2017 State Fair of Texas: Top 5 Takeaways

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We've been coming to the State Fair of Texas for more than a decade, watching it grow as pickup truck manufacturers realized how important this event is to sales. Although we didn't see any all-new models this year, we did see several interesting pickup displays, and new special editions and trim packages. No other auto show has pickup displays as big as the ones in Texas. We find the fair is a great place to get a read on what assumptions truck engineers are making and what trends are likely to hit future models.

Below are just a few of our observations from the 2017 State Fair of Texas, which runs through Oct. 22 in Dallas.


Unlimited prices

1. Unlimited Prices

In the world of pickup trucks designed to tow trailers, premium trim levels are the most sought-after trucks in Texas. We're not surprised that consumers will spend ultra-luxury car prices for a well-equipped tow vehicle since it's likely to tow a trailer costing several hundred thousand dollars. Both Ford and Ram debuted high-end, high-priced special editions at the show.



2. Vehicle Videos

One of the things we like about this show is that each of the truckmakers has just about every version of the pickups they make on display. That's great for consumers and great for us, because we can shoot lots of videos to share with you. In some cases, this show provides us with our first look at trucks already on dealer lots and U.S. highways.


Chevy flatbed

3. A Century of Chevrolet Pickups

Celebrating 100 years of anything is a big deal, and Chevrolet made a very big deal about its long pickup history with a new display and a pair of celebratory special-edition pickup trucks: the Colorado Z71 and Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 Centennial Editions — all blue, well-equipped and with unique badging. Chevrolet traces its truck-building history back to a 1918 open-cab parts hauler flatbed — that's how far it's come.


Toyota display

4. Import Power

Nissan and Toyota set up the biggest displays they've ever had in Texas. While smaller players in the full-size pickup class, both have plenty of small (Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma), large (Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra) and extra-large (Nissan Titan XD with a Cummins V-8) vehicles on display. The Tundra is doing exceptionally well with its Texas Edition (no surprise, since Toyota builds its pickups in Texas and has its corporate headquarters there), while Nissan highlighted it impressively "murdered-out" Midnight Editions.


Ram interior

5. New Battlefield

Pickups are expected to be stump-pulling brutes and that's where manufacturers have traditionally duked it out. But all the luxury trims they're creating make it clear that the new battlefield is specialized interiors. Pickup cabins that offer luxurious materials along with advanced safety, audio and connectivity technology are what buyers notice. Of the top-dog trims we saw, it seemed that Ram's less-expensive Laramie Longhorn Southfork Edition has the upper hand. But then again, Ram does not offer massaging seats, front and rear blind spot detection or high-tech 360-degree cameras. Well-played Ford.

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry and Angela Conners; manufacturer images






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It is hard to envision a scenario where the major automakers don't finish 2017 doing very well with large SUVs and full size pickups. Even Nissan and Toyota should outperform. The economic growth during the last eight quarters shows no sign of letting up.

RAM is a bit of a question mark because their leadership stays the same (and stays the course). The strategies that worked for FCA during the soft years of the Obama economy probably won't do as well now that growth in North America has warmed up so solidly.

Ford has a new CEO, and GM's CEO survived an attempt to reorganize her boardroom. All in all this is good for consumers. Gas prices are quickly returning to normal and cheap gas means good times ahead for those of us who enjoy our trucks.

Pity there is no news about the Rebel TRX

Start the article with Ford and end with Ford. That's how you show your bias, again.

I'm kind of liking the way the Titan king cab looks. That flat tailgate looks refreshing too, everyone else seems to only sell ones with seams that look like they got bent in an accident. A lot more business owners (contractors) used to have our business logo on the tailgate but I don't see it on newer trucks because they are misshapen. Another small annoyance along with the slow death of the extended cab, lack of diesel base models, and other things that make it more expensive to buy an effective work truck.

Its also interesting to note, gas is not cheap everywhere, as papa stated, but then again, not being away from the home will do that to you. In my area diesel is 309/gallon, prior to the hurricanes, it was 2.60/gallon. I know from travel, gas and diesel is cheaper down south than it is in New England. But right now, there hasn't been relief.

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Gas prices still falling in northern New England

Originally published October 9, 2017 at 4:28 am Updated October 9, 2017 at 4:34 am
By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Gas prices in northern New England are still falling in northern New England.

The latest survey from GasBuddy shows average retail gasoline prices in Maine fell 5.5 cents per gallon in last week, averaging $2.45 on Sunday. In Vermont, the price was $2.58 per gallon, down 3.9 cents from the previous week. The price in New Hampshire was down 3.8 cents in the past week, to $2.52 per gallon.

The national average has fallen 6 cents in the last week to $2.47 per gallon. That’s 19.3 cents lower than a month ago and 21.4 cents higher than a year ago.

@chris I wish were that case here in NY, diesel is crazy right now.


Move down South where the gas is cheap and the living is good.

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