Expected to outpace the broad passenger vehicle market, pickup truck sales are surging. In 2012, sales ended strongly with numbers around the 14.6 million unit mark, and 2013 numbers look like they will be even stronger with analysts predicting that the growth will continue. Trucks counted for two of the top three spots in last year's top 20 list, based on number of North American sales in 2012.
Capitalizing on the trend, each of the Big 3 North American auto makers- Ford Motor Co, Chrysler Group and General Motors Co have launched revamped models of their pick up truck lines, showcasing them at the big auto shows such as the North American International Auto Show in Detroit early this year. With so many newly redesigned trucks hitting the market at once, demand is expected to soar.
With margins in full size pickups being higher than in cars, competition is fierce between the Big Three. Pickup trucks can generate on average $8,000 to $10,000 in profits for manufacturers, compared to only a few hundred dollars created by small and midsize cars. Ford's F-series is considered to be the best selling vehicle in North America and a new version of their popular F-150 will be built for 2015. Ford's newly redesigned top-to-bottom RAM 1500 won the prestigious North American Truck-Utility of the Year Award this year.
GM has released new versions of it's Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full sized trucks this year, demonstrating that they are back on track after being bailed out by taxpayers in 2009.
In 2004, the peak year of pickup truck sales and at the height of the home building before the economy crumbled, 2.46 million full size pickup trucks were sold in the US. Analysts are confident that as things recover, sales could hit the 2 million unit mark soon.
Towards the end of 2012, each company announced increases in autumn sales of their trucks over a year ago, ranging from 6 percent (Chevrolet Silverado) to Toyota's Tacoma and Tundra, each up over 20 percent. These truck numbers were better than overall numbers for each company, suggesting that pick up truck sales hold an important position in the recovery of each automaker. October 2012 was the best October for each of these companies in five years.
With gas prices fairly stable, fuel economy is less of an issue with trucks these days. The increase in sales has been aided by a recovering housing and construction market. Traditionally, the relationship between housing construction and pick up truck sales has not been mutually exclusive. With a strong correlation between the two, increases in one sector is generally a good indicator of better health in the other. Historically pick up truck sales have made up 17 percent of the US automotive market. Last year, at the tail end of the country's economic collapse, they counted for only 11 percent.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca