GM Targets Full-Sized Pickup Rivals With New Midsized GMC Truck

General Motors Co., taking aim at competitors in the full-sized truck category, plans to unveil the GMC brand’s version of its new midsized truck that offers drivers towing power at a lower cost than larger vehicles.

The 2015 Canyon, which will go on sale in the U.S. during the third quarter alongside the redesigned Chevrolet version called the Colorado, will have a maximum towing capacity of 6,700 pounds (3,039 kilograms), the best in the segment, GM said in an e-mailed statement today. GM is revealing the truck in advance of the North American International Auto Show that opens tomorrow in Detroit.

With the Canyon, GM extends an effort to offer a wider range of pickups than any U.S. company. GM, which already has a heavy-duty truck, is targeting Toyota Motor Corp.’s Tacoma with the Colorado and full-sized rivals with the Canyon. While Detroit-based GM hasn’t said how much they will cost, transaction prices for full-sized pickups across the segment were 46 percent higher than mid-sized rivals in September, on average.

“Not everyone needs full-size capability, but they also deserve strength and true truck attributes that come in larger models,” Tony DiSalle, vice president of GMC marketing, said in the statement. “The Canyon will offer all the capability with confidence and GMC’s signature refinement that complements active lifestyles.”

Consumers paid an average price of $27,903 for a mid-size truck in September compared with an average $40,860 for full-size and heavy-duty pickups, according to Edmunds data.

Ford, Toyota

The Canyon is “a beautiful truck that gives you almost everything that a full-size competitor might give you but at a lower price,” Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, told reporters that same month in Dallas.

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 in 2012.

Ford, whose F-Series has been the best-selling truck for 37 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 in 2012 with 141,365 deliveries, a 28 percent gain from 2011, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

The market for these smaller pickups, which weigh less and are more fuel efficient than large pickups, makes up only 1.6 percent of the total vehicle market last year through October, down from 3.2 percent in 2008. It may increase only to 2 percent in 2015, according to IHS Automotive’s Polk.

While it’s a small segment, some buyers need the capabilities of a pickup but don’t need a big one, Dave Sullivan, an industry analyst with AutoPacific Inc., said.

“There are still people who live on a dirt road or who live somewhere remote or maybe they like to go hunting two weeks out of the year and their wife’s Acadia is not capable of putting a dinner in the trunk,” he said. “And they just need a pickup.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.