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Early on, many people assumed the truck would immediately succeed the recently discontinued generation as a 2013 model, but those assumptions are turning up false. In fact the new Colorado, pictured above, will take another two years to make its North American debut in 2014 as a 2015 model. While it might seem odd that the small truck is being delayed for this part of the world, there are good reasons for the decision.
GM probably couldn’t bring the new Colorado to market right away, even if it wanted to. Last November the company announced its plans to use the Wentzville, Mo. assembly plant to produce the truck, but preparing for that production is time consuming. While it may be possible to get the plant ready in time, it probably isn’t cost-effective.
Even if it were, the world-marketed Colorado isn’t designed for North Americans. Right now, it’s sold with a 2.8-liter diesel engine and is designed with worldwide customers in mind. The company used much of the same strategy in marketing and designing its Cruze, Spark and Sonic — first selling them globally only to redesign them for the U.S. It seems GM is going about the new Colorado in much the same way.
As is often true, it won’t come as a surprise to find different engine options for the North American Colorado than the version sold globally. Even still, it isn’t clear what to expect when the truck finally launches. According to GM Inside News, the company plans to offer its new 2.5-liter four cylinder or 3.6-liter V6, though there isn’t any word on a diesel variant Stateside.
[Source: GM Inside News]
With the end of North American Ford Ranger production last month, Ford’s loss is reportedly Nissan‘s gain as the Japanese automaker ramps up marketing efforts on it’s mid-size Frontier pickup.
Even though the Ranger remained the top selling small pickup last year (70,832 bought in the US during 2011), Nissan’s Frontier also gained ground, posting an increase of some 28 percent, resulting in 51,700 finding owners.
Now that Ford has exited the segment, Al Castignetti, Nissan’s US Sales Supremo, sees a real opportunity for Nissan to re-assert its dominance in the smaller truck sector, the only true competitor on the horizon at present being Toyota’s Tacoma.
If that happens, it could almost be a return to the 1970s when between them, Toyota and Nissan practically owned the US small truck market, the Domestics relying on “captive” import models from Isuzu and Mazda since they didn’t have their own at the time.
For Nissan, smaller trucks have always been a staple and unlike the now departed Ranger, the Frontier (internally coded D40) is a truly global truck, sold in other markets as the Navara where it has been consistently popular since its introduction in 2004 as an ’05 model.
That said, in the full-size segment, it’s a different story. Nissan’s Titan, now getting long in the tooth, failed to make the impact the automaker hoped for and last year, sold less than 22,000 copies in the US; Ford by contrast, moved almost 585,000 F-Series trucks in the same period.
Part of the problem with the Titan, has been the lack of configurations and options compared with trucks like the F-Series, along with real credibility in the full-size segment.
However, given its expertise in smaller trucks, Nissan really has a chance, at least in the short term to reap the benefits of the Ranger’s departure, especially now that the Frontier, besides its global status, is an established player and increasingly profitable due to its longevity in the marketplace.
Even in the longer term, if tighter fuel economy standards lead to a surge in demand for smaller, more fuel efficient trucks, Nissan could also make significant gains; rumors of GM re-joining the segment as well as Scion potentially offering a pickup type vehicle, along with Jeep, indicate there is still life in smaller trucks.
In the meantime, Nissan will do what it can to keep interest in the existing Frontier. “We’ve got our dealers reinvigorated on the truck and got our marketing out there,” said Castignetti recently. “We’re having great success with it.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Continuing with a look at some of the “themed” pickup trucks on display at this year’s SEMA show, we bring you the Toyota Oakley Surf Tacoma.
This one, as you might imagine was done in conjunction with famed surfing company Oakley and to quote Toyota’s official press release “has the ability to live at the beach and go anywhere in search of mega waves; from the coast of Baja to the cold water of Santa Cruz, California.”
Features include a purpose-built racking system for storing surfboards, bags and other equipment, plus a modified pickup bed with storage for wetsuits, plus an ice chest and barbeque grill. There’s even a retractable canopy so you and a few of your surfing friends can enjoy a cold drink and a hot meal in the shade, while a built in shower system means you can get rid of all that salt from wave riding before chowing down.
Inside, the cab boasts Wet Okole Hawaii seat covers with custom embroidery, plus Topstitch on the door panels, carpet and headliner. There’s also a thumping Kicker Audio system and of course a signature Oakely icon.
