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Could Small Trucks Vanish?

2010 Chevrolet Colorado

2010 Chevrolet Colorado

Enlarge Photo is reporting today that General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz skipped a mention of either the Chevrolet Colorado or the GMC Canyon when discussing the future of the company's product portfolio this morning. When asked about it, he indicated that the future of both models is uncertain and that they might vanish.

Both the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota are going away in the coming years--although the Dakota may be replaced by another light-duty pickup truck--and it looks like GM is going to shut down the plant in Louisana where the Colorado and Canyon are produced.

This is head-scratching news, given that small trucks are used by businesses and private residents for various hauling duties, and given that small trucks tend to be more fuel-efficient than larger ones. The fuel-economy argument is especially important, because corporate-average fuel-economy standards are only going to be going up over the next decade.

It is true that sales for light trucks have fallen, but much of that has been due to the success of crossover SUVs, not to mention the fact that many truck-buyers are reluctant to abandon full-size pickups. But falling sales also have to do with a lack of marketing for these trucks on the part of Detroit Three, the overall industry sales slump, and the fact that none of the three--Dakota, Ranger, or the GM twins--have undergone a recent redesign or upgrade. Modernizing these trucks a bit and throwing some advertising muscle behind them might ensure that these trucks are used as more than just delivery vehicles.


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