Our Pickup Truck Wish List for 2017

Crystal Ball Predict II


While we've never been very good at predicting the future, we do know what we'd like to see happen in the pickup truck arena. Here's our wish list for 2017.

  • Ford should jump back into the mid-size pickup market with a U.S. version of the Ranger. The global Ranger has several amazing trim packages and diesel options that could easily make it a 100,000-unit seller in its first full year in the U.S.
  • Chevrolet ought to let the Colorado ZR2 team start playing with a full-size Silverado. After proving their mad skills with the mid-size, let's see some more of that creativity in a full-size pickup.
  • Jeep needs to make the biggest bang possible when introducing its new pickup. What about using it to tow a trailer over the Rubicon Trail in California's Sierra Nevadas or on the rocky trails outside Moab, Utah?
  • Ram has a golden opportunity in the mid-size and compact pickup segments with its Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Work Vehicles commercial connection. How about starting a whole new segment?
  • Toyota has been playing it safe for far too long. Why can't we get an updated Tundra TRD Pro with the Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select traction systems, and a dedicated maximum towing package for the full-size truck with heavier-duty rear springs?
  • Nissan is back in the game with its new half-ton Titan, but it needs to start shifting its "let us play too" attitude and start pushing some envelopes either in technology or payload engineering.
  • Honda has done a stellar job of creating the perfect pickup for its customers, but with a platform like the Ridgeline surely Honda can create something a little more substantial and work oriented.
  • Hyundai has been threatening to jump into the personal-use pickup market but it will need to do something special with the powertrain if it doesn't want to get lost in a growing mid-size market.

What do you think we'll be calling a highlight from 2017 at the end of the year? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image sourced from Shutterstock.com




Don't look for lots of new ideas from Detroit. With almost 100 million American adults "out of the workforce" the market for new ideas in the big SUV & pickups space is not bound for big growth.

Since Detroit already gets the most volume and profitability from the Pickups and Big SUVs there is only incremental improvement to be had.

Expect everybody to play it safe, at least till the automakers see a reason to take chances. So far, Nissans Titan and Ford's foray's into aluminum have not been an overwhelming success---based on the incentives needed to sell these products.

Ranger was a 70K plus seller in it's last year selling 10 year old antiquated technology.
Ford has carefully explained it's current full size trucks fill the needs of all truck buyers. No need for a 90% full size Ford Ranger.
What has changed?
100K per year is not worthwhile business plan for Ranger per ford prior to discontinuing the Ranger in 2011.

Ranger based off the current truck would sell well over 100K a year in North America. How many of those units would come from F150 numbers is another question. Taking sales from yourself is fine if you are giving up Toyota for Lexus sales. GM may be running into this currently.

In 2017 don't look for anything major from GM. Ford will have the best updates, once again.

Expect GM to run and hide or maybe run more negative ads against Ford, at least till Chevy adds more aluminum in 2018.

So far, the Nissan Titan has shown increases but not nearly enough, they are about 82,000 units off of their minimum target goal of 100k units sold. Many think Nissan can't reach their goal and there will be some major rethinking at Nissan about the Titan's future.

Ford's bet on aluminum is leading the way. Ford sold 87,512 F-Series pick-up trucks in December, their best sales month going back 11 years.

Ford has set themselves apart and shows them up another +5.2% last year. These are big accomplishments in a bad economy with 94 million people out of the labor force, millions of Americans on food stamps, more than we had. You have to give Ford credit. F-Series has been on an unprecedented run at 40 years as the best selling truck.

In 2016, GM went big on negative advertising against Ford's aluminum trucks but the Silverado ends up down -4.3% for the year and down -13.8% for December vs December 2014. Instead of running attack ads, it has been said that GM needs to listen to its customers better and strive more towards innovation.

Ram had a very good year in 2016, up +8.7% for the year and up +15% in December versus December 2015. But don't expect anything big from Ram in 2017, maybe a few cool doodads at the State Fair.

*down -13.8% for December vs December 2014.

*down -13.8% for December vs December 2015.

"Ford's bet on aluminum is leading the way"


Ford is forced to rely on the same incentives as everybody else to sell trucks. That is hardly leading the way. GM had a much better year than Ford.

Ford's decision to stay out of the mid size market may prove to be smart in the long run but right now it's costing them sales.

