We're Looking Forward to a Happy New Year

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There's no question that 2018 was a good year for pickup trucks, what with the all-new Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 hitting the marketplace. We also got a closer look at two new mid-size models in the form of the 2019 Ford Ranger and 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Of course, knowing that new-model cadence never slows down anymore, we're looking for 2019 to be full of three-quarter and one-ton news for us from at least three manufacturers (Chevy, GMC and Ram) if not all four (adding Ford).

Related: Best-Selling Pickup Trucks: Fourth Quarter 2018

In the meantime, here are six reasons we think 2019 will be even more exciting than last year:

1. The Heavy-Duties Are Coming
We've started to see quite a few submissions from our remote spies sending us images of both the Chevrolet and GMC HD models as they run around and near the Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan. We've heard speculation about all sorts of upgrades coming to the powertrains, but we're still a little fuzzy on how thoroughly GM engineers are diving into the frame and suspension. We should know more in the next few months.

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2. The Return of the Bronco
Now that we've seen and driven the returning 2019 Ford Ranger, all eyes are likely to turn to the returning 2020 Ford Bronco (to be built from the same production facility as the Ranger). Can Ford create a lightning strike twice in two years? Although we don't know much at this point, if they've shared any amount of Ranger platform, the Bronco could be a serious Jeep Wrangler fighter.

3. Next Nissan Frontier
We're not alone in thinking this redesign is long overdue. In fact, even if you spoke to those in charge at Nissan, they too would tell you this is the project they've been wanting to get completed. All over the world, the global Navara is selling in significant numbers, but here in the U.S., we're stuck with the oldest platform of any pickup truck sold. The next-generation Frontier is likely to be revealed sometime this year, and we can't wait.

4. Crossover Pickups to Debut
We've been hearing and seeing a lot about the coming wave of urban niche pickups, very likely based off an existing SUV or large crossover platform. Hyundai and VW are the two most likely brands to show us something production-ready relatively soon (we're guessing the Chicago Auto Show in February) because both have already shown us full concept models at previous auto shows (the Santa Cruz at Detroit in 2015, Atlas Tanoak at New York in 2018). We've always been skeptical about these "hybrids," but we're willing to stay open-minded.

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5. Medium-Duty Chevy
We're also expecting to get more information about new versions of the work-duty-oriented Chevrolet Silverado 4500 and 5500 models as more of them get into the fleet and commercial markets. It's our guess that it won't take long before the Chevy one-ton guys start moving over to the medium-duty chassis and use them as a blank canvas for their latest big towing and hauling dream machine project trucks. We're likely to see quite a few at the 2019 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas in November.

6. Pickups as the Profit
And our last submission of big news items to expect for the coming year is actually very similar to what we saw in 2018: The most underreported story of 2018 was how lifesaving it was to the auto industry that pickup truck sales soared so high. In fact, if full-size pickup sales did not exist, none of the major automakers would have a solvent company. And we don't expect that to change for 2019; if anything, it will magnify -- without pickup truck sales and the corresponding profits for Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, it's possible none of them would be in business today.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears, Christian Lantry


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Comments

7. Tru-mp Economy
JOBS UP BIG!
+312,000
RECORD NUMBER WORKING
MANUFACTURING BEST IN 20 YEARS
HISPANIC UNEMPLOYMENT LOWEST EVER

Mr. Tom Lemon,

Trumpie has nothing to do with the economy.

Absolutely.

Nothing.

Turn off Fox and Friends. Like I told papajim.

We presently have the best economic numbers in 70 years.

The fool in Australia and his close personal friend Christine LaGarde predicted in 2016 right here on these pages that the US economy was headed straight into the latrine following the crash landing of the I'm With Her campaign.

It's probably time to shear some more sheep, eh mate?

papajim,

I'm thinking the bottom will fall out of the US vehicle market this year.

So, maybe wait a little longer?

There are way too many cheap, long and bad vehicle loans and leases.

