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Trucks are big profit generators for automakers. The half-ton and heavy-duty pickup segments are probably the most fiercely competitive categories in the industry. Brands fight tooth and nail for every sale they can make. To move the metal they’re willing to leverage any and every competitive advantage no matter how small. Not surprisingly this winner-take-all mentality is delaying common-sense reform that benefits truck buyers.
Once upon a time trucks were built for work. They had manual door locks, crank windows and AM radios, if they had any sound system at all. Leather seats, air conditioning and voice-activated distractions were out of the question. Like a framing hammer, pickups were simple and effective.
For decades they were purpose-made for hard-working men (and women), the kind of folks that make Paul Bunyan look like a dragqueen. But somewhere along the line these roughneck vehicles became cool with the subdivision set. People living in suburbia started to buy them en masse. With sales increasing so did the clarion call for more comfort.
Today it’s easy to push a simple truck’s window sticker well into luxury-car territory… and beyond. Sure, these vehicles can still handle a 14-hour day on the jobsite and are even more capable than their forebears, but more often than not they’re loaded with costly options that appeal to style-conscious shoppers rather than blue-collar workers. Here’s a list of 10 pricey pickups tailor-made for urban cowboys. The MSRPs are listed without incentives, so actual pricing may vary.
Bland Like Unsalted Popcorn
Are you self-conscious? Don’t like to stand out in a crowd? Would you rather blend into the background than be the center of attention? Well, when it comes to the automotive world, you are in luck. Some vehicles seem to have skipped class when it came time for their styling lesson. This is not to say they are ugly, but more that they lack any style whatsoever.
We’ve all heard the clichés to describe these anonymously styled cars; plain vanilla, beige, white bread, etc. We like to think of them as stylistically-challenged. Regardless, if you don’t want to draw any undue attention towards yourself, here are ten vehicles that are guaranteed to blend into the landscape.
January may be the middle of winter but GM was able to rebuke the cold weather with red-hot sales. The company delivered nearly 195,000 units in the U.S., a 16 percent increase compared to the same month last year.
10. Ford Escape - 261,008 Units Sold
2012 was the best-selling year for automakers since 2007, marking the third year in a row that sales have increased. So now is a great time to look back at the best-selling vehicles from last year.
Coming in 10th place with 261,008 units sold is the Ford Escape which was updated for the 2013 model year. Earlier last year, AutoGuide.com had the opportunity to review the 2013 Ford Escape and we came away surprised by its sleek new look, engine selection, and its great handling. It wasn’t without its cons, but overall the crossover delivered a vastly improved driving experience.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Ford Escape Review – Video
“Segments like the midsize car, where we need to make a big noise against Honda and Toyota, are much better places for Ford to make strong gains, but where we already have a strong presence and people are holding onto their trucks longer than ever before, we’re likely to continue giving customers what they want,” Eric Merkle said at the Motor Press Guild monthly meeting at the Ford Design studio in Irvine, Calif.
That doesn’t mean Ford fans will have to deal with dated drivetrain tech. Merkle was clear in telling the Chicago Tribune that updates will still happen, though cosmetic changes will be minimal. Instead, major changes will be focused on powertrain updates.
Those updates will probably include smaller, more efficient engines given that the company is talking about doing the same with the Mustang, which probably comes the closest to rivaling the pickup truck community’s V8 fanaticism.
There’s another budding branch in the Ford family tree of pickup trucks, one that we reported in August of last year.
“You know we announced the partnership with Toyota,” Merkle said, “to explore the idea of a hybrid pickup truck. … I think it would be kind of cool to use whatever electric generator that might include to run a bunch of power tools or set up a well-stocked campsite,” Merkle said.
Despite what the hardcore truck community might think, there are changes on the horizon for all gas-thirsty vehicles, pickups included. For now, the loyal old school can take comfort in Merkle’s prediction that the F-150 will stay true for the coming years.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford F-150
[Source: Chicago Tribune]
A press release titled “F-150 wins Best Value Award” might seem pretty simple, but the eighth annual “Best Value in America” award isn’t quite as clear. Vinventric, the company bestowing the award, has the full story on its site. It seems that Ford did in fact win, but not to the extent the Ford press release might suggest.