While the Tacoma’s stock V6 is a decently potent engine, for a SEMA show truck, a little excess was called for and Toyota engineers bolted on a supercharger kit from the company’s TRD parts catalog, resulting in 304 hp. Other performance mods include a Flowmaster free flowing stainless exhaust, plus suspension upgrades in the shape of an Icon Stage 3 lift kit; Billet front upper control arms, special coil over front springs and new leaf springs out back. Wheels are black finished Walker Evans 17 x 8-inch bead lock units mounted on BF Goodrich 285/75-17 all-terrain tires.
Outside, the truck is finished in menacing black with contrasting white Oakley graphics and logs, plus Vision X front driving lights, a custom front bumper incorporating a winch and under vehicle skid plates.
Once it’s duties at SEMA is over, the Oakley Surf Tacoma will begin a new lease of live, being taken to each and every Oakley Surfing competition in the land; not a bad idea by all accounts.
GALLERY: Oakley Surf Tacoma
In Bangkok, Thailand today, Chevrolet finally took the wraps off the production version of the new 2012 mid-size Colorado pickup. The result of a five-year vehicle program estimated at some $2 billion, the new truck promises to deliver more features, technology and value than any mid-size bowtie pickup before.
Considering that much of the R&D and development work was done in Thailand, that country is the new Colorado’s launch market, Thai customers being offered a choice of 26 different combinations, which include two new Duramax diesel engines, in 2.5 and 2.8-liter forms, a choice of regular, extended and crew cab configurations, narrow and wide bodies, plus two or four-wheel drive.
Chevy plans to offer the new Colorado in some 60 markets worldwide, including other parts of Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Note that there’s no mention of the US.
It seems, just like Ford, GM is content to offer mid-size pickups elsewhere, leaving buyers here stuck with full-size rigs, at least for the time being. It’s a shame, as the new Colorado appears to be a highly capable machine and if it were sold here, would prove a worthy alternative to the likes of the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, which essentially have that segment of the market all to themselves.
Some of the highlights of the new Colorado include all-new sheetmetal and interiors, standard five-speed manual gearbox, optional Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission and an electrically activated two-speed transfer case on 4 x 4 models.
The two new Duramax diesels also promise to be quite the performers, the 2.5-liter unit churns out 150 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.8 (which incorporates a variable geometry turbocharger and balance shaft), makes 180 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque (346 lb-ft with the six-speed automatic).
Chevy says it plans to reveal more specs and features in the near future, though even at this stage, it appears the new Colorado will give the recently introduced ‘global’ Ford Ranger, a real run for its money.
Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Colorado
Despite getting long in the tooth, Nissan isn’t giving up on its stalwart F-Alpha pickups just yet. For 2012 the now almost seven-year-old trucks have been injected with a bit of new life, thanks to a pair of quite comprehensive appearance packages.
The full-size Titan, the so-called Sport Appearance Package adds body colored bumpers, Dark Hyper Silver grille, black step rails, a set of 20-inch alloy wheels and a lockable storage compartment inside the bed. Moving to the cabin, the SAP adds white faced gauges and seats with special ‘Titan’ embroidery.
On the mid-size Frontier, the Sport Appearance Package follows a similar theme. Offered on the SV King Cab and Crew Cab models, it adds the dark grille, the body colored bumpers, special Frontier graphics and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside white faced gauges can be found, along with special cloth sports seats and even a Bluetooth hands-free system.
In terms of pricing the Frontier Sport Appearance Package will set you back an additional $1,190 over the cost of the truck, while the Titan SAP retails for $2,490 on top of one of these big rigs.
It’s almost ready to rumble, but unfortunately, it won’t be doing any rumbling here. In an official press release, General Motors has stated that the new Chevrolet Colorado will indeed be built for ‘rest of the world’ consumption, much like its new Ford Ranger competitor.
The ‘global’ Colorado (currently undergoing final testing – see above) will be offered in a choice of extended and crew cab configurations and feature 2.5 and 2.8 liter Duramax diesel engine options under the hood with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions. It will be assembled at GM’s facility in Rayong, Thailand, which has undergone a tooling upgrade of some $300 million to handle production of the new truck and Thailand, understandably will be the Colorado’s launch market.
Launches in other markets across Asia and the Pacific Rim, as well as Africa, the Middle East and South America will follow.
Having spent much time in Thailand during the vehicle’s development process, in order to gauge the kind of buyers found in the local pickup market as well as driving conditions many trucks are subjected to, Colorado chief engineer Roberto Rempel and his team believe that Chevy’s new mid-size pickup is more than up to the task.
