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Where Have All The Small Trucks Gone?

Remember the days of small trucks? The Chevrolet S10, the Ford Ranger, the Dodge Dakota, even Toyota’s Tacoma used to be small in the 1990s (The Tacoma now looks like it took a few cycles of steroids and is almost as big as the Sequoia.) These trucks were extremely popular back in the day. So, what happened from then until now which caused these smaller trucks to go the way of the dinosaurs?

In the early 2000s gas got a little cheaper, so people were more willing to buy the bigger, heavier, less fuel efficient trucks. However, the biggest thing that killed the little trucks were their big brothers. A lot of customers would simply pay a little more to upgrade to the bigger option. The cost of buying the small Chevrolet Canyon compared to the bigger Silverado was only a couple grand. Dealers said the two cars were priced too similarly. Both of these things lead to a small truck market collapse 15 years ago.

- The Ford Ranger was last sold in the USA in 2011

- The Chevrolet S10 and GMC Sonoma were last sold in the USA 2004. Replaced by the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon which never saw great success. The Canyon and Colorado were discontinued in 2012

- The Dodge Dakota’s last year sold in the states was 2011.

- The Tacoma is still being sold but it put on a few pounds. The current Tacoma looks like it ate the 1995 version of itself.

A Small Truck Renaissance?

Only two years after stopping production on the Canyon and Colorado, GM thinks there is an opportunity in the small truck market segment. Gas has once again gotten pricier, but more importantly the price gap between small trucks and large trucks has gotten large. Instead of only having to spend a couple thousand more to upgrade to a Silverado, a customer would pay up to $12,000 in some cases.

The large price gap is mainly due to full-sized truck prices increasing rapidly over the last few years. The average price of a full sized truck is now a whopping $37,568. The base 2015 Colorado will come in at $20,995. That’s a huge difference.

GM seems to be the only one that’s going to try this. So, if it works they could corner a nice little market. Or it could also take away sales from their Silverado and Sierra which are their best selling vehicles. I think they just need to make sure they can keep the pricing gap as large as it currently is. I have always thought of buying a new truck but didn’t want to have to sell my kidney on the black market to afford one. With the reentry of these small trucks I may not have to do that.

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