Ford Ranger Not A Threat, Says GMC25
During our drive of both the 2019 GMC Sierra Elevation and the 2019 GMC Canyon Elevation, we sat down with Mark Alger, National Marketing Manager of GMC Canada, to talk about the positioning of the GM’s midsize trucks in a segment that’s becoming ever more crowded.
Alger shared his thoughts about the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado not getting an expected mid-cycle refresh, which was widely expected for the 2020 model year. We also discussed how he perceives the new competition to the Colorado and Canyon, with new-to-segment entrants like the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator. As it turns out, GM isn’t too worried, at least, not for now.
“We know our two midsize trucks are showing age, but then again, is the Ford Ranger really all that new? From our point of view, it’s not newer than our trucks. Gladiator is a cool one, there’s no doubt, but it’s also significantly more expensive than ours and fills a different niche. The same applies for [Honda] Ridgeline. We’re in a good spot with Canyon/Colorado. We’re not too worried of our current competition.”
Alger isn’t entirely wrong. The Colorado/Canyon combo has sold over 180,000 units combined in the U.S. and Canada in 2018 (see Colorado and Canyon sales). From a sales volume standpoint, the duo is only outpaced by the Toyota Tacoma. And with an affordable entry-level price, class-leading towing capacity, a solid off-road Colorado ZR2 model to take on Gladiator and TRD Pro, plus three engine choices – the naturally aspirated 2.5L LCV I4 (200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet) and 3.6L LGZ V6 (308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque) as well as the 2.8L LWN I4 turbo-diesel Duramax (181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque) – there’s plenty of variety in the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon to satisfy all needs.
That said, a Volkswagen light-duty truck is currently in the works, which could sell at a more affordable price point than the Colorado and Canyon.
The GM Authority Take
On the GMC side, there’s work to be done, as Canyon sales are falling faster than the segment in the U.S. In fact, Canyon sales fell nearly 4 percent in Q1 2019 while the segment grew nearly 14 percent. Interestingly enough, Canyon sales are consistent with Colorado in Canada, which proves that the problem isn’t the product itself, but the way it’s marketed. Perhaps the issue, at least for U.S. buyers, is that Canyon has no distinctive attributes to set it apart from Colorado, aside from the range-topping Canyon Denali model – itself an expensive proposition.
Now, we have been expecting a Canyon AT4 model to be added to the lineup, which would definitely give the Canyon a much-needed bump. And we’ve already discussed how the Canyon Elevation package, new for 2019, should help the Canyon earn some further differentiation in the marketplace.
What’s more, while sales of GM small trucks are healthy, consumers could walk away from a Chevrolet or GMC showroom due to a lack of modern features that are now expected in a modern pickup, such as a keyless entry, push-button start, a sunroof, or HID or LED headlights. Each of those features is currently not available in either the Canyon or the Colorado.
We’ll need to wait a few more years for GM’s all-new truck architecture, the VSS-T vehicle set, to arrive and permeate across all of the automaker’s body-on-frame vehicles. Until then, it’ll be interesting to see how the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado corporate cousins will fare against their newfound rivals – the new Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator.
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This is the problem at GM, rather than strive for perfection they continue to underestimate the competition and settle for mediocre just because their GM.
GM’s worst enemy is itself. I couldn’t even have dreamt of the tremendous screw ups they’ve committed in the last couple decades. They sure make the company sound good though, Cadillac being “the standard of the world” and all. A very influential group of certified somethings sure make a mess of a company that’s more technologically capable than FCA for example. And they’re so blind they can’t see it, which is truly hard for me to grasp. Where’s the Raptor fighter for example? The newest Silverado/Sierra could have such a model for 2019, but no!?
Agreed! Plus they say they’re not worried, yet Colorado sales dropped 20% in Q1 and are estimated to have dropped 20% in May as well. Can’t be a coincidence. I totally agree, they STILL are doing things 1/2 way. They should have had a MCE on the docket as SOON as Ford announced the Ranger. Why are they always ok with “just good enough”?! I so wanted to buy a Blazer, then read the reviews of the interior and saw the freaking nutso pricetag for the RS. Now they are already discounting it. Ugh…back I go for another Rogue. 😐
Huh? Colorado sales were up 16% Q1……
I agree that GMC needs more choices. It would be nice to see something similar to the ZR2 in a Canyon.