These loans and leases are hitting the lowest possible people who can least afford a vehicle.

There are many ex lease vehicles will be hitting the market.

The US economic growth has been revised down by Christine Legarde as well.

Car sales are tanking. Cheaper cars loans were shorter term. Soon SUV, CUV and pickup leases in the same position as car loans due to their longer terms on average.

I agree with some of what Big Al is saying economically, but I don't have time to comment fully. I will add my comments later about the economy. I will also tell you what to look forward to.

Ummmm... only 3 of major automakers wouldn't be solvent without the sales/profits from Full size trucks. 2 of these three have gone bankrupt and were bailed out by the government for following this failed model. 1 of the 2 that went under has been bought, sold, traded, and even given away to multiple other companies. The 1 and only of those 3 only managed to stay afloat on its own by effectively predicting the future, mortgaging EVERYTHING, investing in cutting edge tech, making the least crappy cars and best trucks of 3. Now with all 3 abandoning the car market they have been failing in for decades they will all face bankruptcy at the next recession/fuel hike.

There are numerous other major auto makers who don't make trucks at all or don't even need their full size trucks to be profitable at all and some of these sometimes make more global profit than the 3 riding on their truck sales combined.

The Big 3 minus 1 could really learn from the more successful, survivable business model that starts with profitable sales of quality small and mid sized cars.

@ BA

The president has a huge involvement with the economy. If u dislike the man bc of his antics that's fine but what he has done for the economy is amazing. Its liberal !d!ots who have prevented him from doing even more for the United States

Enough politics, its cumbersome and corrupt all balled up into 1 toxic environment

I'm excited for the new GM HD trucks and their gas motor. Hp/Tq numbers will be very crucial for them.

@ clint

You never answered my question. Why do you disike GM so much?

all 3 abandoning the car market they have been failing in for decades they will all face bankruptcy at the next recession

---

There is no recession in sight.

And Toyota gets bailed out by Japan in case you hadn't heard.

I'm thinking the bottom will fall out of the US vehicle market this year.

So, maybe wait a little longer?

There are way too many cheap, long and bad vehicle loans and leases.

These loans and leases are hitting the lowest possible people who can least afford a vehicle.

There are many ex lease vehicles will be hitting the market.

The US economic growth has been revised down by Christine Legarde as well.

Car sales are tanking. Cheaper cars loans were shorter term. Soon SUV, CUV and pickup leases in the same position as car loans due to their longer terms on average.


Posted by: Big A. from O. | Jan 4, 2019 12:13:01 PM

Good post. I agree.

I'm thinking the bottom will fall out of the US vehicle market this year.

So, maybe wait a little longer?

There are way too many cheap, long and bad vehicle loans and leases.

These loans and leases are hitting the lowest possible people who can least afford a vehicle.

There are many ex lease vehicles will be hitting the market.

The US economic growth has been revised down by Christine Legarde as well.

Car sales are tanking. Cheaper cars loans were shorter term. Soon SUV, CUV and pickup leases in the same position as car loans due to their longer terms on average.


Posted by: Big A. from O. | Jan 4, 2019 12:13:01 PM

Great analysis.

Car sales are tanking

@BAFO

The sales of the cars that the green-liberal governments of the world were trying to force down our throats have failed, that's for sure. The sales of the vehicles that people actually want? They're doing great.

By the way---you've got some sheep waitin' for a haircut mate...

Posted by: Big A. from O. | Jan 4, 2019 12:13:01 PM

Great analysis.

Posted by: Mick Dundee | Jan 4, 2019 1:35:00 PM

Yes it is.

Have to agree with papajim here, I heard the same garbage from the media about how the economy was going to collapse once Clinton lost...what a joke that was...ya, like cutting corporate tax rates, individual tax rates and cutting regulation are really going to hurt the economy. Having said that, I don't approve of how big the deficit has gotten, but at least that money is theoretically off the table to spend on big new 'programs' for the next administration, unless Ocasio-Cortez gets here way and implements a new lovely 70% tax rate for the "rich".

