Mid-size Truck Wars Heat Up

Toyota Tacoma Sales Still Dominate Colorado, Canyon – Not For Long?

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Mid-size Truck Wars Heat Up
In California, a key mid-size truck market, the battle over sales truck supremacy is heating up and customers like Jared Karayan will have lots to choose from. Karayan recently took home this 2015 Toyota Tacoma and the Colorado was a very close second choice.

When the all-new Chevrolet Colorado came out, Chevy knew they were in for a fight against the Toyota Tacoma’s dominance in several key markets like Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas Ft. Worth. Now that we have a few months of Polk small truck registration data; how has the vastly improved, technology-rich Chevy Colorado fared against the long-in-the-tooth Toyota Tacoma in those key markets? Well, let’s just say, the mid-size truck market is getting really interesting.

Looking at the numbers through the first part of the year, the Polk Data numbers show the Tacoma and even Frontier still holding strong against the all-new Chevy Colorado. This is due to many factors including limited supply of the Colorado and consumer buying habits.

POLK Small Truck Registration Data

Tacoma Still A Strong Seller

An example of these other factors is Southern California Real Estate Agent Jared Karayan who recently chose a 2015 Toyota Tacoma over a Chevy Colorado. While, he admits, the Colorado had a lot of the technology he wanted; it wasn’t enough to outweigh other buying factors.

“In the end, the Tacoma has a long history of proven quality in the market and will stand up for years to come,” Karayan said. “It will likely hold a lot if not all of its value.”

He based this decision on internet research as well as visiting several local dealers. What he found surprised him, many of the older Tacoma trucks were within $3k of the new truck. Initially, he wanted to buy used, yet with the high used prices, it didn’t make a lot of difference.

Plus, he figured he could add many of the features he wanted like steps, hard bed cover, tailgate lock, weather tech floor mats and will be adding an auto up/down power window feature he saw on a forum.

Colorado Just Getting Started

While the growth of the mid-size market has surprised many, Chevy is just getting started. Over the past 9 months, Chevy added a third shift to their Wentzville, MO plant and recently they cut an unpaid lunch to increase production. Also, Chevy released the GearOn Special Edition and Z71 Trail Boss special editions which seem ideally suited to spur on sales in the key markets of California and Texas.

Speaking of the key California and Texas markets, Chevy says sales have been strong for them. They have also seen 53 percent of all customers are new to Chevrolet.

Chevy claims this is due to the Colorado offering “customers everything they want in a midsize truck – including things they can’t get from competitors’ trucks” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager in a press release.

These features are the aforementioned technology improvements that, with the help of a PR stunt gone awry, lead to the creation of the “technology and stuff” moniker.

Yet, even with all of this technology, improvements to the powertrain, interior upgrades and many other improvements, the Chevy Colorado looks like they are in for a fight in key markets. A new Tacoma is on the horizon and Chevy will have to continue to work on winning over customers like Karayan who put resale value and other items above features.

“I used to own a Chevy and would go back for the right truck in a heartbeat,” Karayan said. “A new model year is never the right truck for me! I wish the Tacoma had more of the creature comforts they put into the Canyon/Colorado.”

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl

Hailing from Western Nebraska, Tim has covered the automotive industry for many years. He has written for a variety of outlets including Truck Trend, Pickuptrucks.com, Tundraheadquarters.com and others. He is a married father of three and an avid golfer.