As to the Colorado platform, GM did not need to come out with the Bison, yet the concept just had people clamoring for it and GM delivered.
GM is the only one in the segment with a diesel.. though I am not convinced on the longevity of the engine as the forums tell of difficulties.
GM is the only truck with a front locker on the ZR2.
Where it misses. Way wrong v6 engine. Should have come with the 4.3L
The torque curve is far superior on that engine than the 3.6L car engine.
Missing 3rd pedal. Put a 6 speed stick behind that 4.3L v6 and it would have been perfect. Instead we have pretty damn good, which IMO is still far better than the competition.
Waiting on the MCE..
I would love to see a Canyon based small SUV from GMC. GMC was always a truck brand, and I would much rather see a small BOF, off-road SUV than a rebadged “Blazer”.
My current vehicle is a Subaru BRZ… a vehicle known for having a pretty crappy interior. I am beginning to think about something on the opposite end of the spectrum, and a mid-sized pickup would be a good compliment to my car, and my girlfriend’s STI. I was so ready to grab a Colorado until I test drove one and saw the interior. It’s really bad when my BRZ looks like a luxury car on the inside by comparison.
So yes, GM, you should be worried, because I quite simply refuse to buy your truck until the interior is updated with at least SOME modern features. Or, you know, at least a shift lever that doesn’t look and feel as though it was lifted from a mid-90s Nissan. I was even considering a Bison, but the interior of this truck is just plain terrible. For that alone, I will look elsewhere, or wait for a redesign. I know I’m just one person, but if I can be perfectly happy with the interior of my BRZ, but refuse the accept the interior of your Colorado, you have a problem… and my BRZ is the same interior that people felt was lacking even back in 2012…
I think GMC’s problem has to be marketing. When I was considering buying a new vehicle this winter, most notably a Tacoma, I wasn’t even aware GMC had a midsize product. Once I stumbled onto the Canyon, I fell in love with it! Much nicer than the Colorado in my opinion! So,….I bought a new crew cab Canyon in December and couldn’t be happier! I have purchased over a dozen new GM vehicles over my lifetime and this Canyon is easily my favorite!
When the automotive press referred to GM’s midsized trucks as “ the GM twins” what did you think they meant by that?
Well while Canyon sales are down Colorado sales are up.
The GM offerings are the best in class per many reviews, even old they are more up to date than the competitors in most areas.
The Ranger blew it as they were last in and have suspension issues, an interior that is no better and limited cab offerings as well as engine.
Sure they have some tech features GM lacks but they also have a significantly higher price too.
At this point we can piss and moan all about the lack of this or that. But I would rather see GM invest in the next platform that is about 2 years out and just add then then. Putting money into this truck is a waste as an investment in the next truck will be beneficial for much longer than 2 years.
I have a Canyon and while some things like LED lights etc would be nice there is nothing wrong with the projection lights I have now. Adaptive cruise would be nice but what I hav3 works fine.
The trump card here is while I lack some thing my truck rides and handles better than the others. It has great power and is turned in 20.2 mpg city over the last 10,000 miles. Best highway is 28.5 with the V6. It is quiet and a joy to drive.
The Taco seating is horrid, the Ranger suspension in the FX4 will make you sea sick, and the price for a loaded Ranger will top a loaded ZR2 by thousands. Nissan it is fine if you want a truck from the last decade.
The mid size segment is tough. You can’t make them higher priced than $40k as sales decline at $35k and up. You can not add every bell and whistle as it adds price. Rebates are less as they sell in much smaller numbers than full size.
These are not entry models they are well equipped trucks with limits on price. The days of the $9,999 S10 are long gone.
The last key to this segment is also global sales as that is where the volume is. Each market need their own version.
Finally what most people miss is Isuzu is gone. GM is doing the next truck on their own after the 2016 split. It takes 5-6 years to do a new platform. GM moved to focus on the new platform vs expensive refreshes on on the present model.
