loved Chevroletís new Colorado midsize pickup when I
sat in one recently at a secret briefing in a secure,
windowless room 11 stories above Detroitís New Center
again, I donít own a pickup and Iím not likely to
buy one anytime soon.
the Colorado and its sibling the GMC Canyon be appealing
enough to convert me, or anybody else, into a pickup
owner when they go on sale next fall?
a nutshell, thatís the potential and peril facing the
new pickup. How many people silently long for a truck
thatís a bit smaller, more fuel-efficient and easier
to park than the big Chevy Silverados and Ford F-150s?
probably not a huge market, but Toyotaís done
extremely well with the Tacoma," the best-selling
current midsize pickup, Edmunds.com senior analyst
Michelle Krebs said. "The Colorado and Canyon are
an interesting play. They could do well for GM."
every automaker had a small pickup. They sold in large
numbers, attracted young buyers and helped automakers
meet fuel economy requirements. Demand withered in the
past decade, though. The Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota, and
Chevy and GMCís earlier small pickups disappeared.
Tacoma dominates the market, accounting for about 70
percent of midsize pickup sales this year. The Nissan
Frontier is the other player, with 51,423 sales through
IHS Automotive projects midsize pickup sales will total
about 253,000 this year. Thatís a drop in the bucket
compared with the nearly 1.6 million full-size pickups
sold in the first 10 months of 2013.
observers figure full-size pickups crushed smaller
models because first-time buyers turned away from little
pickups to small cars, and smaller trucks lacked a
compelling selling point.
hopes to escape that trap by offering high fuel economy
and appealing to different buyers. Just as many
full-size SUV owners switched to more fuel efficient and
convenient crossover models, GM hopes its new pickups
will find a niche as family vehicles.
Colorado looks terrific, and its crew cab four-door
model should offer more passenger space than many
midsize sedans. If GM pairs those factors with good fuel
economy and an attractive price, it could be onto
average pickup on the road today is more than 11 years
old," IHS automotive analyst Stephanie Brinley
said. "A lot of people who have been out of the
market since the recession may be willing to consider a
projects about 100,000 Colorado and Canyon sales in
2015, their first full year on the market. Some sales
will come from the Frontier and Tacoma, but the new
pickups could also attract new buyers.
need to take sales from some other types of
vehicles," Brinley said.
promise to deliver the most fuel-efficient pickups could
help, if the Colorado and Canyon approach the fuel
economy of comparable crossovers and SUVs, such as the
Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, Nissan
Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander.
Colorado, as youíll see at the North American
International Auto Show in January, is smaller than big
pickups, but itís not a toy. At 205.6 to 224.5 inches
long and capable of towing up to 6,700 pounds, itís
roomier and more capable than some full-size pickups
were a decade ago.
pricing will be key," Krebs said. "People are
willing to pay more for well-equipped small cars today
than in the past. That may be true for trucks,