcoming Colorado/Canyon will further 'oversaturate' the small truck market.

So you're right. You may be waiting a long, long time. Chicken tax or not.

Ausie Ausie Ausie

oi oi oi

oi oi oi

@Big Al

Like Australia doesn't make special subsidies or special policies to protect it's mining industry? They do things to protect that industry at all. Rrrriiiigggghhhhhtttt.

In all actuality, the US almost $100 billion dollars more in exports to China, Japan, Korea, and India than Australia did in 2013. Automotive and food exports are not the US's major exports, and Capital goods and oil exceeded those export by a large margin.

The way the CAFE is set up, vehicle manufacturers will benefit more from making bigger cars/trucks more fuel efficient that making smaller cars/trucks even more fuel efficient. We also don't how much this new aluminum F150 will cost since they have not released any pricing so saying it will be some outrageous figure is just speculation.

Lastly, you do have an emotional attachment with small trucks, diesels, and FE to the point it is considered fanboy-ish in your devotion to spreading its cause. Everyone here knows it too so thinking you don't is just kidding yourself.

Sorry, it was suppose to be.....

***They doN'T things to protect that industry at all.***

In fact Australia is one of the most expensive countries for mining. The regulations that are holding back mining here is more environmental impact studies. It has nothing against those regulations, except I do think they are too restrictive and overly involved.

As for protectionism of the mining industry, no there is no protection. The same for agriculture. But with agriculture there are some laws restricting certain fruits/vegetables from coming into the country unprocessed. I think this has something to do with introducing noxious pest and weeds.

We export 80% of what we grow, but if you go to the supermarket over 50% of what's on the shelf is imported, from every corner of the globe.

As for vehicles, they will become cheaper again, the figure quoted is $1 500 per vehicle (Japanese). Australia has reached a FTA with the Japanese and Korean's.

What this has done is reduce the US's competitiveness in these markets. Australia is a large beef producer. We will have better concessions in trading with those two countries.

So, if the US exported $100 billion dollars more than Australia what was the total for the US or Australia? $100 billion dollars has little meaning.

Also, the US has 15 times the population as Australia, so divide the US figure by 15 or multiply our figure by 15. This will give you an indication of the value trade as a comparative measure.

Just talking in total trade doesn't give you a good picture.

As I've stated the US is overall quite a fair trading nation, but I do think the chicken tax is an odd anomaly that has cost the US more trade and manufacturing jobs.

Below are a couple of links. It might hopefully be an eye opener for you. In recent history the US has been slipping in leading the globe with freedom of choice and economic freedom.

Economic freedom is the ability to purchase what you want, when you want. But when products are discouraged then you have removed that freedom. The chicken tax has discouraged choice.

Economic freedom goes hand in hand with freedom of choice.

I believe in freedom. But I seem to debate many on this site who disagree with this very value I hold. Many on this site come up with a variety of reasons why the US should reduce freedom of choice by restricting economic freedom.

Look at CAFE. Why does the US require cars to be regulated differently than trucks? What is the logic? The regulations used for class 3 and over trucks are different than cars, fairer.

This you would think makes it easier for the import of trucks. But it doesn't as the chicken tax protects the trucks.

The same goes for diesel regulations in the US.

Protectionism is a form of control. Who benefits? Is it the people of the US?

@ Big Al

"So, if the US exported $100 billion dollars more than Australia what was the total for the US or Australia? $100 billion dollars has little meaning."

The $100 billion more was just to those Asian countries I listed which was in reference to the "The US and Asian's have to be able to play together a little better." comment you stated. The total exports from the US in 2013 was $1.6 trillion dollars and $260 billion for Australia.

As for the rest, I don't think I well ever believe most of these assumptions you to be correct or agree with you on what makes a better vehicle in general. I guess we will have to agree to completely disagree with each other or we will just continue the ongoing circle jerk in every article.

@ALL 1
" I guess we will have to agree to completely disagree with each other what makes a better vehicle in general.or we will just continue the ongoing circle jerk in every article"

Very much the problem for vehicle manufacturers. Who makes the appropriate vehicle for the market? Market tastes vary enormously, so it is a real problem to get a compromise vehicle tat ticks as many boxes as possible.

Funniest example of market differences I have seen was the introduction of Dr Pepper to the Australian market and its very rapid withdrawal. One Internet comment "tasted like cough syrup for Komodo Dragons" So marketing analysis prior is critical.

@Big Al--I don't trust the Chinese either but the the size of the Chinese market and the quest for cheaper production costs have lured American corporations to China. The Chinese need our investment and expertise and our market but that will not always be the case. It will still take some time for the Chinese to catch up but the time is much shorter than it was. As we read in the other article the Chinese even have created their own copy of an F-150, they could have slapped a blue oval on the grill and called it a "Fong". The Chinese have even copied the prior Chevy Colorado, which they could have named the "Changrolet". Eventually the Chinese will develop their own vehicles which will build upon everyone else just as the early Japanese and Korean auto industry did. The Chicken Tax will eventually go but as some others stated we might end up giving more away than we should have.

