Rumors are swirling since Chrysler’s VP of product planning Joe Veltri told the Detroit News that they were looking into building a truck in the compact truck category. The thought is that there are younger and older buyers who want a compact, high MPGs truck, not a full-size version. Will this news rock the compact truck market?
When Chrysler canned the Dakota in late 2011, it told a similar tale among automakers that full-size trucks were the future with their comparable purchase costs and MPGs to their smaller versions. In fact, of the so-called Big 3, only GM has a compact truck in that marketplace with their GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado which have sold poorly. The Ram Dakota also sold poorly until its demise. Automakers have be saying for years that the compact truck market is dead and that it makes more sense economically for consumers to buy full-size trucks. Chrysler seems to be changing its tune with the thought that young buyers don’t need a full-size truck and that older buyers are looking to down-size from their full-size. They see these two groups as needing a compact truck then to meet their needs.
A new Chrysler compact truck would immediately face stiff competition with the dominance of the Toyota Tacoma and the reemergence of the Chevy Colorado. Chrysler is thinking that a “have a unibody, not a body-on-frame architecture” is the future according to a Automobile Magazine story. The story also says that the new truck could come with a diesel engine as well. A compact, unibody, diesel-powered truck would be about the only way to effectively challenge the Toyota Tacoma as a “different” type of truck.
While it is still speculation at this point and that any new Chrysler compact truck is surely years away, these type of rumors will hopefully get Toyota’s attention. Toyota Tacoma owners and fans have been asking for a diesel-powered version for years and Toyota doesn’t seem to be anywhere near offering one. The new diesel engines idle at lower RPMs and could offer substantial MPG savings over the full-size truck.
Who isn’t excited by the idea of a diesel-powered, compact truck with high MPGs? What’s your guess, how much MPGs could a diesel-powered Toyota Tacoma have?