GM Says Chevy Truck Can Out-Tow Tacoma in Toyota Challenge

General Motors Co. (GM) said its redesigned Chevrolet Colorado mid-sized pickup, introduced today at the Los Angeles Auto Show, has greater towing capacity than Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s Tacoma as the automaker returns to the segment to challenge the market leader.

“This is a real workhorse but it also has that lifestyle element to it as well,” Alan Batey, head of GM’s Chevrolet brand, told reporters in Detroit last week. “We didn’t want to just create a really pretty truck that’s accessorized but can’t do anything. This is a real, real capable truck.”

The new 2015 Colorado, which goes on sale in the second half of next year, will be able to tow loads of more than 6,700 pounds (3,039 kilograms). That compares with Toyota’s Tacoma truck, which can pull a maximum of 6,500 pounds, according to the company’s website. GM’s truck will initially be offered with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine or 3.6-liter V-6 engine and in its second year will get a diesel version, the Detroit-based company said today in an e-mailed statement.

While Ford Motor Co. (F), GM and Chrysler LLC dominate big pickups, Toyota has become the top mid-size truck seller in the U.S. market. GM is revisiting the segment after halting production for the U.S. last year, in a bet it can appeal to Toyota buyers, particularly in California, the largest market for mid-sized trucks.

Pickup Variety

The new Colorado truck also extends an effort by GM to offer a wider variety of pickups in the U.S. than any other company. With the Colorado, GM will have mid-size, full-size and heavy-duty trucks on sale. It will offer a GMC version of the Colorado called the Canyon, which will be reintroduced next year.

“We believe that three trucks will provide us with the right truck for our customers in the segment where they want the vehicle,” Batey said. “The vision for our midsized truck was really simple: To produce the most capable, versatile and fuel-efficient mid-sized truck America has ever seen.”

Ford, whose F-Series has been the best-selling truck for 36 years, only sells full-size and heavy-duty versions, as does Chrysler’s Ram brand. Toyota doesn’t offer a heavy-duty pickup while offering full-size and compact trucks.

Tacoma led the mid-size segment last year with 141,365 deliveries, a 28 percent gain from 2011, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

“We’d like to take leadership in this segment” with combined sales of the Colorado and Canyon, Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, told reporters at the show in Los Angeles today. “It doesn’t happen overnight.”

Combined U.S. sales of the Colorado and Canyon peaked in 2005 with 163,668 deliveries. That compares with U.S. sales of GM’s full-size pickups of 575,497 last year.

Refreshed Vehicles

The Colorado will be available in three versions, an extended cab with a 6-foot (1.83 meter) bed and crew cab versions with either a 5-foot or 6-foot bed. GM didn’t disclose prices for the new Colorado. In September, consumers paid an average price of $27,903 for a mid-size truck compared with an average $40,860 for full-size and heavy-duty pickups, according to Edmunds data.

The Colorado is among the 18 new or refreshed vehicles being brought out this year and 14 next year by GM as its works to transform its lineup from among the oldest into the newest.

Shares of the automaker fell less than 1 percent to $37.69 at the close in New York today, paring their advance to 31 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Detroit at thiggins21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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