Pickup Price Separation Should Work to GM’s Advantage

2015 GMC Canyon rear II

Some GM dealers are saying they like the company's new three-truck strategy (heavy duty, half-ton and midsize) because the price separation between midlevel and full-size trim packages is much better than it was 10 years ago. Ford's decision to pull out of the midsize/compact pickup truck segment was predicated on the fact that the price overlap between a midlevel midsize and a stripped full-size was close, if not identical. But some are saying that's all changed now.

According to Automotive News, there is data to support the idea that the net transaction prices for full-size pickups have climbed to a point that could make the introduction of a less expensive and smaller pickup much more attractive than it was more than a decade ago.

Some analysts are predicting between 70,000 and 90,000 combined unit sales for the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, but no one seems to understand exactly where these sales will come from. GM seems adamant that these new pickups will not cut into existing half-ton sales because they'll attract buyers from the crossover and sedan segments. Still, issues like fuel economy, garagability and carrying capacity could be the key issues that determine the new trucks' success. There seems to be plenty of room beneath the full-size half-tons for midsize pickups, but we likely won't find out about fuel economy for the GM twins' base 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder or optional 3.6-liter V-6 until the end of the month.

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2015-GMC-Canyon-Crew-Cab-SLE II



Aren't they going to be disappointed when 1/2 ton truck sales plummet by 70 to 90,000 units...

I think those sales are going to come right off the Silverado and GMC 1500 sales.

I doubt there is a whole new batch of buyers who have been waiting for another midsize pick up.

I do think the GMC looks good while the Chevy looks terrible. They had to maintain the status quo I suppose

Its not all about the price, I will pay more for a midsize then a full size. Bring on the Denali GMC Canyon.

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Half ton pickup MSRP has become ridiculous. For those dumb enough to bite, 7 year loans are more often the answer. Of course that isn't sustainable 4 or 5 years down the road when owners want to buy the latest and they are underwater on the loan.

The truth is manufacturers need heavy discounts to move product. The same will be true with mid sized pickups.

It depends on the incentives. If the incentives are low for the Colorado then its priced way too close to the half tons to steal many sales from half ton buyers. It will still take a big chunk of sales from the Frontier and Tacoma, but winning over the half ton buyer won't work without decent price separation and fuel economy separation.

After owning a full size truck for the last 9 yrs, I've decided that it will be my last. I love having a truck, but need something a little smaller. The new Canyon is definitely on my shopping list, especially since it will fit in my garage.


Stock up on KY Jelly, you're going to need it.

To those who think that GM is going to take sales from the Full Size trucks, think again. There are a lot of existing small / mid size truck users that have not bought a new truck in years and are ripe for a change. However, with only Nissan and Toyota to choose from and their products get lousy MPG at best, GM will tap into this unseen market with their more efficient vehicle. Also, I for one can't justify forking out $38k+ on a full size truck . So, I'm targeting the Colorado, WT 4x4 Crew Cab with the Diesel.

I tend to agree with GM on this one. I really doubt many Silverado/Sierre buyers will be convinced to go with a mid sized truck. On the flip side I do see Colorado/Canyon buyers going to a 1/2 ton which could be good for Silverado/Sierra. Perconally, I'd trade my wife's Equinox for a crew cab Canyon with a diesel in a heart beat. Depending on the fuel economy and weight, I could be convinced to trade it for a Canyon 2.5. I would not replace my Silverado with one.

No matter what happenes, GM will have mid sized truck customers coming into thier stores that Ram and Ford will not see because they don't offer one.

That picture above with the ram next to the canyon shows that the canyon is still a truck. It's not exactly going to be easy to park and maneuver and won't have a real smooth ride. I don't think there will be a lot of first-time pickup buyers going for the canyon/colorado. The question is will they come from tacoma/frontier or sierra/silverado? And 60,000 to 70,000 isn't a lot. The tacoma sold 159,000 last year.

