The reasons for smaller and niche pickups
Two automakers see a need, but they’re coming at it with dramatically different offerings
Today’s midsize pickups are doing what a standard light-duty truck would have done 20 years ago.
As full-size pickups grow larger and more expensive, Ford and Hyundai are looking to get city dwellers, younger buyers and first-time customers into smaller trucks.
Hyundai in April revealed the Santa Cruz, a smaller pickup designed for customers who typically buy crossovers, and Ford reportedly plans to launch the Maverick small pickup that will slot below the midsize Ranger, serving as a new entry-level vehicle for the brand.
The size and price of pickups have grown over the past 20 years, said Robert Karwel, senior manager of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power. A standard light-duty pickup, such as the F-150 or Ram 1500, has the towing capacity of a heavy-duty pickup from 20 years ago, he said.
Today’s midsize pickups, meanwhile, are doing what a standard light-duty truck would have done back then.
“That then opens up the bottom for a true entry-level compact pickup,” Karwel said. “That was a very popular segment in Canada and North America decades ago. It looks poised to come back.”
While Ford has not confirmed that it will be releasing such a truck, it has promised to introduce an affordable “white space” product by 2022. Prototype spy photos of the truck, meanwhile, were leaked in the press.