I can appreciate your position that truck people want heavy-duty "real trucks," but you're forgetting the large segment of people who don't need to haul cattle or heavy loads on a daily basis but like having a truck for its utility. I loved putting 160,000 miles on my 1993 F-150 King Cab and then my 1998 Silverado when gas cost $1.25 a gallon, but there are many of us who aren't hauling loads every day that would be more than happy to get into a smaller, less powerful truck, if the economics were right. It doesn't make sense to get a $25K Frontier or Tacoma when you can get a full-size truck for about the same price with only a two- or three-mpg fuel-economy difference. I think Honda got it right with the Ridgeline. I would love to see unibody trucks based on the Subaru Forester or Outback, Ford Escape, Suzuki Vitara, Toyota RAV4, or Honda CR-V that could get 25-30 mpg. But note the Baja's failure--its 3.5-foot bed was basically an exposed trunk--manufacturers have to give utility-truck lovers the basics (4WD/AWD and at least a five-foot bed) to attract buyers. These trucks might not be serious off-roaders, but they'd be more than capable on muddy pastures and roads during hunting season and when hauling supplies for weekend projects. With Mahindra promising a midsize turbodiesel with 33-37 mpg in the low-$20,000s and the Ranger's sales suddenly rising (if they would only sell their crew cab Ranger in the U.S.!), automakers need to take a serious look at the small truck segment. There's a lot of potential for growth here if it's done right.
Via the Internet
Between the high price of fuel and the impressive advances in technology, it's about time for functional, affordable, fuel-efficient compact trucks to make a comeback. But the MSRP has to come down and fuel economy has to improve for it to be a real value.
- Truck Trend