Ford: Housing Starts Key to Pickup Sales

Home Start Ford II

With April pickup truck sales closing strong, especially for all three Detroit truck makers, it's no wonder everyone is trying to figure out why.

At a recent presentation at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant, where the automaker is expanding F-150 production, Doug Scott, Ford's truck group marketing manager, said that the best leading indicator Ford has seen regarding truck sales are the government's numbers on new housing starts.

Ford's data indicates that F-Series pickup truck sales and new residential construction are about as closely tied together as you can get. In fact, with only a few exceptions — mostly due to the seasonal buying habits of truck buyers — as housing starts have gone, so have full-size truck sales. And that relationship goes back to at least 13 years.

When questioned at a local media gathering in Southern California last month, Scott was wary of making any predictions about how closely tied these two numbers will be in the future, but he was optimistic about Ford truck sales during the next 12 and 18 months.

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I hope Ram gets their act together so that they can benefit from the up-turn. They need it.

PUTC, how about a story about the suburbans, I just read that they had there 77 th birthday ? Glad that pick up trucks sales are rising !! Also with new GM trucks coming very soon, possible u could tie both stories together ?

Might sound selfish but I was hoping the housing market would stay in a slump for a little while more til I was ready to buy.

Gpz85, Mark Williams and this site are biased Ford people, that's how we're forced to read useless stories of how good the ford is, and useless stories of how bad the others are.

There is some corelation between home sales and pickups, but not as much as some would like to think.

In Australia over the past 12 months 4x4 pickup have improved 29%, 4x2s by about 5% and our housing market is not improving very much.

I think business activity, replacement and homes all have had an influence as big as each other.

Another influence are people in many countries are moving towards the lifestyle SUVs style vehicles like pickups.

It' a combination of trends, not just one in particular one.

Rob Lutz, believe it or not I had dealings with him/or his staff in 1995 over my dismal XJ Cherokee. I sent him a personl fax and he got Doug Croker head of Chrysler and Hyundai at the time in Australia to phone me at work.

I ended up with the best XJ Sports in Australia, except for the mechanical fails.

He came through for me, but he didn't fix Chrysler's inherent quality problems.

Got rid of the Jeep and bought a Nissan Navara D20 Dual Cab diesel, the world's slowest pickup truck I thought, but a tank.

Here is an interesting Ford story that came out in Australia today. It seems Ford Australia design the best pickup in the world with the Ranger and now China's best selling vehicle.

This story goes with the question you posed to me yesterday on the future of the Australian motor industry.

"In Australia over the past 12 months 4x4 pickup have..." -BAFO

Apples and oranges. In the US, pickups are used for construction. You don't even have full-size pickups for sale in Australia.

If every Ford owner parked their vehicles in the garage it would surely stimulate the housing market due to all of the houses burning down from flaming Fords.


Pickup buyers in the US fall into two categories: appearance buyers and people who actually need a truck for work. Many appearance buyers gone away, but trucks are selling to those who use them for work: construction workers, people doing remodeling and odd jobs on the side, and people hauling and towing boats, etc. We don't use a car like they do in Ethiopia and other countries. If you need a truck for construction in the US, you're buying a full-size pickup truck.

Ford Au didn't design the F-150, so no, they definitely had nothing to do with the best pickup in the world. Maybe the 3rd world.

One can say that truck sales are tied to housing starts but the reality of the situation is that both housing starts and vehicle sales are large ticket items. People have more money to spend and/or they are more confident in the economy so they are getting back into making large purchases. Houses and vehicles are two of the most expensive things people buy.

Besides - how many pickups does it take to build a house?

Construction companies that are seeing an increase in business will invest in equipment to meet those expanding needs.

They are signs of an improving economy.

@Dave: "Pickup buyers in the US fall into two categories: appearance buyers and people who actually need a truck for work."

That's only about half right; you ignore those who buy a truck as a second, utility-based vehicle that, for some anyway, is also their daily commuter whether they work on a construction site, in a factory or in an office somewhere. They didn't buy it "for work" but rather because they needed its capabilities at least often enough to make owning one worthwhile. I, personally, fall under that third category where sometimes I have a need to carry something that is simply too big or too dirty to ride in the back of my 4-door Jeep.

WTF are you rambling about? Fullsize pickup truck sales indicate the level of your stupidity and ignorance more than anything else.

We have Pickups/Utes for Tradesmen. No" we do not have fullsize Pickups for construction ",we have much larger/heavier and capable Trucks to do that.