I agree with mileage man. I know if I buy at the right time I can get 8000 to 12000 off msrp on a full-size truck. I doubt you'll ever see those kind of incentives on these mid-size trucks, which makes the real price gap even smaller. There may be a few people like Rick who would pay more for a mid-size, but most people would rather have a bigger, stronger, more capable, more roomy truck. A lot depends on MPG too. I read that an extended cab f-150 will probably weigh about the same as (maybe even less than) the new colorado/canyon crew cab. IF that's true it's gonna be real hard to significantly beat full-size MPG, and makes sense that the colorado would cost almost as much to produce as a full-size. I believe the canyon/colorado are going to cut into silverado/sierra sales. It will be interesting to see. I do hope they sell more than 70,000.

Your last line just contradicted the whole premise of your second paragraph.

Midsize trucks haven't seen anything new since 2005, and the Ranger disappeared for good in 2011. So I can see many current small truck drivers buying a GM midsize, and some would be car and SUV drivers cross shopping.
There is gonna be a lot of people still cross shopping base Full size and Midsize trucks like myself (15' F150 XL vs 15' Canyon prob higher trim). If the F150 gets the same MPG as the GM gas models it will make my decision harder.

To clarify. I don't think the colorado/canyon will ever sell well because it is too close to a full-size, so most people will opt for the bigger, better truck. However, because it is similar to a full-size, the relatively few sales (60,000 is about what the frontier sells) seem more likely to come from previous silverado owners than any other place. I don't think it will sell well, but I do think the buyers are mostly going to be trading in silverados for them. If that is true than it was kind of a dumb decision for chevy to make these trucks. If i'm right, it's only going to reduce their profits.

I'm waiting on the diesel,so it will be another year for me.Being totally disabled,a full size 1/2 ton is just too damn hard for me to use.Whereas the midsize should prove to be more accessible for me.


I don't know why you would assume that but okay.

IMO as long as the Canyon/Colorado are good quality trucks ,compared to thier competition, there is no reason they couldn't pull customers from Nissan and Toyota. I also wouldn't under estimate interest from crossover customers as mentioned in the article.

It is a gamble, and they MUST have the quality and feul economy.

I predict that 75% sales come from the competition and also Ford and Ram half ton owners. They will be winners and Ford and Ram will be scrabbling to catch up once again. Hey Ford and Ram boys, GM just announced they are offering magnetic ride control suspension in the Denali pickup. Another first for GM!

In 2011 I ordered a new Ram 4x4 Quad Cab. MSRP was $37,895 and I paid $28,477. That's 24.8% off of sticker price. It will be hard to keep the actual purchased price seperated enough to justify the price difference on the Colorado. I did get the Chrysler discount tho on top of the rebates.

I think these are going to sell like hot cakes. People have been waiting for a new smaller truck that has all the gagets and decent full economy. Small trucks sales fell because they weren't updated and because Full size trucks were a better deal. Now that full size trucks cost 40-60 grand they are pricing a lot of people out of the market and GM will pick those people back up in a cheaper slightly smaller truck.

Final sale price is key.

I predict 25% of all GMChevy midsized truck sales will be lost fullsize sales, but not all from GM/Chevy.

I predict 50% of the first year sales will be all us old farts that are holding onto their compact trucks.

The final 25% will be a combination of: cause it's kewl, I just wanted a truck (and this one is american and inexpensive), CUV, SUV converts.

If it proves reliable and is reviewed well I expect that third category to grow/shrink accordingly.

The middle group will disappear by year 2.

Fullsize truck converts will increase if full size trucks get more expensive or if fuel prices climb and the colorado actually has a significantly better MPG rating.

I'm sure some full size GM truck buyers will buy a GM midsize instead, but so will some Ford and Ram full size buyers that are not crazy fan boys. Factor in crossovers and full size sedans buyers that pay just as much as for their crossovers and full size, but are less flexable then the new GM midsize truck (meaning can haul as much or go off road as good as a midsize truck). Then last but not least all the current people driving midsize trucks that have been waiting for 10 years for something new to come to market that would make it worth it to them to finally buy a new midsize truck. Them are my opinions on this, just half to wait a year or two and see how it all unfolds.

As a former Ranger owner, I hope these trucks sell well, and are built well. I've never owned a GM product, but I'd consider a Colorado in a few years, once all the issues get worked out.

I've never understood the appeal of monster pickups, when a small(er) truck fits the bill for 90% of the people. But again, it comes down to price and MPG.

