• Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet

"For this customer, smaller is smarter. " – Rich Latek.

The pickup truck segment has never been more competitive in the United States, and General Motors is betting a "smaller is smarter" strategy will help lure new buyers into its fold with the additions of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon to its lineup.

The trucks are launching this fall, and except for a minor recall this month, they've received positive publicity for their looks, capabilities and drive character. The trucks are slightly shorter, narrower and sit lower to the ground than their fullsize brethren. At first glance, it doesn't seem like much – these are still big trucks with considerable presence – but the dimensions make the Colorado and Canyon easier to maneuver and park. GM expects this buyer to use their truck to commute to work, yet still occasionally need to tow and haul on weekends.

"For this customer, smaller is smarter," said GMC marketing director Rich Latek.
It's a strategy Ford and Chrysler have questioned, and they've notably gone their separate ways with the aluminum-bodied F-150 and the diesel-powered Ram. But GM argues the smaller dimensions of its midsize trucks have a big business case. Its research estimates there are 12 million midsize trucks on the road, but only about 250,000 new trucks, like the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, were sold last year.

2015 GMC Canyon

"We think this is an artificially low number," Chevrolet truck marketing director Sandor Piszar said.

That means most midsize truck owners are driving an older vehicle, and their choices for replacements have been limited. It's a segment of the market that simply hasn't had an injection of new product in recent memory. Ford and Chrysler dropped the Ranger and Dakota several years ago, and the Frontier and Tacoma haven't had major updates in years.

"This is one of the most dissatisfied segments," Piszar said.

It's analogous to an army trying to outflank its enemy, and bring the fight to an area where an offensive is unexpected. Theoretically, GM's competitors are vulnerable.

The potential flaw in this strategy is that midsize trucks are a miniscule part of the market right now – there's a reason companies have quit the segment or let their existing entries languish. Other automakers aren't voluntarily giving up sales. They say there's no demand. GM counters that there's few choices to drive demand, and many consumers who would have considered a midsize truck turned to crossovers.

That's where this whole scenario gets interesting: If the Colorado and Canyon are successful, they'll have given GM a considerable advantage in the cutthroat truck market and revitalized a segment that was left for dead.

Other News And Views

Ferrari F60Ferrari celebrates 60 years in US in high style

Ferrari rolled out plenty of pomp and circumstance – and a special model – on Oct. 12 to mark 60 years of sales in the United States. The highlight of the event was the reveal of the F60 America, a special-edition Ferrari for US customers that's already sold out. The F60 is a modified F12 Berlinetta. Ferrari chopped off the roof and added carbon-fiber buttresses in back, 60th anniversary badges on the wheel arches and in the cabin and a styled American flag design in the center of the racing seats. The F60 uses the F12's 6.3-liter V12 with 730 horsepower, and it wears the historic blue and white livery of the Ferrari-supported North American Racing Team.

Ferrari is making 10 copies of the F60, and they're sold out for an estimated price of $2.5 million apiece. The limited run mirrors the number of the 1967 275 GTS4 NART Spider that Enzo Ferrari sent to importer Luigi Chinetti for sale in the US market.

Speaking of limited-run models, the first 458 Speciale A – fresh off its reveal at the Paris Motor Show – was auctioned off for $900,000 as part of the Ferrari festivities. The proceeds went to a charity called Daybreak, which is the American arm of an Italian charity that supports research for curing rare genetic diseases.

Ariel Atom 3SAriel Atom 3S heads to US

And speaking of US-only models, Americans are getting treated to a juiced version of the Ariel Atom 3, called the 3S. Ariel turbocharged the 2.4-liter Honda four cylinder, boosting output to 365 hp, a big-time leap from the naturally aspirated unit's 230 hp.

The package also includes upgraded brakes designed for intense track use, aluminum dampers for the suspension and adjustable traction control. You pay a premium for all of this though, and the price increases from $64,500 in the Atom 3 to $89,975 for the 3S.

Abarth Virtual TourFiat opens up Abarth factory via Google Street View

This was an historic week for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which completed its merger and then listed shares of the newly combined company on the New York Stock Exchange Oct. 13. Gearheads, however, will get a bigger kick out of a new feature launched by Fiat's turning arm, Abarth, called the Abarth Virtual Tour.

It takes you inside the Abarth factory in Turin, Italy, using Google Street View, and enthusiasts can see lifts, the paint shop, significant Abarth cars on display and a reproduction of founder Karl Abarth's office. Naturally, it's a sales tool for the company, and enthusiasts can get more information about kits, accessories and merchandise.

From Our Partners

You May Like
Links by Zergnet
Share This Photo X