In fact, Chevrolet won the award for “Best Value Truck Brand.” Meanwhile on the Ford press site, the release reads “F-150 beat out Chevrolet Silverado for the second year in a row.”
While Ford did actually win the half-ton segment, Chevrolet won overall and didn’t so much as bother to announce the victory on its site.
“Our awards take into account all costs involved with owning a vehicle, which enables consumers to understand automotive value and measure the impact that owning a specific vehicle will have on their financial situation,” stated David Wurster, President of Vincentric.
Among those costs, Vincentric considers depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost and repairs.
Despite Ford’s efforts to stop GM, the apocalypse-surviving Chevy Silverado commercial aired last night during the Super Bowl.
According to GM, the advertisement was intended as a “good-humored” spoof on the Mayan calendar predictions. Depicting a band of Silverado owners that are navigating across a “completely over-the-top, outrageous version of the devastation and destruction predicted to occur this year by the Mayan calendar,” the ad also features giant attack robots, meteors, and frogs that are falling from the sky. The punch line is when the gang of Silverado owners realized one of their friends did not survive because they drove a Ford rather than “the longest lasting, most dependable truck on the road.”
Ford took issue with the ad and we now know what the company said in a formal letter sent to GM requesting for the ad to be pulled. Representing lawyer Lynne M. Matuszak wrote, “Ford demands that Chevrolet immediately cease and desist from making any unsubstantiated and disparaging claims regarding Ford’s pickup trucks.” Matuszak’s letter further demanded that GM, “permanently remove the commercial from its website, its YouTube and Facebook pages and any other internet sites.”
Ford’s letter then warned, “If Chevrolet does not comply with the above terms prior to the start of the Super Bowl, then Ford will take all appropriate steps to enforce and protect its reputation.”
Taking it a step further, Ford called out the Silverado’s safety record, noting that the 2012 Ford F-150 earned an IIHS Top Safety pick while the Silverado received less than impressive side impact, rear crash, and rollover results.
GM’s global chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick and GM are committed to broadcasting the ad and sharing it on YouTube. Joel Ewanick said, ”We stand by our claims in the commercial, that the Silverado is the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickup on the road. The ad is a fun way of putting this claim in the context of the apocalypse. We can wait until the world ends, and if we need to, we will apologize. In the meantime, people who are really worried about the Mayan calendar coming true should buy a Silverado right away.”
Like Coca Cola versus Pepsi, the clash of Ford vs. GM will last for many years to come. We will be expecting a humorous and entertaining rebuttal ad from Ford soon.
[Source: Detroit News]
Why not watch the ad again below:
Shoving small block engines into short bed, half-ton trucks is nothing new. But a supercharged LS9 from a Corvette ZR1 into a Chevrolet Silverado pickup? Now that’s something worth checking out.
Aside from the side exit exhaust on the truck – which is a pretty common modification on Silverados – absolutely nothing else has been done to it on the exterior, giving no hint as to what waits underneath the hood. The video shows off the acceleration of the truck as well as a dyno pull, whipping down 510-hp and 504 lb-ft of torque. That’s at least 205-hp and 169 lb-ft of torque over the most powerful factory powerplant Chevy offers in their four-wheel-drive Silverado.
Check out the video after the break.
[Source: Bang Shift]
General Motors Co. may reduce production of pickup trucks after inventories rose last month. GM’s truck inventory rose to more than 275,000 at the end of April working out to about 111 days of supply, according to Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S sales. GM dealers had about 264,000 trucks on their lots last month.
GM’s U.S sales climbed 26 percent to 232, 538 vehicles in April compared to 183,997 a year earlier. Large pickup trucks have been a key driver of the auto industry’s sales recovery as small business owners begin to replace aging vehicles.
Mark Reuss, GM president for North America, said today, ”We’re going to do something about it, but we haven’t made those calls yet,” Reuss said in a telephone interview. Buyers shifted away from trucks last month, “but no one month makes a trend, so we’ve got to see where this one holds,” Reuss said.
[Source: Automotive News]
Last year Cadillac took a leap into modern times by offering its new CTS model with Wi-Fi. Now, Chevy has announced that it will offer a dealer-installed Wi-Fi service for seven models including the: Equinox, Traverse, Silverado, Tahoe, Suburban, Avalanche and Express.
