Demand for General Motors’ Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups is so high that workers who build them at the brand’s Missouri plant are skipping lunch in order to boost production. By eliminating an unpaid lunch break, says an Automotive News report, GM was able to add 18 minutes of production time to every day, enough, supposedly, to bump production by about 3,500 trucks per year.
It’s an enviable thing for a mainstream vehicle to be so popular its manufacturer can’t keep up: industry estimates suggest the Wentzville, MO plant will build 140,000 Colorados and Canyons this year, up from projected figures of less than 120,000. Here in Canada, there’s a 400-name waiting list for wannabe truck buyers to whom GM had to say no, because there just weren’t enough of the trucks around. The manufacturer essentially had to tell those people to come back when the 2016 models arrive.
It makes us wonder if the popularity of these relatively straightforward trucks is partly the market’s way of flipping the bird at pricey, high-end full-size trucks; or, it could be a reflection of the fact that the Canyon and Colorado are quite simply good trucks. Having driven both models, we can say they’re very pleasant to drive, and the sweet-shifting manual transmission option (only available with the four-cylinder engine) is a rare thing in any light-duty truck.
As GM struggles to meet demand for its newest truck models, Hyundai appears eager to try its hand at the lucrative truck segment, if an Automotive News report quoting Hyundai USA CEO Dave Zuchowski is any indication.
In January, Hyundai showed the Santa Cruz pickup concept at the Detroit auto show. Its styling suggests a vehicle designed more for pickup looks than utility, and Hyundai more or less admitted that a production model wouldn’t go after hardcore pickup users, but would be designed to appeal to crossover drivers who want a bit more utility: in other words, the same audience that liked the now-defunct Honda Ridgeline.
Zuchowski says we can expect a final answer on Santa Cruz (which he predicts will be a yes) within about six months, and that it would likely be the first Hyundai sold in the U.S. with a diesel engine.