Now, hopefully Nissan/Toyota/Honda will get moving on updating their mid-sizers. I'm sure Ford and Ram will sit it out, until the numbers are more attractive.

(meaning can't haul as much or go off road as good as a midsize truck). *


Damn typos lol

So called 'GM'/GMc dealers are unfortunately the same, yet not the same soul carriers as Chevrolet dealers. This is and has been for the last several decades the problem with so called GM. It's not a specific nor real entity. It's a bunch of General nonsense. If this was Chevrolet Motors, this infighting with dealers and even this article itself wouldn't exist. Someone within Chevrolet should have gone out and elevated themselves above and beyond GM/GMC. Demanded Denali trims and the rest to combat Ford, Dodge & Toyota. Of course as we all know, it hasn't happened and will never happen within the GMc/Buick empire. Pathetic. Ford will always own Chevrolet unless it's on a racetrack. That's the extent of Chevrolet's dominance thanks to GM/GMc.

GM this, GM that..... Blah. What about the so called Chevrolet Motor Company since 1911??? Faux brands are such garbage. The day 'brands' are exiled will be the day minds are set free.

I think their delay of the diesel will hurt their first year sales. If I was in the market there is no way I would buy a first year unproven truck especially if within the next two years they would be introducing a "possibly" game changing engine. People have waited years for a small diesel in a small truck so what is another couple years wait going to hurt?

This was written about this issue back when they first announced the Canyorado twins.

* In order to have breathing room for these trucks, they cannot discount the full-sizers too heavily. If they do, they encroach on the mid-sizers price point.

* But if they don't discount the full-sizers, then they lose sales to RAM & Ford.

* So they discount the full-sizers. They now lose mid-size sales.

* Now the mid-sizers aren't selling. So they need to discount them.

See a vicious circle going on here? I can't see how this can succeed and have both the mid-size and full-size products be successful.

This is why I'm skeptical of the ability of these compact trucks to succeed. There is no way GM will allow them to cannibalize sales of the Silverado to the point where it is passed by the Ram in sales. But the market for compact pick-ups, in general, simply isn't that big, and not big enough for GM to garner the sales it needs to justify this investment.

You have to wonder if GM is still compensating managers on volume rather than profit margins and on individual vehicles/brands rather than overall company performance.

Just looking at the product decisions they make, I'd say the answer is yes

Cost is key. Households making $200,000+ will continue to buy Denali's and King Ranch editions of full size trucks. Regular people will either continue to use 72 month and longer loans to buy cars and trucks they really can't afford or pay cash for used vehicles that they can easily afford. Just like subprime lending in the housing market, the same folks buy vehicles they can't afford. Maybe these base model midsize trucks will attract new buyers. We'll see.

Depends, I don't make anywhere close to 200K but I was able to save up and pay cash for my Ram 1500 sport. I don't believe in barrowing money.

Not everyone who buys a smaller truck buys one because they cannot afford a large truck. I can afford a large truck but I don't want one at any price.

"So called 'GM'/GMc dealers are unfortunately the same, yet not the same soul carriers as Chevrolet dealers. This is and has been for the last several decades the problem with so called GM. It's not a specific nor real entity. It's a bunch of General nonsense. If this was Chevrolet Motors, this infighting with dealers and even this article itself wouldn't exist. Someone within Chevrolet should have gone out and elevated themselves above and beyond GM/GMC. Demanded Denali trims and the rest to combat Ford, Dodge & Toyota. Of course as we all know, it hasn't happened and will never happen within the GMc/Buick empire. Pathetic. Ford will always own Chevrolet unless it's on a racetrack. That's the extent of Chevrolet's dominance thanks to GM/GMc.

GM this, GM that..... Blah. What about the so called Chevrolet Motor Company since 1911??? Faux brands are such garbage. The day 'brands' are exiled will be the day minds are set free."

----- AMEN. Long live Chevrolet and even Louis's desire for his quality Chevrolet's. Piss on GM. The company that ruined Chevrolet. Oh what could have been without GM and their other crap brands and/or companies.

GMC = GovtMoCo. Denali doesn't matter in the end.

This is my first comment in this article. Numpty is at it again.

Here is a comment (below) I placed into TTAC a few days ago. I do believe if this data is correct there is a position for a smaller and cheaper pickup in the US market.

