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Since GM exited the medium duty market with its Chevy Kodiak and GMC TopKick trucks in 2009, a number of dealers have been feeling the pinch. Gordon Moore, from McCormick Motors in Nappanee, Indiana, says that the lack of any mid-duty product on his lots is causing would be customers to shop elsewhere. The problem is that both Ford and Ram offer both light and medium duty trucks, essentially allowing their commercial customers to do one stop shopping at their dealers for their specific needs. “The more simple and direct solution you can provide people for the range of vehicles they need, the better off, they’re going to be,” he says.
With GM not currently offering any medium duty trucks it makes little sense for buyers to shop at one store for light duty pickups and then go to a different store to acquire different brand, medium duty vehicles. Although according to Moore, McCormick Motors has yet to feel the true impact of no medium duty trucks, sales of light duty rigs are so far up only slightly from last year and still significantly below pre-recession volumes.
GM sought a buyer for its medium duty trucks, but when deals with Isuzu and Navistar fell through, it pulled the plug on the Kodiak and TopKick. At present, there are rumors that the company is looking to re-enter the medium duty market, possibly via a joint venture with Freightliner or Navistar, but there’s been no official word from the General as of yet. In the meantime, those GM dealers (like McCormick Motors) that traditionally sold a lot of commercial vehicles are doing what they can to retain those customers, but it’s a tough battle.
[Source: Automotive News]
Hot on the heels of announcing impressive payload and towing figures for its Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra Heavy-Duty trucks; General Motors has stated that it is seriously looking to re-enter the medium duty truck market. Last year, the General exited this segment, winding down production of its Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC Topkick class 5-7 trucks, after deals to sell the medium-duty business to Isuzu and Navistar International fell through.
However, in an about turn, it looks like the General might return to the segment. According to Joyce Mattman, Director of GM’s Commercial Vehicle operations, there are several different strategies that could be taken. One is to go after the class 5/6 market, in which the Kodiak and TopKick competed, but another is to go for the class 4/5 segment, the realm of 1-ton chassis cabs, which are popular with small delivery firms and contractors. “We’ve competed in class 4 before,” says Mattman. “Our C3500 HD was popular and the thing our customers liked about it, was that it had a light-duty pickup cab and they could get between houses and down alleys for deliveries and utility work, places where many traditional medium-duty trucks can’t.”
Given that Ford and Ram already compete in the 4/5 category with their F-450 and 4500 chassis cab rigs, a GM entry would seem a no-brainer, aided by the fact that such a truck could use much of the existing Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra HD hardware. In the meantime with a sizable void in the market, GM commercial dealers are doing what they can to survive, selling left-over Kodiak and TopKick vehicles to those customers who still want a medium-duty GM truck.