Back in 2008, the SAE developed the J807 testing standard for truck towing capacity. Toyota adopted the standard for the 2013 model year, which helped them earn the company special recognition from the Texas Auto Writers Association. Despite Toyota’s adoption and pressure, the Big 3 manufacturers Chrysler, GM, and Ford have dragged their feet on the adoption of the testing procedures. However, the Big 3 also like to brag about their trucks and their overall towing capacity. This testing standard will make it easier to have an apples to apples comparison when shopping for a new truck. According to Automobile magazine, General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and Nissan will be joining Toyota in the adopting of the new testing standard starting with their 2015 trucks.
The new standard requires testing requires the tow weight to take into consideration a driver, passenger, and options that are purchased by at least 1/3 of truck buyers. Additional weight in the vehicle, and additional equipement purchase, can dramatically affect the overall towing capacity of the vehicle. The new procedures should level the playing field, and make it more difficult for OEMs to fudge the numbers to beat the others.
For the 2015 model year, including the new 2015 Ford F-150, all the manufacturers will be adopting the standard testing procedure. Overall tow ratings will likely be reduced by several hundred pounds at least, but the numbers will be more accurate. Like miles per gallon and horsepower, light-duty truck buyers will be able to compare trucks head-to-head from all the major players. Nissan, who is due to launch a new truck soon, are also expected to adopt the standard.
Trucks are tools. We believe that making it easier to compare the tools, and more accurately describe what the tools are actually capable of, will lead to better truck owner satisfaction overall. We were also confused as why Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors would drag their feet on something that clearly makes the most sense for the consumer. We were in Texas when Toyota was recognized for their adopting of the testing procedures for their 2013 vehicles, and the people we talked to seemed to think that it was a no brainer. Now that most of the major automakers have new trucks in the pipeline, or recently launched a new truck, not adopting the testing standards really would have been suspect. We respect that all of the US truck makers will be using it on their light-duty trucks with new models.