Compact pickup truck sales in the United States register just a blip on the radar, but if a report from PickupTrucks.com proves to be true, General Motors is banking on a new small truck that should face little segment competition. The unidentified GM truck is reputedly closer in size to the old Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma, both considerably smaller than the currently offered Colorado and Canyon.
As vehicles have progressively grown in size over the past two decades, the compact truck segment proved to be especially susceptible to the growth spurt. Over the years, the compact and midsize segments essentially fused into one, leaving the Ford Ranger as the lone true small truck. Despite maintaining a relatively decent sales pace however, the well-aged Ranger is due to end production next year, with no official word if the U.S. will receive a suitable replacement.
What led to the withering of the compact/midsize truck segment? Pricing points are a major issue, as the cost for an entry-level, full-size truck is often only a few thousand dollars off the price of a midsize pickup. As the price gap between the compact and full-size trucks segment closed, more buyers flocked to the larger half-tons, mainly seeing more use out of the bigger cabs. Most "small" trucks available today are not so small as well. Just do a side-by-side comparison of a 2010 Nissan Frontier and an old Nissan Hardbody truck, and the difference will be apparent.
In the 1980s, the compact segment sold over one million trucks per year. As full-size trucks hit its sales stride, the smaller brethren took a major back seat. The bestselling truck out of the compact/midsize lot today is the Toyota Tacoma, which has currently sold 33,920 trucks through April. The Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, and Chevrolet Colorado follow at a distant second, third, and fourth with sales of 17,514, 11,770, and 7241 units, respectively.
Would you buy a compact Chevrolet or GMC truck, assuming it's dimensionally similar to the old S-10 and Sonoma? Or were those older trucks too small for your tastes? Let us know in the comments below.