Ford's competitors sold almost a half million mid size trucks last year. Are you saying that the current Ranger model would not have been able to compete for a third of those sales?

Is the Frontier or the Tacoma so good that the Ranger wouldn't have taken sales from Nissan and Toyota?

I would like to see Mitsubishi bring the Triton/L200 to the U.S., Nissan bring out a new Frontier, and Hyundai to bring out a compact or mid-sized truck.

I would like Ram to come out with a smaller mid-size truck or even one like a Ridgeline. I hunt and fish but do not need a full size truck and 80% of the time, just driving around the city...

Maybe if Ford and Chevy hurry up and build the Bronco/Blazer I would not buy a new truck.

"Ford's bet on aluminum is leading the way"

Posted by: Chris | Jan 6, 2017 12:23:29 PM

Yeah to big incentives, massive fleet and rental dumps over 60% of the year, and yeah the two times it needed to idle its truck plants compare to 0 times from its competitors.



Hardly call that leading the way, other then to a bankruptcy.

It is erroneous to assume that all Ranger owners are going to buy an F-150 or Focus. Someone who really wants a midsize truck or smaller truck is not going to automatically gravitate toward a F-150 or Focus. Anyone who has driven a Focus with the double clutch automatic will find it a miserable experience. The transmission is constantly shifting with horrible visibility and uncomfortable seats. A 6 speed manual is the better choice for the Focus.

Ford has said that they plan on making a new Bronco and Ranger in the plant where they currently make Focus so lets see if they carry through. The Global Ranger would be a great truck for NA. Whether Ford does make another midsize truck or not there are still the Colorado/Canyon, Tacoma, Frontier, Honda, and possibly a Hyundai. A 100,000 units of a model is not too shabby in today's market. There are very very few vehicles that sell close to a million units. The F series trucks sell close to a million but that is including the entire F series and not just the F-150.

I doubt most who buy the F-150 for its aluminum body. Most who want a Ford truck will buy one regardless of what it is made of. Full size trucks have more brand loyalty than most other vehicles.

"GM had a much better year than Ford."

papa jim,

Ford sold more trucks than GM. Incentives aren't anything new and are actually lesser on the Fords, educate yourself with this great graph here:


Silverado sales went down -3.2% in 2016 and -14% in December despite huge incentives. They may really need more aluminum.

GM sold more pickups when you count the midsize, but Ford sold more trucks. I thought you were all about who sold more trucks?

Ford decided to stay out of the midsize trucks and lost sales but they did something better by deciding to stay in the aluminum full-size, new van and heavy trucks.

GM went with the midsize trucks, but in doing so they decided to cancel its new fullsize aluminum pickups, abandon new vans and heavy trucks and lost sales.

GM will flip flop on aluminum as evdienced by pushing up the date for the fullsize trucks with extensive use of aluminum. But they have to wait for the remodel in 2018.

Ford will flip flop on the Ranger. They said they misjudged the market, but are quick to realize their mistakes.

GM only had a better year if we are only allowed to count certain categories of trucks that you say we should count. You act like Obama when he only wants to count certain categories of hate crimes.

At the end of the day, Ford sold more "trucks". Ok, you got another stupid insipid response to that? The truth is in the numbers and they haven't even started with the new Ranger yet and the new Suepr Duties, 10 Speed F-150, diesel F-150 next year are just getting started. So stuff your attitude.

Ford did not go to aluminum because it is better, Ford went to aluminum to lighten up their trucks. Manufacturers are not that interested in which metal is better but more of what they can do to make their product meet the stricter efficiency standards. Ford did not go to Ecoboost because it was better, again this is a way to get additional mpgs. GM has said that they will go to a composite of materials--steel, aluminum, plastic, and maybe some carbon fiber. GM did not cancel aluminum body on the Silverado to make a new midsize truck, they cancelled aluminum because of the financial crisis of 2008 and their bankruptcy. It was more important to stay in business. As for the Colorado this is a truck based on their global truck. GM is using this new design in their global truck so the cost will be spread out globally. Manufacturers are not going to design a vehicle with the exception of their full size trucks just for a single market like the USA. It cost too much to design and bring to market a new product not to spread the costs out. Eventually the US full size trucks will be global products. The market is much too competitive and the costs too great not to look at reducing all costs. The USA is not the only vehicle market and is no longer the largest market with China taking the lead and the growth in the Asian market.

