By on November 19, 2012

U.S. gasoline prices averaged $3.47 a gallon last week on weak demand, says Reuters. At the same time, record low mortgages instill life in the real estate market and rev up housing starts.  All of this makes auto companies bet on a pick-up of pick-up sales.

What’s more, existing pick-up are getting old and creaky.  53 percent of full-size pickups are now older than 10 years and 27 percent are more than 15 years, Ford’s Americas President Mark Fields told the New York Daily News.

Carmakers are already putting more pickup on dealer lots. As of Nov. 1, Ford had 238,000 pickups in its inventory, up from 192,000 at the same time last year.

Chrysler said it will add 1,250 workers and invest $240 million in three Detroit-area plants to boost truck and engine production.

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44 Comments on “Detroit Bets On Pick-Up Of Pick-Up Sales...”

  • avatar

    “and 27 percent are more than 15 years” Would be a lot higher if the trucks built in the last 15-20 years were built like trucks 40 years ago…

    • 0 avatar

      And rust out after 7 years??

    • 0 avatar

      Amen, amen. The choir is with you, Reverend.
      My current desktop wallpaper is a ’73 F100. Mu current truck is a ’94 Silverado that refuses to die. I can’t bear the thought of replacing it with one of those bloated, fugly monstrosities they’re selling today.
      Huge, blunt locomotive front ends but with a stupidly raked windshield as a gratuitous nod to aerodynamics.

    • 0 avatar

      My ’64 Chevy is still running. That’s the trick with trucks: keep putting in new motors and trannys! As for me, my next truck will be a new-old ’84 Toyota, since none of the manufacturers want to make small trucks anymore!

    • 0 avatar

      Safer, more fuel efficient, more amenities if you so desire, more powerful, more utility, better corrosion protection, more reliable. Why would one think that returning to a 1992 design is preferrable?

      • 0 avatar

        Not 1992 design, but how about mid 90’s size? One could argue that the market has spoken and they want the supersize trucks, but being that there really is not much of a choice, I’d say that is not an accurate argument. Then again, pickups epitomize the American mentality that bigger is universally better…

      • 0 avatar

        More utility? With bedspace increasingly sacrificed to rear seats and four doors?

        That may be more people-carrying utility but then why buy a truck at all when what you’re really after is a large SUV?

        The beds on most trucks sold today (privately, not fleet) are merely vestigial.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m afraid the point is missed. One can still buy a traditional long-bed pickup. But one can also get extended cab, crew cab, king cab, and all other sorts of iterations of passenger and cargo hauling capabilities. All of which provide even more utility, as moving both people and things at the same time is a valid requirement for contractors, landscapers, and families, to name just a few.

      • 0 avatar

        Speaking as someone who works out of a (company provided) pickup every day, I’d prefer to be able to reach over the bedside.

        I am 6’4″ and I have to climb over the tailgate to grab the shovel if it slides into the middle of the bed on the newer pickups. Maddeningly poor design.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Well yeah, but my last work truck had ps/pb/abs/ac/at, airbags, two adapter plugs-ins, am/fm/cd/satellite radio, and cup holders. I’d like to have an old Ford Ranger, from when Ranger was a trim line; for nostalgic reasons. I do not want to spend several hours a day in one. I used to leave my house at 5 in the morning and get home 6-7 at night.

      • 0 avatar

        Ah, yes… 14 hour days in a service van for me. The passenger seat was stacked with plastic tubs holding service manuals, recalls and updates from several OEMs. Couldn’t depend on online access in those days. The center console was a laptop stand holding a ruggedized 486 with a primitive wireless card and a flip-up antenna.
        Everything was cool unless another tech had to ride along.

        I must admit, abs did once save me from a major inconvenience.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, modern advances really suck. That’s why I use carrier pigeons to send my TTAC comments.

      But seriously, how many trucks that are 40 years old are still actively being used for work?

      I’m sympthetic to the belief that certain things were done better previously, but ridiculous blanket statements like this are laughable. A great example of one bad trend is that current full-size trucks are so much larger than those of your. But are they any less tough? I doubt it — probably tougher due to better grades of steel and better engineering.

  • avatar

    I know a few months ago, GM was getting a bit of negative attention for the number of pickups on dealer lots vs the rate at which they were selling; how does that compare to the quoted amount that Ford has now? Especially the two stated reasons for the high inventory were the plant change-over for the new 2014 models & an expected growth in demand.

  • avatar

    Most pickup trucks that wear out quickly are work trucks. Without work, there will be fewer new pickup trucks sold. Because of Obama taxes, Higher IRS taxes and Carbon tax, many of these trucks will languish on the dealer lots for quite awhile.

    • 0 avatar

      Or maybe people just don’t have money to buy excess capacity?

      I don’t envy those who buy a new vehicle every 3 years. I think they’re insane and the weight of the debt they’ve racked up will eventually come crashing down on them.

    • 0 avatar

      My Brother -in -law in Australia , just inherited a 1995 Toyota Hilux a basically small pickup. It has had a hard worklife but it has 320,000miles on it not Kmh. Those sort of numbers are par for the course for work pickups here, you get other examples with 1 million or 1.5 Million miles on them. it all depends if they have been USED CONTINUALLY, not stop/ start usage.

