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What Ever Happenned To Manufacturing Small Trucks ?

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by Joe Strummer, Jul 28, 2014.

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  1. Joe Strummer

    Joe Strummer VIP Whale

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    Two years ago I was looking for a new small truck.
    I was surprised to not find any -- just HUGE trucks.
    Ended up buying a small car + keeping my '98 Chevy S-10 truck.
    *
    I thought the small truck market was doing alright ?
    saw many of them around -
    So what is the reason they've dissappeared ?
    I know alot of those large trucks have been reposessed
    because they were SO FRIGGIN' expensive !
     
  2. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    My guess is that the segment has taken hits from both sides.

    The small, car-based SUV and station wagon-like vehicles are probably the primary culprits in the demise of the small pickup. They have plenty of storage and you can get them with AWD. Honda even has a unibody “truck” with an actual bed (isn’t Ken always singing the praises of his?) I’m sure that these vehicles are more than capable enough to handle the jobs of the average Joe. And when you aren’t using it for work, you get a car-like ride and gas mileage.

    And on the other end of the spectrum, the bigger trucks can usually be had for a song these days if you don’t need all the bells and whistles. It’s an incredibly crowded field and incentives abound. And with the newer generations of V-6’s or V-8’s with cylinder deactivation, you can get all the power you need without dealing with single-digit MPG figures.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I’ve done zero research on this matter other than thinking about the things that go through my head when I shop for trucks for my small business.
     
    Number 50!
  3. Joe Strummer

    Joe Strummer VIP Whale

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    Yeh......I forgot about all those roomier cars w/
    flipdown seats and stuff.
    The small trucks were so affordable, though.
     
  4. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Small pick-up sales died years ago, for many of the reasons thecarve points out and because the domestic ones, particularly, were built like shit. (And the Tacoma, for instance, has been mid-sized for a very long time.)

    Full-size trucks are grossly overpriced because it's what the market will bear, and for the Big Two they are the bread and butter for retail sales.

    I've never considered my Ridgeline a pickup truck. To me, for our needs, it is the ultimate multi-purpose vehicle. I can tow anything I'll ever need to tow. I can put crap in the back I'd not want in a car trunk or back of an suv. I can haul five easily and unlike some of the other platforms that remain, and even some of the four-door versions of some of the full-sizes, the back seat area is largo with big legroom. It has AWD. It has a lockable trunk that can hold two golf bags or luggage or whatever and there's a drain plug for game day. The rear seat flips in in two parts and you can stow a lot of stuff underneath ... yes, even a golf bag! It's unibody with four-wheel suspension so it drives great and you sit up high enough to see well. It's a Honda so it's built. It is NOT a pick-up, never had aspirations to be one. It can't pull the Queen Mary or carry sheets of plywood flat or kajillions of pounds of stuff. Gas mileage is rather horrid. It's not a rock-climber; I had a Scout that did that, those days are over. But it goes off-road well.

    For me, the ultimate test is that I'd buy another if Honda is still making them when I hit 200k or whenever it is I'd think about finally flipping it.

    If I we had been in the market for a pickup, we'd have purchased an F-150. That's not what we wanted.
     
  5. Gofaster87

    Gofaster87 Low-Roller

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    From what I hear Chevy is coming out with a Canyon sized truck again within a year.
     
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I read some early stuff in the auto trades and the initial journalistic sentiment was GM had not really taken stock of what made the post-S10 Canyon/Colorado such a dog/fall so far behind so quickly.

    I like the idea but if there's not a significant $$$ incentive there probably won't be enough EPA advantage to make it compelling beyond someone just wanting something smaller.
     
  7. Gofaster87

    Gofaster87 Low-Roller

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    There's plenty of demand for small trucks especially here in Vegas. The lack of small trucks has driven used small truck prices through the roof, here and nationwide. I know this firsthand because I deal with companies that need and can only use small trucks but dont want to spend the money on the more expensive Tacoma. The 5 cylinder gmc 4 door we have at the warehouse is actually a great truck with decent power and gas mileage. The basic 2 doors are just average, but for the money you couldn't ask for anything more. The 2013 GMC full size I drive on occasion is a pile of crap.
     
  8. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    We'll see. It's coming this fall. Various engine options, the usual unintelligible alpha-numeric GM array of packages. I'm reading starting pricing from $19,000-$32,000. So a stripper price higher than the current start for the Tacoma and the Frontier.
     
  9. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    I've been going back and forth between getting a 2 door smaller pickup truck or a 2 door car. There's not much to pick from anymore. If you look at the measurements the smaller trucks now are bigger than a full size pickup from the 80's. Even that Canyon is big. When it comes to cars there's the sportier 4 cylinder coupes. The only luxurious/comfortable coupe out there right now that's affordable is the Honda Accord. I just want something comfortable with 6 cylinders and 2 doors that I can haul the motorcycle with. That's all I want. It doesn't exist right now. I'm just going to run my 2007 Saturn Ion into the ground since it's not worth anything anyway. But, I tend to lose "to the death grudge matches" with my cars.
     
  10. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    I am happy to hear about the possible demise of the small truck. WAY too many people buy a pickup when they have no real use for it. It gets shitty gas mileage for its size, is overpriced, and is probably responsible for an inordinately high number of traffic accidents and deaths because of its poor handling in bad weather (especially 2wd), flimsy construction, and appeal to youthful drivers who might otherwise have chosen something safer. Now, a similar vehicle that was affordable, economical to drive, and more stable to handle in bad weather would be great. Still, any pickup will always have a weight balance problem.
     
