Amid a marketwide new-vehicle sales dip in Canada, the midsize-pickup segment continues to defy gravity, posting year-to-date gains and attracting consumers seeking more affordable alternatives to larger and increasingly pricier full-size trucks, industry experts say.
Full-size trucks “offer loads of capability, but for frugally minded Canadians, it might be a little bit more than they need in the driveway,” said Robert Karwel, senior manager for the Power Information Network of J.D. Power and Associates Canada.
“A lot of folks for whom, maybe, 10 years ago their only option would have been a full-size pickup in order to have 7,000 pounds of tow rating, those folks can now get a [smaller] truck that can also tow that load.
“What is happening is there’s now an alternative for people who want a pickup at, on average, about a $7,000 cheaper transaction price and, on average, about $80 a month less on their financing payment,” Karwel told Automotive News Canada.
Midsize trucks posted year-over-year sales growth of 8.1 per cent through November, while sales of full-size pickups were down 8.4 per cent over the same period. In sheer numbers, 36,033 midsize trucks were sold through November, compared with 328,094 full-size pickups. Supply issues with the new Ram 1500 continue to contribute to the decline of the full-size-truck segment.
STARTED WITH COLORADO, CANYON
The renaissance in midsize pickups began with the 2014 relaunch of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, Karwel said. The segment is not only attracting utility buyers but full-sizepickup buyers looking to move down in size, he said.
Of the individual competitors, the Toyota Tacoma leads the charge with 13,008 trucks sold through November. The Colorado and Canyon sold 8,878 and 6,396, respectively.
Toyota and General Motors are gearing up for competition — the Ford Ranger, which is returning to the Canadian market at the end of November, and the Jeep Wrangler-based pickup — by releasing updated off-road models.