Having said that, my guess is that we may be heading into recession in 2019 (no way to prevent an eventual recession)...there is one thing though that may keep us growing for another year or two, and that is if we can get a new trade deal with China. My guess, is that we complete a new trade deal with China within the next 3 months or so, this should give the stock market a good shot in the arm and keep the economy growing for a while...probably making it the longest economic expansion in US history.

Clint "Crappy" sounds like child's talk.

Having said that, I don't approve of how big the deficit has gotten

@Texas1836

The bigger issue is the 'amount' of federal spending. The annual difference between income & spending (deficit) is simply a budgetary error in Washington anymore. The size of government is an ongoing crisis throughout the western nations. The EU nations are a picture of what's coming here unless we can change that. To me the biggest factor is the growing strength of the US dollar. The dollar has been gaining ground since 2012. When you have a strong dollar the things you buy cost less.

The relative strength of the greenback is very clearly visible in the price of our daily commodities like gasoline and groceries. The price of gas in my neighborhood is down about 80 cents per gal. since May 2018.

This is like main street Americans getting a raise.

When grocers don't have to spend so much on fuel bringing goods to the retail outlets, it shows up at the cash register.

This is real. The stronger dollar hit Wall Street this year because it made stocks look cheaper. If I can buy America's best companies at a discount, why would I want to pay more?

Naturally the president's critics said he was driving down the markets, but the price of stocks moved in perfect harmony with the lower price of commodities and the stronger dollar.

The average dopes reporting the news on cable has no clue about something like this of course.

@papajim

Well said once again. The spending is indeed out of control. I don't think many people realize this, but although we had big tax cuts, Federal revenue looks to have hit an all-time high this year. I also agree that many are pushing to turn the country into more of a European welfare state model...and some like Ocasio-Cortez would even prefer to us to follow the old Soviet model. Have you read the details of her "Green New Deal" plan, you know save the planet with green energy (eliminate all fossil fuels, rebuild power grid, all solar and wind power, insulate all buildings etc.), free health care for all, free universal income for all, $15 dollar minimum wage, and of course, guaranteed jobs for everyone who wants one, as well as nationalizing the banks etc. What is not to love about that, maybe she just needs to add free marijuana for all of those who can't afford it, just to get full support. I spent about 10 minutes running some calculations on what her plan would cost, and I came up with $60 trillion over 10 years. Unfortunately, even by implementing a liberal dream of 100% tax on all millionaires (statically scored), would only bring in about $10 trilllion over 10 years. Even eliminating the military, would only bring in about $7 trillion over 10 years. What is Ocasio's solution, just have the Federal Reserve just print the money to cover the cost.

Ocasio-Cortez?

@Texas1836

I LOVE her.

She'll give the Democrat House leaders (Hoyer and Pelosi) major heartburn during the next year or so.

Steny Hoyer and Mrs Pelosi are tasked with keeping these young pups at heel and something tells me that Ms Cortez will chew the leash. A lot.

The Dems have a big problem apart from the young pups, and they cannot overcome the fact that the top Democrats are Joe Biden and Ohio's US Senator Sherrod Brown.

Biden is going to 78 in 2020 and Brown will be almost 70.

Can the leading Democrats keep expecting a party where all the political excitement is young, brown, gay and female to elect a ticket that prominently features two old Washington insiders who happen to be presumably straight, white and male?

I like gridlock in Washington. A lot.

Economy can't be Trumps doing, Barry Obama has laid claim to it.

Just ask his teleprompter...

@ Chris T.,

Can you just stop with your fake news liberal nonsense about Toyota!

Toyota is the most profitable auto company on the planet, that means they are the best ran auto company period!

While GM and Ford jump out of cars because they once again FAIL to make a profit from them, Toyota is thriving where the RAV4 (over 400,000 units sold) is the 4th best selling vehicle in the U.S. market, the Camry (over 350,000 units sold) is 6th and the Corolla (over 300,000 units sold) is 10th.


