Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
John asks: I’ve always wanted a tiny little two-door, four-cylinder truck like Toyota and Datsun used to sell. Is anybody still making one?
My reply: Yes – but not for sale here.
In the United (by force) States, the smallest new trucks you can buy are mid-sized models like the new Ford Ranger – no relation to the old (and compact-sized) Ford Ranger – the Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier (also upsized. These trucks have nearly the same footprint as the full-size/half-ton trucks of the ’90s and prior!
The reasons have to with the U.S. market (apparently) and mandates that thwart the market.
There is something called the “chicken tax,” which applies punishing tariffs to small trucks built overseas and imported here. This makes it harder to justify importing small trucks because the potential profit margin on them is already lower than for larger trucks. (See my article about all this, here.)
The other factor – apparently – is that Americans in the main just want huge trucks.
Personally, I think that’s bunk – in part because of the tsunami of interest I am personally aware of in the form of people asking me, a car journalist, about them. Secondly, because such trucks make a stronger case for themselves as useful things than the a silly quad/crew cab mid-sized truck with a stub bed that can barely carry a couple of labrador retrievers – and costs $35k!
I expect a $25k 4WD compact-sized truck available with a regular/extended (two door) cab and a six-foot bed and a diesel four making say 260 ft.-lbs. of torque that could pull a 5,000 lb. trailer and get 35 MPG would fly off the shelves.
But we won’t know until Uncle gets off our backs – or rather, gets his paws off the market – and lets the market do its thing.
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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