Guys, i build these trucks currently, the canyon and the colorado are the exact same vehicle only difference is options.. they both come off the same assembly line in Wentzville, Mo..like i always say, its all in the trim baby…
There is one beef I do have with my truck. I hope you get a new paint shop. Too many defects in pain in these trucks compare to most other vehicles.
I spoke to someone who worked there and he said it needed upgraded.
My main gripe is that the Denali version is a joke. If this is supposed to to be their idea of a luxury mid size truck, Then I have lost all hope.
I just got rid of my 2016 Chevy Colorado and I’m not going to lie it was a completely horrible experience. Sing members have problems with the airbags in GM not recognizing it. Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle contacting GM corporate dealership not standing behind their product and then GM just brushing me off and after I tell them the problem wasn’t handled they thanked me and said glad we could help. Torque converter problems. And the list goes on. I had the gen 1 Colorado and bought the gen 2 but probably will not buy a GM product again.
I wonder if GM ever researched the difference between Chevrolet and GMC truck buyers. Just about everyone knows they are nearly identical mechanically so what sets them apart? My opinion is GMC just comes up too short as an upgrade in trim only.
I think they have and are marketing the GMC brand as “Professional Grade” luxury persona. The Denali trim packages are the largest selling trim for GMC, so the luxury angle for buyers seems to be holding true. That at least is the inside looking out view.
Could they be wrong and the GMC demographic actually be something else?
GMC has done a great job of marketing, because of it the ATP is much higher and profits are greater with the large number of Denali models they move.
The equity of the Denali brand is what Cadillac craves and needs. It took time but the public image of the Denali brand is so very good.
When people refer to a brand by its name like I have a Denali that is like the old days of Cadillac.
Par for the course and more of the same from GM. Did we expect any different? While the Colorado enjoyed some very close call victory’s in a few recent mash ups this truck is indeed in need of some updating and refinement and there is no reason it should get these updated for 2020 model year at the earliest.
Starting with the flawed crap 8 speed automatic that so many have complained about GM either needs to replace it with the new 10 speed or spend some money and correct the current 8 speed unit. Next is the interior. Switching to push button start and keyless entry should be easy enough and dash plastics and door panels need an upgrade. The Denali trim GMC should have it’s own upgraded interior with more premium materials and better color choices. Last but not least there should be more to differentiate these trucks than badges and grilles. The GMC version should have more std equipment and offer a few more high tech features like radar cruise, LED headlights and a pano roof to set it apart from the cheaper Chevy. If you don’t invest in your product and keep it fresh and interesting sales will drop accordingly.
To sum up this news……
We (GM) did better than most everyone*. Yeah our trucks are showing a little age, but so is the Ranger and we offer more brands, engines and trims than Ranger. No need to take any action. We are still winning!
* We don’t talk about the Tacoma, if we can help it.
I hope GM isn’t picking and choosing their competition like in the past when they ignored the real threats.
Chevy must bring back the small S-10 pickup. That is and always was the competitor against the Ford ranger.
Beware: Chevrolet Colorado has a torque converter problem, which seems to be a manufacturer’s defect. Chevrolet or GM denies the problem. Research the internet and see for yourself.
Larry it at this point does not appear to be a converter issue directly it appears to be more of a moisture in the transmission fluid issue.
GM does not deny there has been an issue. They have spoken little about what the problem is as they did not know what the problem was.
GM first replaced converters, then transmissions and the problem remained. Then they tried several fluids and the most recent TSB and Mobil 1 fluid appears to be working over the last six months.
The trouble has been only a smaller number of transmissions ad been affected so it was difficult to isolate the issue.
Today they have a new fluid that has a greater resist moisture and a new machine that better flushes the entire system.
It used to be we only had two fluids and today we have many as today’s transmissions have many needs. The Shudder as it is called is not just a GM issue as most MFGs have been dealing with it for various reasons.
I’m still waiting for an MCE and an upgraded interior as well. GM please do the right thing and keep pushing for the lead. Do not settle like you mostly do. Keep grinding. Make every vehicle better.
You are going to get a totally new truck in 2 years. Approx.