Toyota turns to action-camera maker GoPro to stay no.1 small pickup brand image

With Toyota having 60% of the market last year in the small pickup segment with its Tacoma model, the Japanese automaker now has to face some competition from General Motors Co. which brought back its Chevrolet and GMC models.

In order to keep its bigger share, Toyota has turned to action-camera maker GoPro Inc. to redesign for the first time in ten years its truck model. The 2016 Tacoma is going to be the first car in the auto industry with a GoPro camera mount as a standard feature. Toyota chose this partnership as a low-cost means to appeal to drivers who chose the Texas trails or Utah desert canyons for their destination paths.

“These true off-roaders are out there, and they all have GoPros on their trucks. Whether they’re fishing, off-roading, camping and so on, they’re all recording their adventures,” said Michael Sweers, Tacoma’s chief engineer and a GoPro camera owner.

The U.S. market for small pickups last year was cut back only to Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota. The Ford Ranger model and the Dodge Dakota ended production in 2011, as well as GM’s Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in 2012 and the Honda Ridge in 2014. After their return last year, the Colorado and Canyon models from GM have gained a lot of wishful drivers’ attention and received numerous positive reviews. The Colorado model received the “truck of the year” award from the Motor Trend Magazine, and GM managed to sell a combined 56,592 units in the first half of this year.

By Gabriela Florea