“We know customers of this type of vehicle want a workhorse and a daily-use vehicle all in one, so our product has to deliver. We have benchmarked the toughest, most flexible vehicles around the world,” Rempel said. “When you combine that approach with our detailed consideration of global expectations, we are confident the new Colorado will be a winner.”
So why can’t we in North America have one?
Chevy’s next generation global Colorado pickup was first revealed at the Bangkok Motor Show back in March; now a, striking double cab ‘Rally Concept’ version has made an appearance on the other side of the world, this time at the Buenos Aires International Motor Show in Argentina.
Although still a show truck, the Rally Concept’s styling likely predicts the future DNA of Chevrolet trucks, both large and small. The 4WD rig is finished in silver with aggressive Charcoal lower body cladding and is fitted with a raft of off-road equipment, including front and rear winches, monstrous 305/60R18 tires mounted on striking 18 inch wheels, adjustable height suspension, sturdy Rally car style acrylic quarter windows designed to resist damage and cool the interior, plus LED exterior lighting.
Inside, the concept boasts a rally inspired interior with LED instruments, Air Boost ventilation system, rally computer and multi adjustable sport bucket seats covered in Neoprene. Under the hood is a torquey 2.8-liter diesel engine.
Production of the new Colorado is slated to begin later this year and although at present there are no ‘officia’l plans to bring the vehicle stateside, rumors of such a move continue to persist.
It might be hard to imagine, considering that it sold just 40,727 of them last year, but when you add up the totals over the last 14 years Nissan has actually built one million Frontier pickups at it’s Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant, spanning two generations.
Nevetheless, the compact truck market is not the popular segment it once was. The only true compact truck left, the Ford Ranger, bows out after this year, leaving so-called ‘mid-size,’ rigs, the Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon and Dodge Dakota to pickup up the pieces, even though, the remaining domestic brand trucks are not long for this world either.
It’s a far cry from the late 1970s and 1980s, when compact trucks were one of the hottest things going and individual models, like Nissan’s own Hardbody regularly sold in excess of 100,000 units.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if Nissan sells another million small trucks over the next 14 years. Given that many manufacturers who peddle vehicles stateside have either abandoned the concept of smaller pickups, or at the very least not chosen to really update existing models, as it stands, that might be a hard goal to achieve.
Time and again it’s been revealed that there still is a substantial market for small pickups, especially with higher fuel prices currently a reality, only there’s very little choice. Perhaps it’s about time the automakers changed that.
General Motors is fond of releasing ‘teaser’ images for its up and coming vehicles, the latest of which is the picture you see here.
It’s designed to give us a clue as to what the next generation Chevy Colorado pickup will look like. Smaller trucks are very popular outside North America, especially in the Middle and Far East. In fact, GM has chosen Thailand to introduce it’s next mid-size pickup (the Colorado will be unveiled at the Bangkok Auto Show on March 25).
This probably isn’t surprising, as trucks currently account for around 43 percent of all auto sales in that country. Thailand is also the manufacturing point for the rest of the world’s Ford Ranger, which the Blue Oval announced not too long ago.
However, unlike the Ranger; GM is not giving up on the North American market when it comes to small trucks, one source says that the new Colorado was specifically engineered to conform to U.S. and Canadian federal requirements as well as market tastes, though at present, there’s scant information on equipment, engines and features.
Nevertheless, the fact that GM is thinking about keeping a smaller truck for North American buyers is an encouraging sign for those looking to replace their S-10s and first gen Colorados/Canyons. Perhaps Ford should take note from all this, currently the Blue Oval has no plans to replace the hoary (but still popular) compact Ranger in this part of the world, much to the chagrin of many would be pickup buyers.
General Motors has announced that is recalling some 192,676 2004-11 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup regular and extended cab models (plus certain 2008-09 Isuzu i280/i370 trucks) fitted with 60/40 split front bench seats because of tether issues for child seats.
According to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards applicable in the U.S. and Canada, the location of the top tethers on the center part of these seats means they aren’t accessible for properly securing child seats. Although to date, there have been no reported instances of injuries resulting from this issue, GM is urging customers who own one of these vehicles to contact their local dealer as soon as possible to have the tethers modified.
The dealer will fix the problem at any time and free of charge, regardless of the age or mileage of the vehicle. In the meantime GM is stressing that owners of these trucks, if they are going to install a child seat, should secure it on the right side of the front seat, where the top tether is more accessible and the child chair can be better secured in place.
