General Motors has caught and passed Ford Motor Company for the number-one selling vehicle to Hispanics – at least so far this year. Ford and General Motors historically run neck-and-neck for top-vehicle honors. That duel is fought with full-size pickup trucks.
Ford held the lead by 2,000 units in calendar year 2004. And so far in 2005, through June, the GM entries (Chevrolet and GMC) lead Ford by some 4,000 units. The figures are from automotive data analysis firm R. L. Polk & Co.
The Ford F-series – the best-selling full-size pickup for nearly 30 years – is the single-most popular nameplate among Hispanics, as well as all buyers. But the picture changes when numbers for the GM twins (Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra) are combined, based on the reasoning that they are the same truck differing only in the trim.
Nipping at the heels of these leaders are Dodge, with its Ram full-size pickup, and Toyota, with the compact Corolla sedan.
The most popular vehicles among Hispanics run the gamut, from small sedans to brawny pickup trucks. But all have something in common: They are fun to drive, offer solid value for the money (including fuel economy), and feature visually appealing style.
The top vehicles also share another important trait. From the front-wheel drive smaller cars to the larger rear-wheel drive cars and trucks, these favorites are honest vehicles – they fulfill their automotive promises minus tricks and tomfoolery.
How the top picks supply that fun-to-drive feeling can vary widely. Sports cars swoop around corners effortlessly. Subcompacts are nimble in traffic and parking lots. Their fuel-sipping can add to driving pleasure as well. Big pickup trucks are satisfying because they are so functional, and most handle relatively well. Like their SUV brethren, the big pickup trucks come with high, wide, and handsome driving positions.
The top vehicles in the Hispanic market also do what they are supposed to do, whether it's economical transportation, mini hot-rodding, load carrying, or people moving. There are no false airs, no empty sizzle – it's all steak.
How the Favorites Perform
Here's how these favorites stack up on the road – not on the test track but in real-world driving:
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
Of the GM twins, the Silverado is Chevrolet's top seller with prices starting around $19,000. The Sierra begins there, too. All-new versions for both are coming in 2006, and spinoff SUVs also will get the new truck underpinnings.
For 2006, Silverado gets tweaks like a "power dome" raised hood and revised grille, nationwide availability of the hybrid model, a new 6.6L diesel, and the combination of OnStar and XM Satellite radio antennas in one unit. The SS hotshot model now comes in two- as well as four-wheel drive, powered by a 6L V-8 of 345 horsepower.
What hasn't changed is the great four-spoke steering wheel and good road manners. Silverado tracks accurately around curves. On straights, it holds the course well. Together with the comfortable seats and fine driving position, the Silverado makes a pleasant cross-country vehicle.
There's plenty of room for passengers in the back seat of the crew cab. Acceleration to 60 mph varies, with extended cabs doing it in 8.7 seconds and crew cabs in 10.9. Base prices range to $38,000 and change.
Naturally all this applies equally to the GMC Sierra.
The full-size Ford pickup truck comes in a wide variety of flavors. There's one for the youth market, another for off-roaders, one for mainstream truckers, and a posh, top-of-the line Lariat.