Americans Are Ditching Luxury Sedans For Pricey Pickup Trucks

Opinion

Instead of a new Audi A6, one guy bought himself a Ford Raptor.

There’s no question pickup trucks are wildly popular in the US, and the number of owners is only increasing. According to a very interesting report from The New York Times, a growing amount of buyers are not only ditching sedans for crossovers, but also for pickup trucks. Even more interesting is the fact these are luxury sedan buyers who previously drove Audis, BMWs, and Porsches. That’s right. Many are now opting for luxury pickup trucks. The NYT piece first mentioned a retired Michigan state trooper who was originally leaning towards a new Audi A6.

Instead, he bought a Ford F-150 Raptor, optioned up to a total of $80,000. That’s just one of many other similar situations happening now. Looking more closely at the data provided by Edmunds, and you’ll see more of the same. For example, GMC accounted for 11.3 percent of domestic sales of models with an average price of $60,000 or more last year. Only five years earlier, GMC made up merely 0.1 percent of those sales. Both Ford and Chevrolet experienced similar, though smaller jumps, thanks to trucks like the Raptor, Lariat, and King Ranch as well as fully-loaded Silverados. Remember, a Ford Super Duty Limited can now set you back $100,000.

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Meanwhile, the portion of $60,000 + sales for brands like Cadillac, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and even Porsche went down. Remember, trucks are highly profitable for the Detroit three, so a $60k truck, which is typically cheaper to produce than a luxury sedan, generates even greater profit. Other trade-in examples NYT mentioned include a 2012 BMW 550i swapped for a $71,000 GMC Sierra Denali. A Jeep dealer also said it expected to quickly sell a pair of $93,000 Grand Cherokee Trackhawks on its lot. Just the other week, Ford announced increased production of its all-new Expedition full-size SUV and its more luxurious (and expensive) cousin, the Lincoln Navigator.

The latter currently has an average sale price of $77,000. So, is this all a trend that’ll soon pass, or are sedan sales really in trouble? Combined with the migration of buyers towards SUVs and crossovers, both mainstream and luxury, and now this upsurge in pickup truck sales, it’s not looking good. The Detroit three and even some foreign automakers acknowledge they are now losing money on some of the cars they sell. More than likely, this sales trend will continue.

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