Why Did Chevy Hike The Price Of 2021 Colorado?

Proving GM works in puzzling ways it announced today that the 2021 Chevy Colorado Base Extended Cab will be dropped. So the next Colorado up the ladder is the Extended Cab Work version. The Base had a list price of $22,395. The Work’s list price is $26,395. That means the lowest-priced Colorado has just jumped $4,000. This as we enter the first full week of coronavirus shutdowns in virtually all sectors of the US and around the world. This means the Ford Ranger, which is slowly catching up with Colorado in numbers, is almost $2,500 cheaper. So why did Chevy hike the price if the 2021 Colorado?

Why would Chevy hike the price now?

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 | Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

What are we to make of this? Beyond the obvious increase in profit such a price jump means, has Chevy shifted its thinking? Has it decided that it would rather make more from fewer sales and forget about volume? Does it feel that psychologically it needs to be at the same price as a Toyota Tacoma? Did it think that it could sneak in a price hike while the coronavirus is a diversion? 

We wonder if the 2021 refresh is driving this price hike? Chevy has done a mild facelift that gives the Colorado more of the look of its big brother Silverado. In some ways, it pulls off the styling better than the Silverado. In any case, the reasons for the price grab seem strange. There are a couple of circumstances that stand out.

Does Chevy think there will be a rush of buyers after coronavirus?

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 | Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 | Chevrolet

Obviously, the coronavirus has halted almost everything but especially buying new vehicles. Maybe Chevy thinks there will be a rush on trucks after the coronavirus crisis finally ends? The other circumstance is that the Ford Ranger is slowly nipping at Colorado’s heels. 

Colorado sales in the last few years have been steady at about 115,000. The Ranger has been gone for years so we only have last year as a gauge. For 2019 the Ranger sold almost 90,000 units. So there is still a gap between the two in terms of numbers.

In Q4 of 2019, the Ranger beat Colorado in sales

A Ford Ranger pickup truck on display
2019 Ford Ranger | Scott Olson/Getty Images

But Ford is getting aggressive with promotions for its Ranger lease program. And the UAW strike at GM may have limited availability of some Colorado models. The result is that in the fourth quarter of 2019 Ranger beat Colorado. 

So the timing and reasons for Chevy to increase the price of its base Colorado just seems ill-timed. It should also be noted that the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma leads all of the midsize trucks by an incredibly wide margin. Last year it sold 248,801 Tacomas. Compared with that the Ranger sells only one third the amount of trucks Toyota is selling.

Selling strategies will need to be refined once manufacturers start producing vehicles

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 | Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 | Chevrolet

All of the vehicle manufacturers will have to do some serious rethinking about selling products once the coronavirus pandemic stops. At this stage, it is unknown what effects this will have on the industry as a whole. So who knows? The decision to increase the price of Colorado came before the plant shutdowns.

Maybe at some point once the coronavirus fire sales kick in we’ll be seeing some really significant reductions in prices.