Unlike the author I do believe there will sales taken away from full size trucks. How many, I don't know, but not an insignificant amount.

I do believe V6 and smaller full size pickup sales will be the most likely to be canabalised. V8 pickups will remain the boys toys.

Sales will also come from large SUVs and CUVs as well, not small and not many medium CUVs.

These trucks aren't small, they are in fact larger than most cars, so to take sales away from a greater range of SUVs and CUVs a mini truck will be needed.

"Here some data to digest. (TTAC comment)

1. The average monthly inventory for full size pickups between 2000-2008 was approximately 572 000. Between 2009-2013 it was 410 000.

2. In 2006 the net transaction price differential between a full size and a midsize was 28%. In 2014 it is 42%. This indicates there is room for a midsize to sit below a full size in pricing.

3. The average transaction price for a full size pickup in 2002 was $25 000 and in 2014 it is $38 000. This again re-inforces point two for room for a midsize segment in the US.

Looking at the above data it appears there has been a decline in the full size pickup segement, not an insignificant one either.

Also, the transaction cost for a full size has increased by 50% in 12 years with the widening of 50% in the average transaction cost between a midsize and full size.

This indicates that maybe the US pickup manufacturers are milking the consumer.

Maybe it’s about time the US government removed the chicken tax as it appears it isn’t required."

The link to support my comment;


GM is smugly assuming that the Colorado/Canyon will not hurt Sierra/Silverado sales.
Wrong - there will be some cross-shopping.

GM is assuming that CUV/SUV sales will be the source of clientèle.
They are correct to a degree but GM is the maker of the largest assortment of CUV's and SUV's.
In other words, they will dilute their own SUV/CUV sales the most.
It is highly unlikely that Ford Escape owners are going to cross the floor and buy these trucks.
The soul of "old GM" is alive and well in the recall zombie of "new GM".

Full sized truck prices have climbed and the technology put into them to meet CAFE has driven a lot of that cost.

A few have pointed out the fact that there may be a price separation but deep discounts on large pickups are as common as trolls on PUTC.

I purchased my F150 for less than a Tacoma TRD Doublecab 4x4 with discounts.

I do hope GM does well with these trucks since I'd like to see a resurgence in this segment as well as some competition to wake up the sleeping giant that is Toyota.

Full size truck makers are milking the customer. With Ford Making up to $25,000 profit a piece on loaded pickups you bet they are but people are willing to pay it so why not?

Big Al from Oz Go back to hiding or whatever site you've been trolling on, as I've said a million times now. I only post with johnny doe. I don't need to hide under different names because I don't care if people agree or don't agree with my opinions.

GM is throwing in all their marbles on this mini pickup.
GM has been down too long with the recalls and problems that they have to put out a winner just to keep their head above the water and I strongly believe this is it.
GM made past winners like the 1994 Beretta, the 2005 Chevy Astro, and I am betting this is the next winner.

IF GM can avoid screwing up the launch. And IF their are no hidden gremlins ("Look, the tailgate collapses with 100 lbs on it...") Then I think they have a winner.

Today's half ton is too large, too thirsty, and too heavy for what 90% of its owners need. Compare the size of a 1990 F150 with a 2014 F150-big difference. Most private owners don't use the 2014 capability..and people who do max out the capability frequently step up to an F250.

I really want to see the MPG ratings. If the 4 cyl. 4x4 achieves 25 MPG highway and 20 city, they will sell like hotcakes.

jim your not alone ! and now niether am i!

@Mike G--I hope GM doesn't screw this up as well. People want a good midsize truck and GM needs to get this right. GM needs a win or it is back to the taxpayers for more money. GM, if you are listening just get this right.

@MikeG, brandon d, JeffS - I do agree that GM cannot afford to mess this up. They are already reeling from the detritus from recall tsunami and the poor launch of the full sized 1500's.

The Corvette was the only bright spot they had this year but that is only a low volume car.

There is a rumour of a Raptor fighter Colorado. That could be a halo truck - make a small truck that has Power Wagon like crawl ability but Raptor like suspension prowess.

