Top 2015 Truck Story Lines to Watch
In the next day or so, the first sales results of 2015 are due. While, we don’t expect many surprises, we do wonder how the year will play out. There are many new competitors coming to the market, shifts in production and new truck unveils on the horizon. Here are the story lines we will be following.
Toyota Tundra Production Up, New Nissan Threat
Before we get to the other manufactures, make no mistake that 2015 will be a year of transition for Toyota. Not only are they shifting production around, Nissan has proclaimed they see the Tundra as their primary competitor. Like we said a month ago, the new Titan will have an impact on Toyota sales. While that isn’t in question, the lingering question of whether customers really want a heavy-duty half-ton remains.
We also expect Toyota to build more Tundra pickups than in year’s past. This is due to expanding production in other areas.
Ford F-150 Gets Rolling
With one more plant going under a transformation, Ford will be ready soon to steam full ahead with the F-150. Currently, Ford executives plan on dealers being fully stocked by April. This will mean the summer months will finally show how consumers are responding to the new truck.
GM Trucks Continue to Surprise
Over the weekend, Chevy’s truck guy, Tom Wilkinson, called the new Ford F-150 a “nice upgrade.” He was responding to a Car and Driver test which found the F-150 barely topping the Chevy Silverado. While Ford’s Mike Levin stood behind his product (as he should), Wilkinson did bring up some interesting points.
“The F-150 is a nice update of the old truck, with modestly higher payload and trailer ratings offset by still-unanswered questions about insurance costs and access to body repairs outside of major cities,” Wilkinson told USA Today.
The only problem we see with Wilkinson’s statement is the same can be said of his truck. Truthfully, the Chevy Silverado is also a “nice upgrade” and doesn’t really feature any groundbreaking new features. That is except for the 4G LTE WiFi hotspot which Chevy devoted a Super Bowl commercial too. We have used the feature and while it is convenient, it is really only convenient at certain times for a certain customer. Unlike the many new features in the new F-150, the hotspot is pretty lame in comparison.
RAM Continues to Build Momentum
Then, there is Ram. The upstart has been building steam for well over a year now and even passed long-time #2 Chevy’s Silverado sales one month last year. Ram finished the year down a little more than 90,000 units behind the Silverado.
Two big questions for Ram.
- Is the EcoDiesel a sales fluke? Will it continue to sell well?
- Will heavy-duty models spur more growth?
The first question is important for Toyota Tundra owners. Toyota continues to insist diesel isn’t the right course of action and the EcoDiesel is really a flash in the pan. If the EcoDiesel sees consistent growth, that argument is null and void proving Toyota is wrong. If the EcoDiesel falls off dramatically, then Toyota looks pretty smart (and so does Ford). This will be a fascinating story line to follow.
Secondly, Ram launched its commercial lineup a few years ago and it is seeing continued growth. This is a big key for them and could help it overcome the Chevy Silverado. Also, this could catapult them into a real dogfight with Ford as a real challenger. We aren’t saying Chevy isn’t a strong competitor, we are saying Ram has more energy to be a stronger challenger.
Where does Toyota fit into all of this? Simple, Toyota stands to either be a big winner or a big loser. Will the rush to be #1 cause quality issues? Will Toyota continue to outsell its production? With long-term loyalty a big item for truck makers, this could have repercussions for years.
Filed Under: Auto News