The on-board system will transform a vehicle (as well as the area within 150 feet) into a Wi-Fi hotspot, letting users surf the internet freely. Passengers can check Facebook or Twitter and even watch YouTube videos thanks to a 3G network connection of up to 1.5 mbps.
In addition the system can support several devices simultaneously and with additional docking stations, the router can be moved from vehicle to vehicle.
Until December 31st, Chevy is offering the Wi-Fi as an option for $199.
Official release after the jump:
Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150 now included in list of top 10 vehicles purchased
When the U.S. government first released its list of the most popular Cash for Clunkers vehicles traded in as well as those purchased there seemed to be no surprises. It looked like consumers were getting rid of their Ford Explorers for Priuses. But after taking a longer look at the data, it seems that might not have been the case after all, as two trucks, the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado, were actually among the top ten vehicles purchased under the Clunkers program.
The reason for the change is that the initial listing classified vehicles specific to their drivetrain, meaning that a rear-drive or four-wheel drive pickup would count as two separate trucks. But by looking at just the vehicle model, the Silverado takes now takes the 8th spot, while Ford’s F-150 sits in 10th. Another winner was the Honda CR-V, which moved from outside the top 10 to sixth place.
As a result, three vehicles that are no longer in the top 10 are the Honda Accord, the tiny Honda Fit and (gasp!) the Toyota Prius.
These new numbers suggest that the Obama Administration’s plan to promote the sale of fuel-efficient vehicles might not have worked as effectively as planned, with the average fuel-economy of the new vehicles rated at 19 mpg, as compared to an average of 35 mpg for the three vehicles dropped from the list. No one can argue that the CARS legislation did, however, give a significant boost to the auto industry – if only temporarily.
Tough economic times often bring about shifts in the marketplace and one such example can be found in the light-duty pickup truck market. In the month of June the Chevy Silverado out-sold the Ford F-150, but that’s not what the numbers appear to say at first.
While the entire F-Series lineup (including the F-150 as well as the F-250 and F-350 work horses) did account for more sales at 173,646 units as compared the the Silverado’s (1500, 2500 and 3500) 149,949 units, when you eliminate the heavy-duty players and just look at the light-duty segment the Silverado is king.
In fact, according to pickuptrucks.com, this isn’t an anomaly either, as these June numbers are actually a continuation of the Silverado’s light-duty dominance.
The Silverado was also able to grab a larger share of the marketplace in July, with a total share of 32.4 percent of the light-duty segment, up from 31.5 percent. Surprisingly the F-150 also grew its share from 28 percent to 29.1 percent, while the Dodge Ram grew from 13.6 percent to 15.8 percent.
And as the big three players all grew, the bottom-feeders got hammered in June with Toyota, Nissan and GMC all losing market share.
In the heavy-duty segment, Ford continued to embarrass the competition with almost 50 percent of the market, something which drastically bolsters it’s overall F- Series numbers.
Interestingly, this story is the second bit of good news for the Chevy brand in June, as the Camaro also out-sold the Mustang for the first time since 1993.
Silverado, Tahoe, Sierra and Yukon now offered in more efficient Xtra Fuel Economy packages
In a move to keep up with the high price of fuel, as well as deal with environmental concerns, GM has developed new XFE-models of some of its most popular trucks. The Xtra Fuel Economy (XFE) package will be offered on the 2009 Silverado, Tahoe, Sierra and Yukon trucks.
The significant alterations to the trucks, in terms of their mechanical makeup, weight and aerodynamics result in an EPA-estimated five percent increase in highway fuel economy and a more than seven percent increase in city fuel economy.
The trucks now achieve a 15/21 (city/highway) rating compared to the 14/20 rating for non-XFE models.
Importantly, the XFE models do not get a reduction in power. The XFE package is available on 2WD models equipped with the 5.3-liter V-8 with the six-speed transmission. On Silverado and Sierra models, the six-speed transmission gets a high-capacity cooling package to deliver a 7,000 lb towing capacity – up from the standard model’s 6,600-lb towing capacity. All XFE models come quipped with a fuel-saving 3.08 rear axle.
Other factors for the improved fuel-economy include lightweight wheels with low rolling resistance tires, lighter suspension components and improved aerodynamics.
A full list of all the unique XFE features is listed after the jump: