GM Considers a Return to ‘True’ Compact Trucks

GM Considers a Return to ‘True’ Compact Trucks

These days, for the sheer number of different nameplates on the market, it appears that actual choices in the types of vehicles available is becoming increasingly limited. One segment that’s probably hardest hit are small pickups. Compared to their heyday in the 1980s, when more than 1 million compact trucks were sold;  just 87,985 compact and mid-size pickups were through April this year (according to J.D. Power and Associates), though many cite the poor choice of vehicles as a major contributing factor to the sales decline in the segment over the last few years.

At present, the best selling vehicles in the small truck category are the Ford Ranger and mid-size Toyota Tacoma, but when the Ranger goes away next year (Ford says it won’t offer a replacement), there will be precious few choices for small trucks. (GM has also announced that the slow selling mid-sized Canyon and Colorado will be phased out, likely in 2012). But to give the General credit, rumors suggest that it is seriously considering a return to true compact trucks, like the old Chevy S10 and GMC S15/Sonoma (a version of which is still built in Brazil for other world markets).

For some, the current Tacoma is too big and too pricey and with the Ranger gone, no cheap, small trucks will be available. For General Motors, this could present a huge opportunity to offer something like a new generation S10, touting the virtues of affordable running costs and fuel economy, which for many vehicle shoppers still represent very important considerations, even though precious few models offer both today. And GM isn’t the only one. There are also rumors that Chrysler is looking at a small pickup truck to replace the Dakota and Toyota’s Scion brand is even considering a small pickup – interesting since compact Toyota trucks of the late 1970s through the early 1990s, were and still are popular with younger buyers and enthusiasts.

If we do see a return to compact pickups, given the proposed CAFE fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks, there’s every indication they could become some of the hottest selling vehicles in the coming decade, much like they were a quarter of a century ago.

[Source: Pickup]

  • Curious George

    “If we do see a return to compact pickups, given the proposed CAFE fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks, there’s every indication they could become some of the hottest selling vehicles in the coming decade, much like they were a quarter of a century ago.”

    IF this is true, then we have to wonder what Alan Mullaly (Ford CEO) is thinking by not only letting the Ranger die on the vine, but not having anything to replace it with.

    Two years ago (w/$4 gas), Ford was looking to turn Mercury into a brand for small and fuel-efficient vehicles. Now (w/2.50 gas), they want to kill Merc. They ought to rethink this (we are one just revolution or nuke test in Iran away from $4-5 gas), and maybe move the Ranger (or a replacement) to Merc, and let Ford be the brand for the bigger trucks.

  • John L. Willicome

    I currently operate a 1996 Chevrolet S10. I am in hopes that a return to this size truck is in the offing. My little S10 has been a great truck. I seldom ever need load capacity larger then what is can carry. And if I do have a greater load size, which is rare, whats the problem? Merely a second trip. It has been reliable and a joy to drive. When you do remake S10 or eqivalent I hope that manual transmission will still be a option. Many of us like to do our own shifting. Good news for me, I’ve been looking at others but not happy with what I see. Go for it.

  • HarryC

    I have owned many trucks, including the S-10 and the Colorado. I got an average of 16 mpg City/HWY with the 6 cyl in the S-10, and close to a 17 mpg City/HWY avg with the Colorado sporting the I5 engine. The Colorado cost about the same, had a larger interior, better ride, more towing capacity. I traded it in on a full size Silverado, but when you are used to a truck taking up less floor space, doing the same job, with better mileage, you will be disappointed.

  • jeaux

    Its time for el camino to return!

  • Timothy J. Duebler

    A return to the compact pickup truck would be extremely wonderful!! I miss a compact truck for the work I do!The mileage was always good plus fun to drive not to mention a good little hauler. This has been something I here quite a bit lately from a variety of people that they miss the compact truck and wish it would’ve never got phased out. It’s time to bring it back!!!

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