As sales of heavy SUVs and pickups continue to dwindle and at the same time pull down the market share of the Detroit 3, product planners are now contemplating the final demise of truck-based designs and doing as much as they can to pick up the pieces. We saw earlier today that Ford is planning to add a smaller version of its popular F-150 pickup and previously we reported that GM was close to dropping its decades old truck designs.

The General has now gone a step further and announced that it will conduct a research project into the state of pickup and SUV sales. GM's president of North America, Troy Clarke, has stated an internal study was in place seeking to determine the "structural impact" of the consumer shift away from pickups and SUVs. Product planners are looking to the long-term future and attempting to decide whether today's trend towards smaller cars will necessarily be tomorrow's prerogative, reports Automotive News.

April of 2008 represented an especially poor month for GM's pickup and SUV sales, compared to the same period last year. In just one year, the sale of full-sized pickups dropped 18.5%, while full-sized SUV's suffered a massive 31.5% loss in sales. Both figures are worrying for the General, who has previously seen these two segments as market strongholds and is now banking on increased sales of new crossover models like the new Chevrolet Traverse (pictured).

2009 Chevrolet Traverse