Here's Why Pickup Trucks Are Status Symbols In China

It's China. Things work differently there.

In many ways, China is new to wealth. The communist nation has westernized dramatically over the past couple of decades, and its citizens are certainly enjoying all of the perks that come with it. And then there are China’s wealthy elite, and they love nothing more than to spend and make sure everyone knows it. We already knew that big luxury sedans are seen as status symbols in China. Owners don’t even drive them, preferring to hire chauffeurs instead. As it turns out, according to, even big pickup trucks are status symbols as well.

Unlike Americans, Chinese truck owners don’t use them for hauling, towing, or anything of the like, but rather like to show them off. Why? Because of the 25 percent import tax the government tacks on to US-built pickups. Paying that tax is a clear sign of one’s wealth. Furthermore, China’s roads and highways are predominantly filled with smaller vehicles, many of which are electric or hybrids. Driving around in a big, full-size truck gets an awful lot of attention. Yes, there are some off-road Chinese enthusiasts, but nothing on the scale of the US. Trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 Raptor have many capabilities, but they’re a dime a dozen in the US.

See one and you’ll barely even notice. But in China, it’s the exact opposite, and that’s the whole point. GM will be exporting Silverados with the 6.2-liter V8 to China and, for that market, these are going to be special. But a 25 percent import tax? This same tax also applies towards fuel, maintenance and parts. Chinese truck ownership definitely ain’t cheap.

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