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Even as General Motors readies their new Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup, Ford and Chrysler are hedging their bets that consumers won’t return to the floundering small truck market, and continue to opt for full-size pickups instead.
General Motors has claimed that the new Colorado will do most of what a full-size truck can do with substantially reduced running costs. GM’s strategy appears to hinge on rising gas prices and a general trend towards more fuel-efficient vehicles. On the opposite end, Ford is killing off its Ranger pickup entirely, and will offer a replacement in world markets, but not North America. Thailand will be a big market for the Ranger (it’s the world’s largest mid-size pickup nation) and much of the Colorado’s development work was done there.
Studies have shown that the current mid-size truck entries are actually costlier to own once depreciation is factored in. Fuel economy advances in the full-size segment, along with the macho image of a full-size truck have helped contribute to the demise of the mid-size pickup.
Chrysler, which recently killed off their Dakota mid-size pickup, is still exploring whether to bring a new smaller truck to market, with spokesman Dave Elshoff telling Automotive News “We believe there is still a substantial market for small pickups,.. “We’re studying the demographics and business case for a small Ram pickup
[Source: Automotive News]
In not-so-shocking news, Chrysler has officially pulled the plug on the Dodge Dakota compact pickup’s production. The expected move will result in 39 temporary workers losing their jobs and could lead to additional layoffs at Chrysler’s Warren Truck Plant where the Ram 1500 pickup is also produced. The union currently believes that layoffs could reach 150 or more at the plant with the Dakota’s production now discontinued.
Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson did state that in the event of layoffs, many of those employees will be redeployed to other Chrysler facilities – perhaps some good news from all of this for the workers. It had already been announced back in May that Chrysler plans to replace the Dakota with a car-based “lifestyle” vehicle for the Ram brand, but no decision has been made as to where production will be done for that particular vehicle.
In 2000, Chrysler had sold more than 177,000 Dakotas, but when compared to last year’s sales of 13,000, it’s no surprise that the Dakota’s plug has officially been pulled.
[Source: The Detroit News]