By: Chris Girard
Twenty years ago the small truck market was booming. There was a new segment of the market that was not being catered to. People who needed the functionality of a pickup truck but needed the fuel efficiency of a car. This is where the concept of small pickups came into play. However in recent years the small market has declined to increased fuel efficiency of full sized trucks. This leads many people to ask if the small truck market is dead.
In 1995 both Toyota and Ford redesigned their models for a small, compact and fuel efficient truck. What was the final result was the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma. These models bath came equipped with a small four cylinder engine which was very fuel efficient. These trucks were mostly marketed to people who liked having the utility of a truck for projects around the home but needed to still have the ability to drive into large cities and travel far distances. 1996 was the first year that three other Truck makers played into the small truck market. Chevy and GMC released their small truck concepts the S-10 and Sonoma respectively. Dodge released its small yet powerful Dakota the same year. These tucks followed the same idea with a small cab, small six foot bed and a small engine for fuel efficiency.
Many people began to flock to these small trucks in the early 2000’s with gas prices beginning to skyrocket with no end in sight. Many manufactures did their best sales for small trucks between 2001 and 2004 selling nearly 3.4 million small trucks. Many people simply could not afford to keep fueling their gas guzzling 8 cylinder trucks and were willing to sacrifice some power for the saving in fuel costs.
Fast forward to today. Many of the original small trucks are no longer on the market. The Ford Ranger stopped production in 2011 along with the Dodge Dakota. Chevy and GMC also halted their productions in early 2008. This simply left Toyota as the sole producer of small trucks in the United States for nearly 3 years. Because of this Toyota has captured a large part of the market and gained a very loyal customer base. What has also happened in the last few years is that technology has changed drastically. Ford has a new engine line out in their full sized trucks which offer a V6 engine and get nearly the same amount of miles per gallon as the smaller 4 cylinder engines.
With Toyota owing a large share of the market other auto manufactures decided to get back into the ring. In late 2014 Chevy unveiled their newest redesigned truck the 2015 Chevy Colorado. The truck featured a much sportier look and got away from the stigma of an American designed truck with their boxy look and low ground clearance. The Colorado offers all of the luxuries and trim packages that are available on their full sized pickups. With the new release of Chevys truck the company is hoping to bring some life back to the fading small truck market.