By on July 6, 2012

Well America may be the overall volume leader for pickup truck sales, the per-capita title belongs to Thailand, and they prefer a different flavor of truck as well.

Research for the Chrysler unibody truck story led to a Ward’s Auto report discussing the Thai pickup market. Buyers in the Asian country prefer double-cab midsize pickups, since they offer a good mix of both passenger and cargo space for families that must make do with one vehicle that must be versatile.

Chevrolet’s Colorado was developed in Thailand, and is built domestically, while Ford, Mazda, Isuzu, Nissan and Toyota all have their own truck nameplates. Patima Jeerapaet, president of the Thailand Automotive Institute, told Ward’s that double cab pickups alone account for 37 percent of Thai vehicle production.

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23 Comments on “Number One In Pickup Sales Per Capita? It’s Not Who You Think...”

  • avatar

    If you had to have just one vehicle to do a lot of things and last you 10-15 years at a time, a 4 door pickup truck would probably be about your best bet.

    I can see why the Thai (or anyone else, really) would find a vehicle like this very handy.

  • avatar

    Interesting. In Brazil double cab pick ups are preferred, too. Hilux, S10, Ranger, Forntier, all offer the style and sell much more than single cab. From some makers, the single cab style must be factory ordered as they are not even available on show room floors.

    Differently frm Thailand what really sells are small (thing VW Rabbit PU size) pickups. Fiat is the absolute leader. Its Strada pickup sells the same as all other light commercial, SUVs, pickups and vans put together. No small part of this is that even in this compact packaging they offer a double cab, though it’s only seats 4 as the back seat is very tight. They now extended the double cab to all their lines and they are making a killing.

    If curious take a look at the site. Would something that small have a chance in America? I’m thinking that in Canada and Mexico it would do very well.

  • avatar

    In Argentina there is about 30% Pick Up participation in the market.

  • avatar

    Winter in Canada might make it less practical for single vehicle households.

    Never owned a pickup, what do you do with whatever you’re carrying when you expect snow? (Think suitcases when visiting family, or groceries)

  • avatar

    Pickup trucks are taxed at a rate of 3%, and diesel is subsidized. The tax on a passenger car can be over 30%. The tax structure surely has much to do with this.

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting, I wonder how much has this got to do with the popularity of a certain type of vehicles. In Indonesia, it’s MPV/Minibuses that got the special tax rate, thus become the most popular. Though the tax break does extend into hatchbacks nowadays (they’re classified in the registration paper as “minibus”!”) but still, three row MPVs rule. Maybe our people has been conditioned over the years. I wonder if preferential tax rates were abolished, people would gravitate toward sedans/hatchback like the rest of the world.

    • 0 avatar

      Without a doubt the tax structure is the “driver” of vehicle choice.

      Several years ago PUs accounted for around 60% of sales. In 2011 it was about 41%.

      Excise taxes have been lowered on so-called “eco” cars, so cars are starting to replace trucks.

      From my own observations in Thailand I don’t see that Thais have a greater need to haul cargo than people in other nations. A double cab PU is essentially a sedan with an open trunk. Technically a truck, it is taxed at a lower rate.

  • avatar

    I was stationed in Micronesia in the late seventies and saw the first of this breed there. Not in Guam where I was stationed but in Saipan or any other island not so hung up on US servicemen and the need to take vehicles back to the states.

    Just about every japanese pickup came in the four door as well as king cab or standard. Subaru brat also very popular. Bought a Datsun King cab there (1981 MY) and drove it into the ground (250k miles). I think the thai people must be pretty bright (about trucks at least). With a trailer mine worked like a 1 ton.

  • avatar

    Found it funny. Though the article is on Thailand, once I paid attention to the picture (which I didn’t at first), I realized it’s the new Brazilian Chevy S10. Got doubly suspicious it was so when I saw the old Fusca (Beetle) in the background. When I was about to click on pic to take a closer look, I realized the caption indeed cofirmed it was a Brazilian and not a Thai truck.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    GM has the Colorado/Canyon combo and that is good. Ford, especially Ford, and Chrysler executives should be locked in a room and forced to watch Barney and Sponge Bob videos until they bring small crew cab trucks to the US. Better yet, record the looks on their faces when VW or Fiat does it 1st. Tata diesel crew cabs? I’ll believe it when the boat pulls into San Pedro.

    • 0 avatar

      They probably alread do. I mean, how else would we have been blessed with the K car, Pinto, and Cavalier?

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        What’s worse, I had Pinto in HS and drove K cars when I worked part time for a car rental agency. The Pinto had the durability and finesse of a tractor. I’d swear Chrysler sent guys to junkyards to drive stakes thru K car engines. I’ve driven much better cars since then.

  • avatar

    “families that must make do with one vehicle that must be versatile.”

    While this is a bit of common sense, I think the Thai are onto something here. The four door small pickup (with a real 4×4 transfer case) would probably be the most versatile family vehicle of all time. Load up a tourquey V6/I6 for towing and add cylinder deactivation for increased economy, and I think we have a winner.

  • avatar

    there’s a problem with these

    firstly they are relatively expensive… where i am you are talking $35,000 for a fairly basic model with 4 star ncap

    maybe $25,000 for a chinese one with no ncap

    they have horrible handling and lag in active safety

    gasoline ones drink too much as they are well over 4,000lb and have the aerodynamics of a brick

    diesel ones are ok but they dont usually have much of an auto option

    they are huge… although a step below an F150 they are still very big and you won’t be doing anyone favours at the car park

    they have truck like interiors and finishing

    you usually sit bolt upright in the back

    the tub is usually not full size

    so basically its a compromise… you don’t get a full tub and you don’t get proper rear seat space

    ford/mazda and VW seek to address some of these complaints however i can’t help but think maybe a monocoque truck with perhaps a space cab arrangement may also work… with passenger suicide doors like an rx8?

  • avatar

    The ladder-frame keeps the prices down, and works better with heavy cargo.

    The newer pick-ups in this class have decent back seats. The back seat of the Mitsubishi Strada is actually as liveable as a Lancer, actually.

    My favorite of this bunch of Thai-made, Thai-market vehicles, though, is the discontinued Ford Ranger. A punchy, torquey three liter diesel with stump-pulling torque, an off-road worthy 4WD system and a rear LSD that provides hours of giggly fun in parking lots more than make up for the jiggly ride and horrible back seat.

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