Pickup trucks used to be the ride of the working-class, the vehicular equivalent of the humble denim. But just like designer jeans, today’s trucks have gone upmarket.
Nowhere is this more evident than a recent study by JD Power, which found that price tags of new trucks have soared by an astonishing 61% over the last 10 years. In contrast, the average price of all vehicles rose by only 28% over the same period.
According to data by JD Power, Americans shelled out an average of $44,000 for a new full-size pickup last year, compared to just under $27,000 in 2009. Currently, the average price point of all vehicles is only around $32,500.
This price disparity is significant for the Big Three of Detroit. The bulk of Ford and General Motors’ global revenue last year came from full-size pickups like the F-Series and the Chevy Silverado, this despite such models accounting for only 10-15% of total sales volume.
In fact, the Q4 earnings of all three automakers were driven by strong truck demand in the US market. Ford in particular stated that robust sales of domestic pickup trucks enabled it to offset overseas losses.
GM’s edge in the pickup truck segment allowed it to reap an 8% global operating margin, which is about the same as luxury brands like Mercedes Benz and BMW. For Fiat Chrysler, meanwhile, the Ram and Jeep brands contributed a healthy share of revenue, providing FCA with a 6.1% operating margin.