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JATO: US demand for pickups remains strong despite price increases

From the 2010 model year through to September 2019, 14.6% of new vehicle sales in the United States have been pickup trucks, according to JATO Dynamics. From a 13.1% market share in 2010, pickups have grown to claim a 16.8% market share in 2019.


Source: JATO Dynamics

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 (17 million). During this time period, the F-150 was the best-selling vehicle in the US, with more than 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%).

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.

—Donald Smith, Vice President Sales & Marketing at JATO

US consumers’ loyalty to pickups has remained consistent over the decade, even as the vehicles 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%.


Source: JATO Dynamics

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 18.0% of all 2019 pickups having such products installed as standard. This is much higher than the demand for branded audio seen in 2010, as just 5.1% of pickups had the devices installed. Similarly, standard 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, said JATO—the Ford F-350 Limited 4x4 Crew Cab 8' Box DRW. This model is equipped with massaging, camelback leather seats, Bang & Olufsen premium audio, and 180/360-degree cameras—alongside a 6.7-liter diesel engine and 5,530 lbs. payload allowance. (Estimated net starting price of $88,375.)


Ed Hart

I need to remind us that Detroit has very cleverly pressed for the EPA Footprint Rule and then has exploited that rule to the maximum:

So.....all future truck will get ever bigger. Brace yourself:


The Tesla Cybertruck starts at $40K and hauls more, tows more, is faster, rust and bullet proof, cheaper to operate and maintain with on board 120 V and 240 V power takeoff, height adjustable suspension up to 18 inches, built in loading ramp and tonneau cover.

Good Point Ed.

Also omitted from the analysis of the odd popularity of trucks for regular use in US vs other markets is the bonus depreciation /Section 179 tax accounting rules.

When you can buy a luxury truck for an effective 30% less than a luxury sedan, it creates a pretty big market distortion.

US is incentivizing the wrong behaviors. We need a carbon tax.

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