GM Betting Heavily on 2014 Mid-Sized Pickups

General Motors North America president Mark Reuss says the company is considering renaming the next-generation GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado mid-sized pickups.

Unlike other automakers, including Ford and Chrysler, which have totally abandoned the mid-sized pickup segment Reuss said, “We’re targeting a new generation of buyer with a new truck.”  The decision by others to exit the segment has been based on decreasing sales over the past few years.  In 2000, GM’s Chevrolet S-10 competed against the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota for its share of industry-wide sales which reached 1 million units.  Last year, that number dropped to just 264,197. The Toyota Tacoma is the current best-selling mid-sized pickup in the U.S. market.

According to Reuss, the competition’s decision to only offer full-sized pickups has created an opportunity for GM.  He contends that there is still a demand for mid-sized pickups among buyers who like their functionality and better fuel economy.

Reuss says, “We believe there will be a growing number of pickup truck buyers in the future that will want fuel economy. With our new trucks, we will be saying: Here is something really fuel efficient.”

The thinking behind GM’s 2014 mid-sized Canyon and Colorado trucks is to offer consumers the styling and features they want, combined with higher fuel economy. Although Reuss will not comment on speculation that GM may offer a diesel option for the redesigned Colorado and Canyon pickups, he did say that the company plans to “attack the West coast with a lifestyle truck that is really beautiful and fun.”

Chrysler Group LLC is apparently considering replacing its Dodge Dakota with a mid-sized model.

Among the risks associated with jumping on the mid-sized truck bandwagon, is the fact that their profit margins are inherently smaller than those of full-sized trucks.

CEO of Chrysler’s Ram truck brand Fred Diaz says, “The market is small. It is very small. So you have to be careful when you explore the opportunity to get back into it.”

In addition to sales, mid-sized trucks are also seen as a way for GM and Chrysler to meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s stricter CAFÉ standards.

The 2014 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are expected to be unveiled this fall.

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