Luxury Pickup Demand Heating Up

Huw Evans
by Huw Evans

It may seem odd in these times of austerity and relatively high gas prices but truck sales are remaining buoyant. Not only that, but demand for higher end offerings, with all the bells and whistles is up significantly.

Ford’s F-150 Platinum model, has far exceeded expectations, making up six percent of total F-150 annual sales, double the amount originally projected. The $50,000 Harley Davidson edition has also been somewhat of a sales star: Since it’s 1999 launch, some 700,000 examples have been sold.

Across town, the Ram 1500 Laramie has been a surefire hit, with this year’s orders for the new top end Limited model (Chrysler’s most expensive truck yet), already spoken for. In fact, according to RAM brand CEO Fred Diaz, it took just three days for dealers to snap up the entire allocation of 2012 Laramie Limiteds.

Dubbed a Platinum fighter by Chrysler, Ford intends to counter the Laramie Limited with an even more luxurious F-150 spun off the 2013 facelifted truck, pushing further the price envelope on half-ton pickups.

In the heavy-duty segment it seems buyers are also willing to pay more for trucks loaded with creature comforts. Among GMC’s Sierra HD line, the luxury lined Denali is accounting for 35 percent of total sales last year, versus 15 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, back at Chrysler’s Ram division, the percent of Heavy Duty models that went for $50,000 or more was at 29 percent in 2011, versus 22 a year earlier.

Although some industry analysts predict that overall pickup demand will decrease in the coming years – Metro Detroit based LMC Automotive projects trucks will represent 12.7 percent of the overall vehicle market in 2016, versus 14.1 percent today – if demand continues to grow for the highly profitable, higher-end pickups, then there’s every reason for automakers, especially the Detroit three to remain heavily invested in this segment.

[Source: Automotive News]

Huw Evans
Huw Evans

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