  11. Gofaster87

    Gofaster87 Low-Roller

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    You think smaller trucks handle worse than large trucks? The canyon handles much better than the gmc sierra. There are many businesses out there that need small trucks. Pool service, pest control, paint, general handymen, etc. Large trucks are ridiculous for most of these types of work. I see on average, 10 accidents a week out here and almost all of them are sedans or large trucks, never a small truck.
     
  12. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Here's the nice thing about capitalism. If smaller trucks are so essential to "many businesses," then manufactures will get wise to it and make the product available. And if/when they are available, you and other folks really needing one will buy one and reward the manus for their forethought. Then again, seems that at least three companies never have stopped offering something of this ilk in America.

    As for your safety comparison: There are far more wrecks in America involving Toyota Corollas than Maseratis. I don't conclude that Maseratis are inherently less accident-prone.
     
  13. Gofaster87

    Gofaster87 Low-Roller

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    I never made safety comparison, the poster above me did. Im just posting what my experience is. My company did call gmc headquarters and asked about the small truck situation. They responded by saying they stopped production on them for a full redesign and they will sell them again in full force. They also confirmed that they had many other inquires about the small truck line so Im not alone, there is a demand.
     
  14. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    OK, let's go back to square one. Three companies presently sell mid-size pickups or something like it in America. GM is bringing back the Canyon/Colorado.

    If GM get this right, and that's not a guarantee with GM given the previous iteration of this model, and doesn't price it and mileage it such that a full-size ain't much of a reach, it would be a good thing. And it could prompt Ford and maybe even VW back into the market.
     
  15. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    Gofaster87, please read more carefully before you attack someone. I never said small trucks handle worse than large trucks. I said A PICKUP. What I know about truck handling comes from having driven a half-ton for 14 years. ALL pickup trucks have an innate tendency to handle poorly compared to vehicles that are better balanced front to rear. It's simple physics.

    Ken is teasing about Corollas versus Maseratis. How many Maseratis do you see in the average day, and who is driving the ones you do see? Ken is absolutely correct about the market, though. I just wish that the designers would make small trucks safer and a lot more fuel efficient.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  16. Gofaster87

    Gofaster87 Low-Roller

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    "I am happy to hear about the possible demise of the small truck. WAY too many people buy a pickup when they have no real use for it. It gets shitty gas mileage for its size, is overpriced, and is probably responsible for an inordinately high number of traffic accidents and deaths because of its poor handling in bad weather (especially 2wd), flimsy construction, and appeal to youthful drivers who might otherwise have chosen something safer. Now, a similar vehicle that was affordable, economical to drive, and more stable to handle in bad weather would be great. Still, any pickup will always have a weight balance problem."

    You did say small truck in your first sentence so I assumed the rest of your argument was based on that. In most instances you're right about the handling but there are plenty of sedans that Ive lost control of on a test track when a truck didn't. I speak from experience, worked at rod shop, fab shop and speed shop. Did a bit of racing - NASA and SCCA
     
  17. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I think someone needs to get with the NHTSA website and settle this once and for all, is the Canyon or the Sierra involved in more wrecks PER CAPITA, the Ranger or the F150, the Tacoma or the Tundra.

    But it is more fun to make suppositions.

    BTW, please don't wake me with the results. lol

    As for Joe's opener: Having owned and driven a number of the former "small trucks" that were in the market, from the VW to the Jeep/Dodge P.O.S. Commanche, LUV, Toyotas before they beefed up, S10, Ranger/Mazda, Mitsu/Dodge -- most sucked at many or most things. And when they no longer were dirt cheap while gas mileage still sucked ...

    When we bought the '07 Ridgline we drove most everything available, even toyed with a few full-sizes as Bardolator can attest.

    I think the market got more serious with the upsizing of the Tacoma, and though it had some shortcomings for our needs, the Frontier; Ford/Mazda had actually been doing a good job with the Ranger but were smart enough to know when to cut and run. (Oh, what about the Isuzu???) GM totally missed the boat after that second iteration of the S10, when the now-former Canyon and Colorado were 10 years behind the design curve when introduced and cobbled together from the corporate parts bin; it was to "GMC Trucks" what the Cimarron was to Cadillac. I have two friends who own GM dealerships and they cringe when someone mentions "pickup" and Canyon/Colorado. That's what will make this launch interesting.
     
  18. mistermoe

    mistermoe Low-Roller

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    The new Colorado/Canyon are due this fall. A diesel version will be offered next year. They are talking about lighter trucks with better gas mileage. I had a Colorado and loved driving it! Much smoother ride than full size and mileage was not too bad.
    Info below for those who are interested.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/chevrolet/colorado

    Moe
     
  19. LV_Bound

    LV_Bound VIP Whale

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    Funny you should ask. Just a month ago I was trying to find a small truck for my dad and couldn't really find one.
    Too bad Ford stopped with the Ranger as that would have been perfect.
    The Nissan Frontier is nice but that isn't really small.
     
  20. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Blame it on the Chicken Tax, just Google the term, a tax imposed 50 years ago on imports and what remains is a 25% tax on truck imports. This is why years ago, tiny Subaru imported the Brat with seats in the bed, it wasn't a truck. Ford is now doing the same thing with the Transit, the seats are ripped out and recycled by a third party near the port. Dodge is doing the same thing with a Fiat truck. The Mercedes Sprinter diesel van is imported as a kit and partially assembled in the USA. Right now, Toyota owns the small truck market, I think their share is around 80%. The Nissan Frontier is not even in the same league.

    Ken, your Ridgeline is based on the Pilot and I think you will have no trouble getting 200k out of it and you will sell it for a nice penny. Except for the 4 cylinder Toyota Tacoma, these small trucks don't really get much better fuel economy than full size trucks with new 6 cylinder engines and Ford and GM make huge profits on these big models. So if you want to know why there are no small pickups, follow the money trail.
     
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