"Silverado sales went down -3.2% in 2016 and -14% in December despite huge incentives. They may really need more aluminum."

No GM just wanted to make money and be profitable by not prop up sale numbers up on low paying fleet and rentals sales

"Ford decided to stay out of the midsize trucks and lost sales but they did something better by deciding to stay in the aluminum full-size, new van and heavy trucks."

HAHAHA! If it was better how come they a making less money while everyone else is gaining in profits.




"At the end of the day, Ford sold more "trucks".

No Ford did not sell more "trucks" Don't even need the Dec numbers added and they still have Ford beat


"Ford sold more trucks than GM. Incentives aren't anything new and are actually lesser on the Fords, educate yourself with this great graph here:

https://twitter.com/mrlevine/status/791629058559844352 "

You for real? That graph is from Oct. You forgot the other 11 months of the year. You should quit before you make a fool of yourself LOL!!!!!!

The graph from KBB was for the entire year through October, just 2 months ago. I show proof. Put up your proof if you have any evidence to back up what you claim.

Educate yourself on what a truck is.

Ford has the best selling model of truck, F-Series, but if you want to total all trucks, Ford still sells the most trucks:

"Ford U.S. truck sales, including vans,
pickups and heavy trucks, totaled 1,077,006 vehicles"

"Ford is America’s best-selling truck brand, with 1,077,006 van, pickup and heavy truck sales last year"


Papa Jim and you told me you only cared who sold the most trucks, not the most of one model. Now you are backing out of that argument after having been educated?

What's that? This is a pickup site? No, it is a truck site that covers vans, chasis cabs and heavy trucks, remember?

But, Chris, GM sold more pickups? Because GM went all in with midsizers and Ford doesn't sell one anymore. Ford went all in with new full-sizes and vans and other trucks and sold more "trucks."

We can argue who made the right moves but GM needed to be bailed out by midsize sales and doesn't even mention the Silverado in the year end press. Ford ended up with more truck sales. Ford will only increase its lead in 2017 and beyond.

I am very glad GM offers a midsize truck. Whether Ford offers a midsize truck or not is another matter. A few years ago some of those who comment on this site said the midsize truck was dead and was only for cheapskates. I was told by some of the fanboys that Ford didn't need my business since I prefer a smaller truck and I must be a cheapskate. I don't think these fanboys necessarily represent Ford as much as their fanboyism but I will not buy anything just out of brand loyalty. I buy what I need and want. I would like to see a new Ranger but I am not going to hold my breath. The Colorado/Canyon are selling because many others want a midsize truck and both represent a new product and not just an update like Tacoma and Frontier. The Honda Ridgeline is another that has given new life to the midsize market. Honda makes a quality product. I would have no problem owning any of the current midsize offerings but I do like the Colorado/Canyon and have a preference because they are a more modern truck and affordable. GM made the right choice in introducing these twins to the market.

As for incentives all the manufacturers are offering incentives.

Frank's 2016 Recap:

GM did very well with midsize trucks but was bailed out by the midsize trucks. GM was still outsold by the Tacoma and GM didn't even mention in the Silverado in the year end press release.

Incentives? Silverado sales went down -3.2% in 2016 and -14% in December despite huge incentives.

Got vans?

Even with the midsize pickup, GM was outsold by Ford in trucks. Trucks for those of you in Rio Linda include pickups, vans and heavy trucks.

Ford sold 240,721 vans, GM 88,614.

Ford sold a total of 240,721 vans in 2016 – up 9 percent – making Ford America’s best-
selling brand of commercial vans for 38 straight years. Total Transit sales of 143,244 vehicles
represent a 22 percent increase for America’s best-selling van.

Ford is America’s best-selling truck brand, with 1,077,006 van, pickup and heavy truck sales last year
Company sold 820,799 pickups in 2016, making F-Series America’s best-selling pickup for 40 years and best-selling vehicle for 35 straight years.

How is GM ever going to catch up to Ford going forward with Ford selling more trucks now and Ford planning a new Ranger?

GM needs to focus on innovation for their full-size trucks and new vans.



Oh well, things happen! Be a man and get over what a product supporter told you 4 years ago already. smh.

There are cheapskates and this is nothing to be ashamed of. Mike in Denver is a proud cheapskate. Are you a cheapskate? Nobody cares quite frankly and it isn't a bad thing to be one.

