The fate of the small pickups in the hands of U.S. automakers is uncertain. The U.S. sales of the Ford Ranger, which had once led the mid-size pickup segment, are ending. The Chevrolet Colorado compact truck will still be around past the 2012 model year, according to General Motors Co. Meanwhile, Chrysler Group is considering if it will replace the Dakota, which had stopped production last August.
Ford is anticipating that it will be able to maintain its share of full-size trucks by focusing its resources on the F-Series. GM is hoping that with the increasing gasoline prices, the buyers will return to the mid-size segment.
It may even convince small-truck owners to move to large pickups. The prices of mid-size pickups are nearly the same as their full-size counterparts but there isn’t a significant advantage in terms of fuel economy. R.L. Polk & Co.’s Tom Libby said that there are doubts on whether this declining segment remains viable. He said that there’s the trend is leaning towards smaller vehicles due to the need to meet fuel economy standards.
He added, “It’s an unsettled situation.” Full-size trucks continue to be the best-selling vehicles for the U.S. car companies as GM and Chrysler had reorganized under U.S.-supported bankruptcies in 2009.
From 2006 through 2008, Ford recorded losses of $30.1 billion before it became profitable again. When it comes to U.S. vehicle sales, Ford’s F-Series ranked No. 1 and GM’s Silverado is at No. 2. Ford spokesman Mike Levine said that the sales figures can’t be argued with. Obviously, the demand is high for full-size pickups and so this is where Ford will allocate time and investment, according to Levine.