With pickup truck sales likely to hit the 2 million-unit mark by year’s end, which is something we haven't seen for almost eight years, a lot of automotive writers don't quite know what to do about it.
If you recall, many auto writers and journalists said pickup trucks’ popularity hinged on the fact that the people buying them were doing it for image or fashion reasons. When industry sales dropped, many said this was appropriate because those people didn't need trucks since they weren't performing much work with them or using them to their full capabilities.
Of course this is the same group that can't help stating how the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Corvette and other sports cars are fun to drive, though those buyers will never get close to squeezing out the car’s full potential. And I'm sure there are many full-size sedans that spend their life without at least four people in the seats and a trunk full of gear, but you'll never hear any criticism about how those buyers shouldn't have bought that car in the first place. That particular comment seems reserved for those purchasing pickups.
And now we have sales volumes for full-size pickups ready to break records again as people are coming back to pickups in huge numbers — at rates that are surpassing industry averages by a good margin. How is this to be explained? As Bob Hegbloom, head of the Ram brand, put it at a recent media luncheon, "Once a pickup truck guy, always a pickup truck guy."
So maybe it is that those buyers who had to leave their pickups behind when the recession hit are back in droves. Or it could be that we've never seen pickups with so many clever options or towing and fuel-economy technology before: now we have EcoDiesel, cylinder deactivation, trailer-sway control, tailgate steps, hugely improved interiors, connectivity, powerful V-6 engines, eight-speed transmissions, with even more technology coming.
This is a good time to be in the pickup truck business, but maybe an even better time to be in the market for a new pickup truck. There are a lot of choices, and significant investments are being made into future products. Maybe the average auto writer doesn't know what to do with the strange, new trend of growing pickup truck sales, but customers sure do, especially since they're getting so much more bang from their bucks on dealer lots. Just look at the average transaction price of a full-size pickup truck. It'll make any full-size sedan salesman drool.