I do understand your liking of F-150s and Eco Boosts.

The reality is no matter which way you cut it you will not get a gasoline powered vehicle whether a Toyota Yaris or Semi Trailer to obtain the same FE as diesel.

If that is your argument, then that is my answer. But if your argument is all about F-150 Eco Boost then my response it below.

The US doesn't have a pickup that does what our midsizers do. Unless they are powered by a Eco Boost or V8.

The closest pickup is the Ram with the VM diesel.

This is why the Ram diesel (with an upgraded suspension) will sell quite well until some competition is offered.

Some US full size pickups will tow more, have more legroom in the back of a crew cab, etc than a midsize. How many use that capability? In Australia how many use our capability?

For all of us in the US and Australia we could probably get away with a Corolla for 90-95% of what we do with our pickups.

They are a lifestyle object to most. If they weren't they would come like a Mahindra.

Your pickups, like our pickups drive around with only a driver, not towing.

Even when towing how many will tow more than 2.5 tonnes? How many trips are done with only 2 people? How many trips are done with a family and the kids are in the back?

But it seems everyone on PUTC tows 10 000lbs and carts 5 people in the cab. Bull$hit.

Some might, but what fraction of one percent do?

I do like horsepower, but I like effortless torque even better, especially when the torque I'm getting is far cheaper than gasoline by a huge margin.

Diesel has some challenges in the US as does the EU as Euro VI comes on line.

Both the global pickups and full size trucks are built to specific markets.

The US market tends to want more 'station wagon/SUV' performance and our are more commercial. I personally would like to have a pliant suspension as I use mine as a toy like you do.

Is your Eco Boost your first new vehicle?

@Big Al

"The reality is no matter which way you cut it you will not get a gasoline powered vehicle whether a Toyota Yaris or Semi Trailer to obtain the same FE as diesel. If that is your argument, then that is my answer. But if your argument is all about F-150 Eco Boost then my response it below."

I never stated or implied that a gasoline engine gets better fuel economy than a diesel engine. Where you got that from, I have no idea.

All I said was that you can keep your smaller, slow moving, less horsepower, less torque truck that you are wanting to drive for more FE. I am perfectly fine sacrificing FE for a bigger, quicker moving, more horsepower, more torque, and more capable truck. What is important to you is not important to me so saying a certain truck is better simply because it gets more miles per gallon is a moot point.

You don't quite understand how people make buying decision now do you? You see, it is not just about one set of criteria for most buyers like it is for you on which has better FE only criteria. Like Lou BC and I said before, it is about the big picture of what a vehicle is and can do. It is a give and take depending on what is more important to them, and this idea that you stated before that people should get a less optioned truck just to be able to afford the premium of a diesel is just crazy talk that only a FE diesel fanboy would say. Some might be willing to sacrifice FE for a bigger more roomier vehicle while others may not. Some may not just look at an FE of a diesel, but also the cost per mile of a diesel a well to figure out there is no benefit from it on a cost perspective.

So what if not everyone tows 10,000lbs. That will not keep them from buying a truck capable of it. Again, you do not get to decide what is best for people so quit telling people what they need or should buy. You see, how it works in the real world is that if the market does not want it then they don't buy it. So what it the point of a 30 mpg small truck if people don't want a small truck and a bigger truck is not that much of a sacrifice in fuel costs. It all depends if the added fuel costs is worth it to them, and the way fuel prices are in most places around here between gasoline and diesel, it is not as much savings as one would think when you put pen to paper. The annual fuel cost savings of me going from my truck to your smaller truck is not worth it to me to have to sacrifice other things I want so I gladly pay the added costs since it is worth it to me.

Case in point is the fact that it would cost you $50 more annually for the Ram Ecodiesel's 23 mpg combined average for a 2wd versus the Ram 3.6L 20 mpg combined. When comparing the Ecodiesel's 28mpg highway mileage to the 3.6L's 25mpg, it will cost you almost $100 more a year for the Ecodiesel in fuel cost. The 3.6L would have more payload while the Ecodiesel would have more towing. But hey, most don't tow or haul anything like you said so that is a moot point right? These number are based off of 15,000 mile a year, gas at $3.50 and diesel at $.60 higher like it is now around me. If diesel was only $.30 cents higher then that would only be a savings of about $65 a year based on those highway numbers and $150 based on the combined numbers.

If you don't believe me then you can look for yourself----

Like I said before, lets just agree to disagree.

