Critics Warn Midsize Pickup Growth Not Sustainable

V-6 Group Fuel 2 II

Clearly the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have injected some adrenaline into the midsize pickup truck segment and, so far, have provided all the segment players with growing sales, but for how long and at what cost?

According to Automotive News, as many as 16 percent Colorado or Canyon buyers switched from their full-size counterparts (the Silverado or Sierra 1500). Some experts think this potentially means that Colorado and Canyon sales eventually could take a big bite out of GM's half-ton pickup profits as well as flatten sales.

Some analysts believe the next few years will be good for midsize pickups due in large part the two new players and a revitalized Toyota Tacoma coming out by the end of this year, but over the next five years things could be different. Even if the midsize truck segment grows, some are saying it won't get bigger than 500,000 units, meaning less than 3 percent of the entire automotive industry — not even close to the segment's heyday in the late 1980s at around 9 percent.

The biggest unknown question with the new downsized GM twins is how badly they'll steal sales from their profitable full-size big brothers; however, for now Chevy and GMC sales of midsize and full-size pickups are growing steadily. Toyota benefits from this revitalization because the midsize Tacoma and full-size Tundra are built in the same San Antonio plant, so production can be shifted one way or the other quickly and efficiently. The Colorado and Canyon are built in a dedicated plant running three shifts.

Meanwhile companies like Hyundai and Ram are playing with the idea of stepping into the smaller pickup category, and Honda will be coming to market with an all-new Ridgeline next year. photos by Evan Sears




@Big Al from Oz
That's not same argument. It's completely out of proportion. The camry won't last , pull and carry twice as much as M3 like RAM 2500 HEMI 6.4 does compare to V6 Colorado. Same money.

Take 10 grand off the top trim package, shave money off of the rest of the trim packages while you are at it... you'll see a large rise in sales. Mid-sized trucks are WAY too expensive for what you get.

GM makes garbage. Everybody knows that. The only reason the Colorado is selling is because it's the "new thing".

Posted by: WXman |

Yeah right- that's why GM sold a total of 752,661 trucks in 2014 vs Nissan's 86,850. Get a clue...

@papa jim
A rise in fuel prices, would be grim for everyone,not just the U.S. The faltering Global economy, would not take a major jolt to Fuel prices. Let us hope the number of combatants in the ME stays the same and Chinese do no hit a " bubble"

This is definitely one of those times where the analysts need to get out into the public.

I'm one of those midsize owners-currently own a Dakota, and I love it. The full size trucks are compelling, but I am not interested in something that large.

I'd gladly buy another midsized. As much as I love Ram, I cannot see myself buying a full sized of theirs in the future. At this rate, I'll probably grab a Colorado when my Dakota becomes a project truck. I've got plans to cut down a 2500 and jam it under the sheet metal of the Dak.

Eagerly counting down the years until I've saved enough for that.

I do see a further rise in the sales of midsize trucks, but I do not see them surpassing the full size half ton. The full size half ton will retain the largest proportion of light truck sales for the near future. GM did take the right approach to start with by not having a dedicated plant just for Colorado/Canyons. GM needs to see where the volume will be before they expand production or decide to have a dedicated plant. The midsize trucks are viable if they share global platforms. A truck like the Colorado for the most part is a global truck except maybe a different frame and a few cosmetic changes. The Tacoma and the Frontier even share platforms with their global models. I do not see the feasibility of developing a midsize truck from the ground up like the new F-150 but that doesn't mean there is no market for mid size trucks, just a lower budget to develop them because of lower volume. Most automobiles are global or at the least share a global platform so why not the midsize trucks as well.

@Steely123.....No, that just means there are 752,661 dumb@$$es.

I could list all the reasons GM trucks are absolute garbage, but it would take hours.

Just an opinion that GM trucks are junk. My 16 year old S-10 proves otherwise. If GM trucks were so bad why do you see so many old ones still on the road.

Ford management is feeling vindicated by the latest sales figures. Half ton trucks by any car maker are outselling the midsize models, even the newest entries in the field.

@papa jim--So what's your point? Just because a full size half ton pickup sells at a larger volume than a midsize pickup does not mean that there is no market for a midsize pickup. There is room in the truck market for midsize and full size just as there is room in the automobile market for full size, midsize, compact, and subcompact. If Ford doesn't provide a midsize truck that is their business but Toyota, Nissan, and GM do so that is where my business will go. I thought you drove a Silverado? I didn't realize you were a Ford fan boy?

Also a lot of F-150 sales are still coming from the 2014 models which are still available at a good discount. The verdict is still out on the 2015 F-150 since it has not reached full production. You could always trade you Silverado for a 2015 F-150.

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