The Tacoma sold over 245,000 taking top honors in small trucks likewise and the older designed Tundra still outsold the new Titan!


The big 3 just have 1 vehicle in the top 10 minus GM that has the Equinox in 9th I believe, that is their full-size truck, where Toyota can still sell smaller vehicles in mass numbers and turn profits.

Oil prices will not stay low for long and when they turn up again, those bigger trucks will slow in sales and they will scramble to make smaller cars again and guess where Toyota will be sitting? Nice and safe!

Toyota is a master in lean production, they wrote the book called TPS, you should learn it. That is why they can sell so many cars and trucks and still turn a massive profit. Stop hating Toyota and understand why the world still is learning from their manufacturing leadership.

Oil prices will not stay low for long
Posted by: oxi | Jan 5, 2019

@oxi

Do you have a crystal ball?

Oil prices are a reflection of the value of the dollar versus commodities. If oil goes up, gold goes up. It's been that way since the 1930s. You can find that data anywhere on the Internet.

So, again, please tell us how YOU know that Oil is headed up.

Not my comment. The experts are predicting a decline in auto sales for 2019 but they did that in 2018. They were wrong last year. At some point new vehicle sales will go down. True cars are tanking in sales but truck, suv, and crossover sales are increasing. Buyers are switching from cars. Without crew cabs pickup sales would not be as high as they are.

@oxi--I don't see car sales coming back but if oil prices go up and the economy slows buyers might switch to smaller crossovers which are not much less efficient than a car. A hybrid Rav 4 is not that much different than a Camry in mpgs and offers more room and utility. Having switched from a midsize sedan to a compact crossover the difference in mpgs is not that much different but the amount of usable space is greater. GM is in a good position with a full range of crossovers but FCA needs to add some. Crossovers have replaced sedans for many.

As for lean production Toyota was a pioneer in that but that is in no small part due to W Edward Deming who was hired by Japanese businesses post World War II to show the Japanese businesses how to be more efficient. The irony is that Deming was an American but the Japanese were more interested in Deming and his 14 Principles of Effective Management than US businesses. The Japanese followed Deming's principles and even gave him an award . Most of the US manufacturers have adopted some form of lean production--they had to in order to survive.

@jeff

Toyota's version of Lean is not really lean at all.

Honda has done much better work with Lean than Toyota (or maybe anybody else).

Honda and their partners at SAP deployed Dynamic Sequencing back around 2002 or so. With "sequencing" a very complex assembly, such as a car, cannot utilize 'lean' manufacturing. Lean says that you don't build a car until it's already sold.

Lean preaches ZERO raw material inventory. Honda successfully bullied their vendors into adopting SAP's approach.

Today the whole industry has followed Honda's lead, but the conversation about Lean cannot move forward without acknowledging Honda's role.

With "sequencing" a very complex assembly, such as a car, cannot utilize 'lean' manufacturing.

So Sorry. Mean to say WithOUT "sequencing" a very complex assembly, such as a car, cannot utilize 'lean' manufacturing. The foremost pioneers in Lean insisted that raw material inventory is a Lean killer.

Zero raw material allowed. Thus was born modern Supply Chain Management.

As an avid RV'er I'm looking forward to see what the motorhome manufactures will do with the medium duty crew cabs. Could be an interesting year in the Super C category.

@papajim--As my last comment on this site I agree that Honda has done a better job on lean manufacturing but as oxi has stated Toyota pioneered it and it was based on the research and teaching of W Edward Deming. Good bye and Happy New Year!

Toyota called it Lean. Honda MADE it lean.

I think sales will be hot in 2019...

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/06/us/ford-f-150-recall/index.html

The economy is in an explosive state...

http://fortune.com/2019/01/04/ford-recalls-airbag-inflators/

But you never know the economy could stall....

