Saturday, January 14, 2006

Would you buy a Hyundai or Kia pickup?

The segment that domestic manufacturers in general and Ford specifically has been able to dominate in has always been trucks. The Ford F series truck being the best selling vehcle in the world and best selling truck in the US for 26 years. Even the Ranger, which is getting overshadowed by many competitors was the best selling "compact" truck for 17 years.
But in the article from Forbes, linked at AutoBlog, Hyundai/Kia is questioning whether they should enter the truck market as a way to grow.

Now I know that Japanese trucks are highly regarded and the Korean brands have seen an amazing rise in quality and value in compact and midsize sedan markets, but would anyone want to buy a pickup from Korea? Even if it's a "transplant" model, designed and built in the US, it would have to be a clean sheet design, as Koreans don't have domestic pickup models.

Would they enter the "compact" segment or try to jump in to the lucrative "full size" market.
Toyota and Nissan have both been trying to crack that nut as of late, but with combined sales according to the articel of just over 420,000, it looks like truck buyers are among the last to display real brand loyalty. And neither Toyota or Nissan have a Diesel option on their "full size" truck, like the domestic lines do.

Luckily the new (as of 2004) F-150 is a much improved and very competative model that Ford recognizes as their sales leader. So it's unlikely that they will let it slip, like the Ranger, into obscurity.

But if the Koreans were to attack the "full size" truck market, could the "big 3" fight them and the Japanese onslaught without bleeding money?

No comments: