Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is The Compact Pickup Still Relevant?

The compact pickup has become the unloved, redheaded stepchild of the American auto industry. Marketing is non-existent. Even the most popular small pickup in the States, the Toyota Tacoma, gets only the tiniest of television ad time. Usually the ‘Taco’ is relegated to a glimpse in a Toyota ad for other models. It certainly doesn’t get the dedicated print and television advertising that the Tundra enjoys.

Ford has declared that the Ranger (the #2 selling compact pickup) will be replaced with… the Focus and F-150. Basically, telling Americans that they do not see a future with compact pickups in it.

In MahindraPlanet’s humble opinion, the popularity of compact pickups began to wane when the major players (except Ford) all mid-sized their compact pickup offerings. We have no hard evidence to back this up with, but it seems to us that when the manufacturers decided to close the gap between compact and full-sized pickups 5 or 6 years ago, consumers were forced to make a decision between two trucks which weren’t all that different in size compared to the previous model. So, they either super-sized their truck, or resigned themselves to a smaller sedan or SUV.

The past week has seen a couple of great stories emerge on the relevance of small pickup trucks in the United States:

1 - What About the Little Guys? Small Pickups Snubbed in Detroit

Mike Levine gathered quotes from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and Suzuki for their take on the compact pickup market. The debate continues in the comments section with Joe Callimachus (a regular contributor) leading in with a Mahindra rallying call. Of course, MahindraPlanet had to throw our 2 cents in as well.

2 – Will Consumers Buy Compact, Unibody Scion Pickups?

Jason lays out his view on the possibility of a small, cheap, and economical pickup coming from Toyota’s entry-level/youth brand, Scion. Jason makes good points both for and against the concept. It’s a great read. The MP opinion is that there is indeed a place for this truck. It’s a great introduction to Toyota’s truck line, and it’s practical for anyone who needs to carry small loads on occasion and doesn’t want the limitations of a wagon (who makes those anymore anyway?), and certainly doesn’t need a larger pickup.

Also check out: Tata Xenon: Your Next Dodge Dakota?

Sources: TundraHQ and PickupTrucks are also located permanently on the sidebar


cRiPpLe_rOoStEr a.k.a. Kamikaze said...

a compact pickup is still relevant, sure... in some countries there is no brand-new full-size pickups avaliable thru official imports, as a compact can do the same job with a lower operation cost (so do an asian light cabover truck)... but for those people that intend to use their full-size cars to compensate their self-esteem problems it's another deal...

Jason Tundra HQ said...

Dude - thanks for the shout out! Very nice. Thanks for the link too!