Your comment;
"All I said was that you can keep your smaller, slow moving, less horsepower, less torque truck that you are wanting to drive for more FE. I am perfectly fine sacrificing FE for a bigger, quicker moving, more horsepower, more torque, and more capable truck. What is important to you is not important to me so saying a certain truck is better simply because it gets more miles per gallon is a moot point."

Slow? Here is a 2.2 Ranger review. The 2.2 diesel is good for 109mph. I couldn't find one for the 3.2 Ranger or BT50. But I think my calculation of 114-118mph is good. So, what is the top speed of your Eco Boost? Hmmmm......Top Speed: 98 mph (electronically limited) and that is for the Tremor, a so called performance vehicle.

My debate with you started when some of the comments you passed onto zvirus and HemiV3 were not likely or probable.

I did agree with your and Lou's comments regarding the low payload of the Ram 1500. But, this vehicle fits in with UAW DiMs comments that American full size half ton pickups are SUVs with a balcony.

But I disagree with you that the Eco Boost is a superior engine for work in comparison to the VM diesel.

I have read that many people are reporting an average FE of mid teens and even into low teens for a Eco Boost powered F-150. On RV sites people are also complaining that when towing a significant load of around 7-8 000lbs the Eco Boost can drop down to 9mpg.

A VM powered Ram will never get to those high levels of fuel use towing those kinds of weights. It will be at a minimum 12-14mpg. How do I know, because we have the same engine here doing the same kind of work, with the same 8spd.

My argument will be that a VM diesel will always be a better work engine than any gas engine.

The Eco Boost was designed for use with the average F-150 that runs around empty and not working, like most pickups.

The Eco Boost will use more fuel than a VM just trying to maintain itself with the traffic. Diesels are far more forgiving and deliver more torque to the wheels using less fuel.

That's why they are the commercial vehicle owners engine of choice.

@Big Al

Notice I said my truck is"quicker". There is a difference between quick and fast. Research that difference.

Yes, due to US laws and tire ratings, the Ecoboost is limited at 100 mph just as any US truck. However, my tuned truck has the governor removed and I have easily buried the needle past the 120mph just to see what the truck will do just like the one here ---

As I said before, we will have to agree to disagree on this because you only base what engine is best based on FE alone while I have other things I look for in a truck engine along with the big picture. You are correct that YOU think the VM is a better engine for work and you have every right to have that opinion just as I (as well as others) have every right to have my own opinion on the matter. So what if I burn more fuel for the more power I make over the VM or your little diesel, and your point is.......

If you haven't got the hint that I take this FE you care so much about and wipe my balls with it by now then you never will. I didn't buy my truck or engine strictly for FE, I bought it for its combination of low end torque and high horsepower. I am fine with paying the amount I do in fuel for the amount of power I have, and do not want to downgrade my power and capabilities just to save less than $900 a year. My time of waiting for those slow a$$ small diesel truck engines to finally get up to speed is worth more than $900 dollars.

My truck is quicker? Read your comment and you tell me if that is from a mature person like you state you are.

So, the reason behind your Eco Boost isn't as much for FE or work as performance.

If you talk this way you are not getting 23mpg. Like you stated.

Because you would have stated geez, I bought the wrong engine and the wrong truck. Because I hardly use it's potential.

ALL1, please.

Your wording;

- slow moving

- quicker moving

- more capable truck (in all honesty that's a very big call)

Like I asked you previously. Is this Eco Boost your first new vehicle?

I know you like it like most kids who buy their first new car, it's the best.

Just take it easy driving. Remember it's a pickup not a car.

@Big Al

Where did I say I was getting 23 mpg in my truck? Huh......

Whether this is my first new vehicle or not is really none of your business, but no this isn't my first new vehicle.

"Just take it easy driving. Remember it's a pickup not a car." saying the guy that admitted he went 115mph and would have gone faster if his engine could muster up more speed quicker. I can drive my truck as I see fit. Last I checked you didn't pay for it or pay my fuel bill.

Again and for the fourth time, we will just have to agree to disagree on what makes an engine better than another. Just be happy with your less 220 less horsepower and 180lb-ft less torque that gets you better the FE that you are wanting and I will be happy paying more at the pump for the power I want. Why can't you just let that be?

The end of the chicken tax is long overdue. Like many others, I don't want or need the gargantuan full size pickups, and the tired Frontier/Tacoma with their poor MPG and high sticker are just not worth the sticker.

Bring on the Ranger, the Amorak and anyone else that wants to sell a truck here - just like cars. The market will ultimately decide winners and losers. I think its hideous inside and out, but the Colorado diesel is looking pretty good right now, since its the only small truck that wasn't designed in the early 2000's.

Time to get rid of the chicken tax!

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