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/25/ford-recalls-focuses-because-engines-can-stall.html

But I think overall we'll be rolling away from the competition!

http://fortune.com/2018/07/18/ford-escape-fusion-recall/


LOL, seriously, "None would be in business today"? So everyone would just walk?

Of course PickupTrucks is looking forward to a new year, because of all the fun new things to come out that you can comment on. Even when something goes unchanged like the Frontier you can't help but say nasty things about it. In a world (trucks) where function, reliability, and cost-effectiveness should all reign supreme, you guys rag on the very notion of it at every turn. Meanwhile you laud the most complicated and expensive, garish trucks especially when they implement some sort of feel-good eco feature, yet you turn and attack them one year later calling them "old" and "tired" and "long in the tooth". Yeah right, that's what trucks are all about, who can spend the most on the most complicated lavish luxury vehicle that rivals Range Rover in terms of cost and reliability, or lack thereof.

Here's pretty much what every article reads like:

"OOOOHHH look at the new triple-turbo Adkins cyclone rotary delete CVTBS goo-goo ding dong that shuts off every time you stop thinking about ClImAtE ChAnGe!!! SoOoOoOo worth it to pay thousands extra for something that the government says is more efficient. Can't put a price on smugness!"


"The sales of the cars that the green-liberal governments of the world were trying to force down our throats have failed, that's for sure. The sales of the vehicles that people actually want? They're doing great."

You mean what is appropriate for that market? US Pickups and SUV's tank big time in Australia, but sell like crazy in the US
Great sellers in any market is what is appropriate for that market

@Robert Ryan

Appropriate? I presume that means that some commission of landed nobility determines whether or not we can own a truck.

Robert can you remember back when Australia allowed you to own a gun?

Your government confiscated your guns. How did that work out for you?

Do US pickups and SUV's "tank" in non-US markets because nobody wants them or because taxes and regulations make them rare and expensive? Every foreigner I've driven or shown our trucks, Australians included, doesn't hesitate to comment on how much they like them and wish they could buy them in their own country.

BD
No ,have to be appropriate,for the use. US Pickups never gained traction here even fuel was 40c to the litre and they could be bought for $20,000
They do not fly in Europe and Asia for being inappropriate to what they need
As a result they only sell in North America
You must have talked to fans of US Pickups, just as there are fans of British Sportscars
@jim Parker LOL what country are you taking of ? There ar roughly 5 million rifles in Australia. Like Canada we crack down on handguns

@BD

Trying to debate with Robert is pointless.

BD
"Trying to debate with Papajim is pointless."even when he is obviously wrong

yawn

Like Canada we crack down on handguns
Posted by: Robert Ryan | Jan 5, 2019

Other choices include:

Like Castro we crack down on handguns. Like Stalin we crack down on handguns. Like Pol Pot we crack down on handguns. Like Mao we crack down on handguns. Like Hitler we crack down on handguns.

The list is long---want me to keep going?

So everyone I talk to simply does not know what they are talking about and you couldn't hardly give away American trucks in other countries for free, because they're "inappropriate".

Yeah, sure, that makes total sense.

A big yawn for papajim. Off topic as usual.

@ Jeff s,

You have proven you do not work in a manufacturing business!

Nobody studies Deming, they study the Toyota Production System and the Toyota Way, the company that wrote the book on modern lean manufacturing, hello get with the program!

@BD
Do not know who you were talking too, but they repensent a very very tiny group.
I know Americans who like Cricket, so I guess from that Americans are going to embrace Cricket in a big way??
If people liked US Pickups, outside NA, they would be as popular as the Global,Pickups

@papajim
Like Canadians crack down on hand guns. No it has nothing to do with Pickup sales either

@papajim
Like Canadians crack down on hand guns. No it has nothing to do with Pickup sales either

I like Cricket.

Jeff S
US Pickups maybe a niche product outside the US, goal is to make sure they sell in sufficient volume within NA



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