Are Pickup Trucks Becoming The Biggest Sales Threat To Luxury Cars?

Truck

Instead of 3 Series vs. C-Class, should it be 3 Series vs. F-150?

We all know pickup truck sales are hot in the US. So hot that automakers have discovered that even the once left for dead mid-size truck segment still has plenty of life left in it, hence the revival of the Ford Ranger. But there’s something today’s trucks have that those of yesteryear did not: luxury. Just look at the Ford F-150 Platinum, which carries a base price of nearly $55,000. The ability to combine luxury and utility with a body style that’s all-American is simply too good of a deal for many to pass up.

According to Bloomberg, luxury car brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz now have to contend with the ever-expanding premium pickup truck segment. Are the days of the BMW 3 Series versus the Mercedes-Benz C-Class coming to an end? Not quite, but those luxury brands are still very much feeling the impact of luxury truck sales. For example, about 13 percent of F-150 customers traded in a luxury car in the first seven months of this year, according to data compiled by Edmunds.

Only five years ago that figure was 11 percent. The F-150’s GM rivals, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, have also done their part to harm luxury car sales with trade-in rates of 15 and 9 percent, respectively.

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Okay, so what’s the big deal, you may be asking yourself. After all, it’s just one purchase and Americans pretty regularly buy or lease a new vehicle. So could they trade-in the truck for something else the next time? Yes, but it's likely to be another truck. “One of the main tenets of truck sales is, once you get a truck owner, they have very high odds of never leaving,” according to a senior analyst at Edmunds.

While truck sales remain stellar, luxury car sales are actually dropping. Mercedes C-Class sales, for example, decreased by 23 percent last month. Even Mercedes GLA compact crossover sales were down by 34 percent. Are luxury trucks to blame? Not entirely, but they are certainly a factor.

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