If you’ve ever attended the SEMA show, then you’re probably no doubt aware of the sizable number of customized trucks parked out in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the week long aftermarket extravaganza.
This year, among them will be a very special Toyota Tacoma – the X-Runner RTR. In what perhaps represents a modern take on the original muscle truck concept, stuffing a big engine in a smaller vehicle, the RTR (which stands for Ready To Race); features an iForce 5.7-liter V8 dropped between the frame rails of a current Tacoma. Rated at 381 horsepower (the same as in the production Tundra) it should be able to move this rig from 0-60 mph in around six seconds, though Toyota is quick to point out, that save for a modified exhaust system to clear the Tacoma’s frame, the engine is essentially stock. As per SEMA tradition, however, expect the outside and interior to be fitted with plenty of TRD accessories (a 2008 X-Runner concept is shown in the photos, since images of the new truck were not available at post time).
This year’s SEMA trade expo, runs from November 2-5 and as it stands, the Tacoma X-Runner RTR will likely be a star among truck enthusiasts attending the event. All we’ve got say when it comes to the muscle truck concept is – Ford and GM, are you listening?
AutoGuide will bring you full SEMA Coverage starting November 2nd.
[Source: Pickup trucks.com]
A recall has been issued on approximately 20,692 Suzuki brand vehicles (including 2009-2010 Equator pickups, Grand Vitara and SX4 models) for defective navigation systems. The vehicles, which were originally equipped with Garmin Nuvi 750; 760 and 765 systems are being recalled for batteries in the nav system that could overheat and potentially start interior fires.
Suzuki has said that it will begin notifying owners of the recall on September 13 and once the vehicle is brought in, a Garmin representative will replace the defective batteries and install a spacer on top of them to prevent overheating.
Equator owners with questions concerning the GPS recall, are able to either contact Garmin directly at 1-866-957-1981 or Suzuki at 1-887-697-8985. They can also visit Garmin’s website at http://www.garmin.com/nuvibatterypcbrecall.
[Source: Pickup trucks.com]
Given all the hoopla surrounding Toyota and its publicized recalls, it probably isn’t surprising that many products, including the Tacoma are essentially marking time. But in an effort to standardize quality and production processes, Toyota has moved Tacoma production to the same Texas plant that builds the Tundra.
The above picture shows a pilot batch of new 2011 Tacomas undergoing final checks at TMMTI (Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas Inc.) – production versions began rolling off the line last week and will shortly be shipping to dealers. The only noticeable change is a simpler grille pattern with a single, center mounted bar, as opposed to the twin bar design found on 2010 models. The design is a carry-over from the new 2010 4Runner. A flexible manufacturing process at the Texas plant now allows both Tacomas and Tundras to roll down the line back to back if necessary in response to consumer demand.
And with the demise of the Ford Ranger and the GMC twins, the Tacoma and Nissan Frontier will be the only remaining true pickups on the market not classed as full-size trucks, giving them a chance to acquire more customers in the segment. However as much as the Tacoma has received acclaim for its engineering features and capability, it’s relatively high price continues to be sore point among a segment of truck buyers.
Given that the Mazda B-series has been binned, Ford’s Ranger will bite the dust next year and GM is planning to kill the Colorado/Canyon, the choice for buyers of mid-size pickups will become fewer and fewer, with only the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier remaining as true contenders. Nissan isn’t giving up on the Frontier just yet (as the Navara it’s hugely popular in other world markets) and for 2011 is dishing up a few updates.
Like bigger brother Titan, trim levels have been changed to S, SV and SL from XE, SE and LE, while the PRO-4X off-road specialty truck carries on, essentially unaltered. Configurations remain King or Crew Cab with a choice of short or long boxes; 2.5-liter, 152 hp four-cylinder and 4.0-liter, 261 hp V-6 engines, manual or automatic transmissions (depending on trim level) and two or four-wheel drive.
The biggest differences for 2011 concern dropping the six-speed manual gearbox option on SL King Cab and SV Crew Cab models, while adding it to the S and PRO-4X King Cab trucks. In addition, standard child tether anchors have been added to all King Cab trucks, while the four-cylinder SV truck now adopts the same interior trim as its V6 engined counterpart. SV trucks can now be ordered with a Premium Utility package, while the PRO-4X can be ordered with a Luxury package (confused yet?). In addition, Navy Blue paint will be offered on the SV. The 2011 Frontiers are scheduled to go on sale in September 2010, roughly a month after the 2011 Titan.