Lou BC--The Corvette is a low volume car, but GM needs any win at this point. GM's focus should be on a quality product and good customer service. If GM can get those things right then they will be successful. GM also needs to rid themselves of their old culture and do some house cleaning.

Not happy with the price on the Colorado. For the same money, I can get an SLT Ram 1500 crew cab. I was hoping for a crew cab 2X4 Colorado with the long bed and the upcoming diesel, but like everything else, you will have to get a second job to make the car payments. Once we get above 35K, car payments start getting to be greater than $425 per month for 72 months. I think they are trying to push us in to leasing so they can leech more money out of the truck when the lease ends and they sell it used. Hopefully pickup truck prices are a soon to pop bubble. I need a truck, but I'm not spending 40 and 50k for one just to have it get dented and scratched and beat to hell over the years. Based on the sales numbers report, there appears to be lots of folks willing to throw money out even at these unreasonably high prices.

@Jeff S

Appreciate your concern for General Motors--just don't blow taps yet.

GM had revenues over 150 Billion last year, with Sierra and Silverado accounting for about 20 billion of that. That's a BIG stack of greenbacks.

The midsize twins should be a solid niche play for GM, but unless the landscape really changes, the half ton truck will still be the bread and butter for the Big 2 + Fiat, in North America anyway.

@Johnny Doe
What comment did I make??

I don't seem to be able to find one.

If I were you I wouldn't respond to any comment that you aren't sure of.

It might not be mine ;) Hmmm......

My view is you wouldn't have made the comment to me if you weren't the one ;)

I think compact trucks will make a comeback, but it will be to some extent from full size 1/2 ton sales. GM seems to be building a full truck line, but what about larger commercial trucks? Weren't they supposed to be getting back into medium duty at some point?

I'm not really sure how to feel about the whole mid vs full size situation because I am one of those people who live in an area where trucks are heavily used and abused in agricultural environments. And even the farmer's wives drive a dually daily! I see them every day at garden centers loading their dually bed with small flower pots and drive off in dually crew cab all alone, single passenger, day in, day out.

It would seem that ~95% of truck owners don't actually make much use of the bed or hitch, if it even has a hitch, that is.

On the one hand I recognize that most consumers do not actually need a full size truck but on the other I also feel that these same people should not waste their money on any truck. No mid sizers or mini trucks are necessary in reality when there are so many big pickup owners ready willing and able to haul or tow a load to any location for a fair price.

I do recognize the many use case scenarios where a smaller truck would be desirable for extreme light-duty workloads such as landscaping, pool cleaning, pesticide/extermination, grocery and prepared food delivery etc etc so if this describes your workload then please don't take offense because none is/was intended.

All the reasons this market was abandoned by everyone BUT Toy and Nis still exist. These trucks will continue to appeal to people with money to burn, Single young men and women and Older people. These groups couldnt carry the market for these trucks when Ford Dodge and GM left and I doubt they can carry it now. Its sales will come from people enamored with its advantages in comfort and power over current offerings from Toy and Nis and people that find its size (fitting in a garage, doing lots of u turns) an advantage over all the advantages a full size light duty presents. They simply dont present enough of an advantage in price and MPG over full size light duty half tons to justify big sales. The question really is how many will sell and where will the sales come from. I dont seem small/midsized crossovers threatened because of their advantages in mileage and appeal to women. Will people that drive/want Tacos trade its tride and true quality for the modern conveniences and slight advantages of the GM CC twins? Some will. Most wont. The diesel the diesel the diesel. Big money up front, to burn more expensive fuel, in a truck that cant work anyway and still wont get the MPG of a nice commutter car. Just as in the car market you need to run the stuff out of it to justify the expense. For the cruz and passat you need to drive well over 300K before the expense of diesel is justified. For a diesel HD truck you need to Tow, Push, Pull, Haul, WORK damn near every day to justify it now. Until diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline it doesnt make sense in a vehicle that isnt WORKING like a mule in the 1880s gold rush.

Older men love the mini pickups cause they are easy to drive than a full size pickup.
What bugs me is a long 230" pickup with bad steering radius where it's tough backing out of the supermarket parking spot.
Also the McNoodles and the bank drive-thru's can be really tight with a full size pickup.
(my local McNoodles is putting in outside vending machines so they don't have to pay their workers $15/hr)

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