American loyalty for Pickup trucks remains strong despite price increases
- From 2010 to 2019, pickups accounted for 14.6% of new vehicle sales in the US
- The F-150 was the best-selling vehicle in the US with over 5.2 million units sold
- Consumer demand for pickups has soared, despite design evolutions
When people think about the United States’ automotive market, one of the first models that springs to mind are pickup trucks, and for a good reason. From the 2010 model year through to September 2019, 14.6% of new vehicle sales in the United States have been pickup trucks. In contrast, pickups globally have had a significantly smaller market share – approximately 3.7% over the same time period.
Throughout the past decade pickups in the United States saw higher sales figures than new vehicles from countries such as Russia (19.1 million), Canada (17.8 million), and Italy (17million). During this time period, the F-150 was the best-selling vehicle in the US, with over 5.2 million units sold. This is such a strong performance, that if the F-150 were its own brand, it would have been the 9th best-seller – slotting between Kia and Subaru (5.4 million and 4.9 million sales respectively). However, while the United States sold the most pickup trucks during the 2010 – 2019 model years, pickups managed to secure a larger market share in Canada over the same time period (18.2%).
Donald Smith, Vice President Sales & Marketing at JATO, commented: “Americans have been able to transform a work vehicle into a fashionable and semi-luxury product that appeals to more consumers than ever before, and the recent Tesla Cybertruck is a good example of this. Despite price increases, consumers are willing to pay more if the offer is in appealing sub-sectors- such as trucks and SUVs – and continue to be upgraded with new applications and accessories.”
American loyalty to pickups has remained consistent over the decade, even as they have become more luxurious and expensive over the years. For example, pickups from the 2019 model year had an average base MSRP of $44,039, an increase of 35.1% from 2010. In comparison, over the same period, the best-selling body type, SUV, saw an increase of just 16.4%.
There have also been a number of changes to the product on offer over the past decade. The popularity of branded audio systems, (such as Bose, Sony and Hardman/Kardon) has increased significantly for pickups, with 18% of all 2019 pickups having such products installed. This is much higher than the demand for branded audio seen in 2010, as just 5.1% of pickups had the devices installed. Similarly, leather seats were also installed in 27.3% of 2019 pickups, compared to just 17.8% in 2010.
Moreover, despite the average engine size in pickups decreasing from 5.0 to 4.9 litres between 2010 and 2019, there were improvements seen in both average payload allowance (1,823 lbs. vs. 2,186 lbs.) as well as average combined mpg (14.6 mpg vs. 17.8 mpg).
2019 also saw the creation of the most expensive pickup in the United States – the Ford F-350 Limited 4×4 Crew Cab 8′ Box DRW. This model was equipped with massaging, camelback leather seats, Bang & Olufsen premium audio, and 180/360-degree cameras – alongside a 6.7 litre engine and 5,530 lbs. payload allowance.