Perhaps they should be.
The reborn Ford Ranger is finally here after too many years of waiting. Better late than never, right? Of course, but this also means fresh competition for long-time segment leaders such as the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins. The Ranger is brand spanking new while the GM trucks, for example, date back to 2014. Is anyone at GM concerned about this? Not really, according to a key executive. GM Authority spoke recently with Mark Alger, National Marketing Manager of GMC Canada, about the current status of these trucks in an increasingly crowded segment (don’t forget about the new Jeep Gladiator).
"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,” he said. "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.”
Also worth bearing in mind is the expected 2020 model year facelift for these trucks isn’t happening until 2021, meaning both will need to survive another full model year with fresh competitors. Still, Alger isn’t entirely wrong and the sales figures prove it. The Colorado/Canyon achieved a combined 180,000 units sold in the US and Canada last year. Only the Toyota Tacoma surpassed this.
However, Canyon sales are falling faster than the segment as proven by the first quarter of 2019 sales figures. The Canyon dropped by almost 4 percent while the segment as a whole grew by nearly 14 percent. GM Authority also rightly points out that in Canada Canyon sales are consistent with Colorado, which is clearly not the case in the US. What’s the reason for this?
It's possibly due to the way in which GMC markets the Canyon in America. Aside from the Denali trim, it does little to distinguish it (and its higher price tag) from that of its corporate sibling. One solution could be a hardcore Canyon AT4 but, again, GMC will need to make it unique somehow compared to the Colorado ZR2. Despite solid sales at the moment, GM knows this won’t last much longer.