It was not a matter of Ford not needing your business, but the fact that Ford was going in a different dirrection with full-size trucks. GM at that time said they didn't need an aluminum full-size. Both have reversed course.

That being a personal @ttack on you was all in your head. In that time you bought a Honda CRV. Buy what you need! But that isn't even a truck. So it doesn't matter what Ford or anybody else did. You did that to yourself.

I think you're bent on believing what you want to believe, but you're conveniently misinterpreting what you hear and read.

GM is not exactly losing money. I would rather GM sell a few less vehicles and remain a viable company. Unlike some of those that comment on this site I would like to see GM, Ford, and FCA remain profitable and competitive. There is enough business to go around and I do not want to see anyone have a monopoly otherwise there is no incentive to remain competitive and to maintain quality. The Japanese made US automotive producers more quality conscience. American vehicles became so bad during the mid 70's thru much of the 80's that period is known as the Malaise Era. Much better quality today and a much more competitive market. If Ford were the only manufacturer to make trucks they would have little incentive to maintain quality. Keep the market competitive.

@V8--I bought a Honda CRV because it better fit my needs and has a much better reputation and resale than a Ford Escape or Chevy Equinox. As for cheapskates I guess I am one but I am willing to pay more for what I want because I tend to keep my vehicles longer than most. Currently I have an 18 year old S-10 (owned since new) which I could afford to replace but it runs so good and costs me so little to maintain that I hate to get rid of it. I also have a 2008 Isuzu I-370 4x4 crewcab (owned since new) with low miles and like new. I have 2 trucks so don't tell me I do not own a truck. As for Ford they can do what they want and those who buy their trucks and like them then that is good. As for the CRV that is my wife's vehicle and she went from a Ford Taurus back to a Honda. My wife did not see a need for a 3rd truck and she prefers more car like vehicles. Taurus was not a bad car but the Honda better fit our needs. I would rather buy a Honda or Toyota new and buy a Ford or GM used because there is not a lot of difference in price between a new or pre owned Toyota or Honda but there is a bigger difference between the price of a pre owned Ford or GM and a new one. Since you brought the subject up do you own a truck or are you blowing smoke?

I don't think GM can do anything this year except offer more incentives.

I would like for GM to find more capacity in an attempt to meet the demand for their mid size twins. The rate of growth in the mid size truck market is accelerating and manufactures participating in this market are making the real profits.

If/when Ford does start producing the Ranger and Bronco again, I'd rather they get them right than get them to market asap.

@papa jim -

Which automaker sold more trucks in 2016 than ANYBODY ELSE by a large margin? Hint: it starts with a G and it ends with an M.

That is the very definition of "strong impact."

After years of waiting and screwing around, Honda and Nissan bring out trucks that nobody is buying. That would not be "strong impact."

Just so you know.
Posted by: papajim | Jan 4, 2017 12:42:50 AM"

Once again, just so you know, you were wrong on January 4.

You asked who sold the most trucks. You said GM. Wrong answer.

It was Ford who sold the most "trucks."

See Ford's end of year sales press release:

"Ford U.S. truck sales, including vans,
pickups and heavy trucks, totaled 1,077,006 vehicles"

"Ford is America’s best-selling truck brand, with 1,077,006 van, pickup and heavy truck sales last year"



But pickuptrucks.com is only for pickup trucks, right? Nope, they started covering all trucks and vans 5 years ago. Welcome to 2011...

See here: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/02/first-drive-2012-nissan-nv-series-vans.html

Here's where it was decided to cover vans. Work vans have been covered for over 2 years now. It started with the new Nissan cargo van.


Mike, Do you only cover Nissan Vans? Sorry I didn't see any coverage on any other vans.
Posted by: Fred G | Feb 3, 2011 1:57:51 AM

@Fred G: I made a decision to cover the new Nissan vans because they have heavily modified version of the current Titan's frame that could be used to underpin a heavy-duty version of the Titan.

However, the segment isn't covered in detail by other outlets. What do you think? Should we also cover vans?
Posted by: Mike Levine | Feb 3, 2011 2:07:28 AM

@Mike L.

I would read the article about vans if you write them. In the ever changing world of business, the term service vehicle is not limited to only one type of vehicle. It may not be pretty, but I think the return on investment with this vehicle could be quite high as it fills into many different job titles.

