The full-size pickup market is about to be turned upside down. Competition in the next 12 to 24 months will be fierce. Nissan and Toyota each have redesigned pickups on the horizon. Chevrolet and GMC recently unveiled the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500, respectively, and GM’s new mid-sized pickups—the Colorado and the Canyon—will take aim at the Toyota Tacoma and, in a bold move, full-size pickups. It’s no wonder, then, that Ford is trying to grab the spotlight at next month’s Detroit auto show.
A day after GM’s full-size reveals, a story from Reuters says Ford will introduce the next-generation F-150 at the Detroit show. The unveiling will be a concept that depicts the styling for the 2015 F-150, an industry source told Car and Driver. While pundits accuse Ford of trying to upstage GM, Ford is merely taking a defensive strategy to protect its turf. The F-Series has been the best-selling pickup for 35 years. Ford is signaling pickup buyers, “Wait until the 2015 F-150 is on sale.”
Ford’s concern is not limited to the redesigned Silverado and Sierra. Nearing their introduction are the redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra and 2015 Nissan Titan pickups. Nissan plans to expand its model and engine lines, making the new pickup a real threat to the Detroit Three.
But that’s not the only new competition Ford and the rest of the industry will face. Three smaller pickups are being redesigned: the 2014 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and the 2015 Toyota Tacoma. In the past, those GM nameplates weren’t considered competition for the full-size market. But this new generation will be more capable, refined, and bigger.
GM’s Mark Reuss has expressed confidence some full-size pickup buyers will make the switch. Reuss calls the Colorado “mid-size” and says GM’s pickups will have 85 to 90 percent of the capability of a full-size truck. The Colorado is expected to offer noticeably better fuel economy compared to a full-size pickup, too. But Ford isn’t standing still, promising a 2- to 4.5-mpg increase over today’s F-150, according to Reuters. Reuss says both the Colorado and the Canyon will have eye-catching interiors and technology commonly found in full-size rigs. Finally, a deal maker may be pricing, which will start below the base stickers of full-size pickups.
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Ford is not taking its number-one ranking for granted, so it’s no surprise that the Dearborn-based automaker will be tooting its horn, spotlighting the 2015 F-150 concept at the show. But, just as GM experienced this week, that attention may be fleeting.
Toyota has a long history of debuting trucks at the Chicago auto show. Press days are slated about three weeks after Detroit’s. A Toyota spokesman said a world debut is planned, but he wouldn’t say whether a car or truck will be revealed. For Toyota, this might be the perfect venue to spotlight the redesigned 2014 Tundra.
By Rick Kranz