"Ford Au didn't design the F-150, so no, they definitely had nothing to do"
I would chat to some of the people on the Ford Design team in Detroit. You maybe very surprised on what they say. yes Ford Australia was involved in helping produce the current F150.More of a "Global Effort" these days.

Rob, That was point. Don't try to poo poo this article on construction jobs linked to full-sizes by looking at your ute sales when a) you don't don't use utes for construction jobs, b) you don't have full-sizes and c) your housing is not improving very much. You are just trying to come off as smarter than the author, but you just end up being wrong, snobbish and off-topic again.

You aren't very bright are you? We do get full size US imported pickups.

We can import US trucks, but you aren't allowed to import our trucks and drive them, BY LAW.


Al is one of these guys living in the past who is too proud to admit anything is better than what he has. There is a much bigger world out there than the Ranger.

@Dave - you are over generalizing the pickup truck buyer by lumping them into 2 categories. "appearance buyers and people who actually need a truck for work."

My definition of "actually need a truck for work" is a truck used by a company, contractor, subcontractor, worker who actually used the truck as a "work tool" or someone who needs a truck to get to a job site that cannot be accessed reliably by anything else.
A guy going to Home Depot for a few 2x4's and a sheet of plywood does not count.
Anyone who does not put food on the table directly or indirectly with their pickup is a lifestyle buyer. There are subcategories:
Appearance buyer - I see a large number of lifted HD's with delete kits, big tires and other mods that never see dirt (even in the part of the world I'm from). Most Raptor and Power Wagon buyers fall into that category. I do see the odd one actually used as a work vehicle or an off-road utensil.

Family vehicle - I'd say most fall into this category. They take the owner to work 5 days a week. (Any other vehicle can do the same thing). They haul toys, pack supplies for reno's, yard work, are used to get out to camping spots etc.

Offroad toy - I do see the rare Raptor and Power Wagon that falls into this category. Most are Tacoma's or pre-Tacoma Toyota trucks, or are Jeeps and old 4x4's.

There are many other categories as well. That is why pickups sell so well, they can fit the needs of almost everyone.

Best in the world? LOL. I'd love to see Al's Mazda Ranger or whatever he calls it over there vs a a 2014 Silverado in a shootout. What a joke.

Yes, there are things bigger than a Ranger. Something I see everday, something you will never see unless you leave that one horse town lifestyle you lead.

Dave, you sound like some punky smartass that needs a clip behind the ears. Before you post make sure you know what you are on about.*eEYpVu7PA5Fz6ylLnMIV8Du9I09ScPY5DTK5-3qfclROVC-5-lqVk8OUAHTl*XxFWN-NYFf3I6V3RhBVB99qpe33M4Dhr/katherine_roadtrain.jpg

@Tyler and Dave
Provide a list on what both of you deem necessary for a pickup. I want you think are the attributes a pickup is required to have.

Remember, what you need a pickup for, ie, if you don't have a trailer don't write tow. If you don't off road, don't list 4x4ing, if you are single, why would you require a twin cab, etc.

Actually anyone can join in.

List what you think are important features you want in a pickup.

The important aspect of this conversation/debate is to justify why you need those features and how often you will use those feature.

Dave and Tyler also consider what I wrote above.

Then we can see how well they match up to what is selling.

In an Off Road shootout, yes the Ranger would beat the Silverado and Yes we do have Silverado's of all types here. The Silverado HD does have its uses.

Pickups are none existent here for the same use you have in the US.i.e Farming and Construction. They are VITAL for the US economy, on the other hand.
The sort of heavier Trucks we have here are pretty rare in the US. A turnup in the housing market in the US is going to drive up sales, as tbe article states.

Thanks Obama!

@lou you were doing so well, then you finished by blowing it. We DO NOT have an improving economy, we have cheap money.

Borrowing today is cheaper than it's ever been. Millions of people can't find full time work, that is NOT an improving economy.

Houses and trucks ARE big ticket items and the government keeps stimulating banks and credit unions to lend with cheap dollars. we are going right back to the bubble that burst back in 2008. It ain't good.

@papa jim - true. I'm trying to be more optimistic. It is a double edged sword, governments would like to increase interest rates to curb borrowing to realistic levels but to do so risks injuring the economy. People have become addicted to spending. One expert refered to ressesions as the hangover after a party. You binge, you pay. It may be latter but eventually you have to pay.

UHHH, Fred you have your god damn head up your ass. For in 2012 and early 2013 Ram took up 75% of all the new articles on You Ram/GM fans are such morons.

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