If you write it, they will read it.........
Posted by: Jeremy O. | Feb 3, 2011 2:42:48 PM

YES, start reviewing and covering vans, specially cargo vans.
Posted by: Dave | Feb 3, 2011 12:53:22 PM

@ Mike Levine

I see no reason not to cover vans. It's a small segment of the market, but nobody else seems to cover it. As long as you don't start branching into minivans and crossovers that is...
Posted by: AL | Feb 3, 2011 5:40:30 AM


Now about those vans, Ford sold 240,721 vans, GM 88,614. GM needs to work on that.

The graph from KBB was for the entire year through October, just 2 months ago. I show proof. Put up your proof if you have any evidence to back up what you claim.

Inventive Spending: In December, GM’s incentive spending as a percent of ATP was 13 percent, lower than in November
For the year, GM’s incentive spending as a percent of ATP was 11.9 percent, well below the incentive spending of its domestic competitors and many of its global competitors.

Read more: http://gmauthority.com/blog/2017/01/general-motors-december-2016-sales-figures-numbers-results-united-states/#ixzz4V4APpgk3

There is plenty of room in the small/mid-size pickup market for three or four more trucks. The mid-size truck market grew after the introduction of the new Colorado/Canyon; it grew again after the introduction of the new Ridgeline; and it will grow with each new entry. From what I understand, the manufacturers cannot produce enough C-twins, Tacomas, or Ridgelines to keep up with market demand.

There has been a secular market shift from cars to light trucks, so people who in years past would have bought cars are now buying light trucks. This means more demand for light trucks, including mid-size pickups, so manufacturers should be able to sell an even greater number of small/mid-size trucks then they did 10 or 15 years ago. I think Ford could easily sell 250K units combined of the Ranger and a Ranger-derived Bronco SUV in the U.S.

Full-size trucks do not fill the needs of all truck users. Many people, especially people in the city, do not have room for a full-size truck and do not need the capabilities. And even if one does have room for a full-size truck, mid-sizers are easier to maneuver and more fuel efficient.

If Ford does produce a new Ranger, I think it would be better for it to be closer in size to the last U.S. Ranger rather than to the Ranger being sold overseas now. A truck the size of the global Ranger or the Colorado might pull some sales from full-sizers, but a truck the size of the last Ranger would not because there is simply too much difference in size.

The reason the last U.S. Ranger sold modestly in its final years was because it was severely outdated. Ford was selling in 2011 essentially the same Ranger that it was in 1998, while the F-150 had been redesigned twice since then. Ford should have completely redesigned the Ranger around 2003 when Ford was still selling over 200K units a year. Then sales would not have experienced such a precipitous decline.

I do think that if the prior Ranger had been updated it would have done much better. Ford definitely maximized their design and tooling costs on the Ranger and the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis. Both those vehicles had proven reliability being produced so long there were no real bugs to work out. I understand why Ford did not redesign these vehicles but they both very good and both were good values. You can get a used Crown Victoria relatively cheap but they are not that popular. The advantage the Crown Victoria is the wide availability of parts at a low cost and their reliability if they are maintained properly--they literally can run forever if they are maintained. Rangers also have wide availability of reasonably priced parts and can run a long time.

I almost bought a new Ranger a couple of times but I got such a good deal on both of my trucks. The S-10/Sonoma is another truck that will run a long time and replacement parts are available at reasonable price.

Expect fuel prices to jump $2 or more within the next two years, drying up the demand for large gas hogs and effectively forcing the transition over to hybrids and battery-electrics. Pickup trucks in general will need to undergo a drastic shift in mind-set as demand for large and thirsty will shift to smaller and more economical simply because the big trucks will no longer be affordable to operate by most people. Trade-in values will plummet while the demand for smaller, more economical models even than the current mid-sized trucks will grow again.

uel prices to jump $2 or more within the next two years, drying up the demand for large gas hogs


You've been predicting this kind of crap for longer than I can remember. You never present any facts to back up your predictions.

Americans don't want small cars and trucks. Look at last year's sales figures. Big SUVs. Big Pickups. The only way liberals such as yourself have prevailed with this kind of thinking is to hammer Detroit with EPA and CAFE hassles.

Try getting out of Mom's basement once in a while. Quit playing computer games. Find a nice girl and settle down. Have some fun.

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