GM's New Trucks Hit The Target?
By: Alex Law
© 2003 PickupTruck.com
VERMONT: Imagining a cartoon character about to have lunch will help you
visualize exactly how General Motors views the opportunity its new entries
have in the mid-size pickup truck market.
You know the character -- the guy who's staring at his meal so hard his
eyeballs are bugged out, while his salivating 12-inch tongue licks his
lips just before he eats someone else's lunch. Yeah, that guy.
This may be a little less subtle than GM will say for the record, but
it captures the unofficial spirit of what they think is going to happen
with the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon.
is certainly good -- it's been a while since any of the companies in the
compact and mid-size pickup markets made any significant changes to their
product, and there's not much expected for the next 18 months of so.
version of GM's intent with these trucks was put forward by John Smith,
the company's vice-president of marketing and sales. He promised that
Colorado and Canyon would ''grow a family tree of distinct products from
flexible vehicle architectures, create new industry benchmarks in the
segment, and sustain GM's truck leadership.''
that these two new (only one percent of the company's smaller trucks survived
the remake) model are ''great examples of our truck leadership position
-- while competitors are scaling back production and shutting midsize
plants, we're going to be aggressive.''
In the automotive marketing world, the word ''aggressive'' is usually
a euphemism for low prices, but that is not what seems to be the case
with Colorado and Canyon, since a model-by-model price comparison shows
that prices have actually gone up.
on the least expensive S-10 -- the 2WD regular cab Fleetside model --
was $15,355, while the least expensive Colorado with the same configuration
is $16,200. Both figures include a $635 destination charge, by the way.
At the other
end of the Colorado price scale, the 4WD Crew Cab model lists for $26,995,
up from $24,995 for a similar package in the 2003 S-10.
GMC has followed
a similar pricing strategy with Canyon, with the least expensive version
-- the SL two-wheel-drive Regular Cab -- going for $16,530, up from a
lowest price for the Sonoma of $15,355.
The full ticket Canyon 4WD Crew Cab is $27,725, up from the Sonoma model's
of Chevrolet and GMC, Brent Dewar and Lynn Myer's, respectively, had no
trouble explaining the rise in prices.
Myer's noted that ''Canyon has superior power, exceptional ride and handling,
and provides outstanding room, passenger comfort and cargo-carrying capabilities.''
In short, a lot more truck for a little more money.
Dewar made the point that as well as being bigger and better than the
S-10, the Colorado had more models to appeal to more people. ''It's the
largest lineup of mid-size pickups,'' he pointed out, ''with three unique
suspensions and nine separate models. That includes the new two-wheel-drive
Crew Cab, something that was missing from our S-10 lineup, and the Z-71,
a rugged, high-stance pickup that buyers can now get in either 2- or 4-wheel-drive.''
he thought that the rear-drive versions of the Crew Cab and Z71 would
give ''Chevrolet real growth opportunities in the southern states and
coastal markets,'' where 4WD isn't as appealing as it is in the middle
of the country.
All in all,
says Dewar, ''if a customer needs a midsize pickup, there's a Colorado
to meet their needs.''
the joy of options, it is of course possible to spend more for either
a Colorado or a Canyon.
If you take
the big ticket Canyon 4WD Z71 Crew Cab and add every option possible,
including OnStar and XM Radio, the sticker comes to $32,190.
have lumped together the most popular options into the Power Convenience
Group and the Comfort Convenience Group.
For $500 on either brand, the Power Convenience Group gives the customer
power windows, mirrors and locks, and remote keyless entry.
For $395, the Comfort Convenience Group offers a tilt steering wheel and
cruise control for $395.
stand-alone options on Colorado and Canyon include side-curtain airbags
(which were recently shown by NHTSA to be a genuine aid in saving lives)
starting at $195, XM Satellite Radio (which delivers ad-free music packages)
for $325, OnStar for $695, trailer hitch and wiring for $255, and traction
control for two-wheel-drive models with the G80 locking differential for