  • avatar

    Goin’ to go out and git me a new peek-up now. Hot damn.

  • avatar

    “U.S. gasoline prices averaged $3.47 a gallon last week on weak demand, says Reuters. At the same time, record low mortgages instill life in the real estate market and rev up housing starts. All of this makes auto companies bet on a pick-up of pick-up sales.”

    So gas prices are unnaturally low. Mortgages are unnaturally low. Therefore ‘Muricans will want themselves something big and large and ostentatious. A+B=C, right? I think this is more the American car makers trying to sell what’s become a glut of trucks on their lots to their quarterly investment panels.

  • avatar

    They’re big and ugly. ‘Muricans don’t need them. Gas guzzlers. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve heard the refrain.

    Have you ever ridden in the new p/u’s? Or driven one, particularly the F150? Have you priced one? Like the semi premium one, basically loaded but not to excess?

    Let me tell you, these things are *nice*. Not cheap, but with the average non penalty box going out the door for mid $30’s, there’s one hell of a lot of value in these things. Sure, they don’t get 40mpg neither does any SUV. Big? Yeah, so? Sit in one and feel what it’s like to be able to stretch. Well appointed without going overboard and you walk out with a V8, 4×4, 6’ bed, 4 doors, BoF, and built like a brick sh!thouse.

    Sorry. Don’t start pointing fingers. These will continue to do well and will save the domestic industry. Sucks doesn’t it?

  • avatar

    The problem is that trucks are mechanically simple and therefore the basic components if properly maintained are nearly indestructible. A lot truck owners will keep the vehicle until it (or they) die, so non-work pickups last forever.

    • 0 avatar


      You got that right. Simplicity and ruggedness of PU’s from the 1950’s to the 1990’s was a virtue.
      Then everyone started using them purely as cars, and lo-and-behold, gadgets all over the place.

      Had a 1974 Dodge D100 Club Cab – 225,000 miles and 22 years – yes, with a slant 225 c.i. 6 engine. Gave it to a monk for hauling his nubian goats, and he had it another 3 years ….. and he gave its to a neighbor for logging the “back 40″…and…it’s still there and still logging. Other than major components, including the NP435 granny-gear transmission, there was nothing that even could break, with due respect and good maintenance.

      My 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 is following in those footstep, but I’d be terrified if I had to buy a new PU “anything” from the Big Three right now.


    • 0 avatar

      So true, Mandalorian. But it’s not a problem for us owners.
      I’m in a pretty large group of the US population who keep a pickup running for a decade or more because it had already reached functional perfection when I bought it.

      We all have some variant of little sippy-cars that will do for errands and lower the household expenditure for gas. And most of us also have a third vehicle/spouse car that’s good for the highway. Using these only prolongs the life of our trucks.

      But when there’s hauling to do, when the snow is deep, when somebody is moving and I can’t escape helping…. I has a truck :-)

    • 0 avatar

      Mandalorian, I used to keep my trucks running until the wheels fell off, but no more.

      I kept my 1988 Silverado running until 2011, even while I owned a 2006 F150. Both of them cost me a lot of money in parts, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, tooling and wrenching on them.

      I’ve heard and read the arguments about how good these new trucks are supposed to be and how trouble-free they are designed to be, and I don’t believe a word of it.

      Too many guys I know, guys who actually use their truck for hauling and work, have had to get warranty work done on them. So today’s trucks are just as bad as those of yesteryear.

      I’ve been fortunate with my 2011 Tundra 5.7, and had no warranty issues so far. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to keep it forever.

      Three to five years is my new mantra. I don’t finance so max trade-in value is what motivates me to buy a new truck. All vehicles will break down eventually, and I’m too old to tool and wrench on them now.

      It doesn’t make sense to keep any new vehicle beyond the warranty period. Let the inevitable repairs be someone else’s worry.

      • 0 avatar

        I think that’s a good philosophy HDC, trouble is you have to tie up a sizable amount of capital and debt every three to five years in addition to buying an depreciating asset at near MSRP. If you’re in a position to do so, my hat’s off to you.

      • 0 avatar

        28-Cars-Later, actually I started this philosophy after buying my 2011 Tundra. And at this point I’m still not able to let go of our 2008 Japan-built Highlander Limited.

        When I bought the Highlander in 2008 we had every intention to keep it as long as we kept my wife’s 1992 Towncar and about every other car I ever bought, all of them which were still parked on our property at that time.

        So in Nov 2011 I bought my wife a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit near Phoenix, AZ, and the dealer’s offer on our Highlander was more than reasonable ($28K on paper vs the $38K we paid for it new), considering all the miles it had put on it in three years, but I just could not part with it. It had been a problem-free vehicle, and continues to be so ’til this very day.

        Thus, my plans may be to trade every three to five years but I haven’t actually put it into practice just yet. I can’t seem to part with my vehicles. I ended up selling my Silverado, Towncar and F150, and every other old car and motorcycle I had parked on the property, to private parties for cash money.

        And as far as the money aspect is concerned, it really isn’t that much of a factor. Even with my measly income I can manage to put away $1000 a month and in 36 months that totals $36K PLUS the retained trade-in value of the vehicle, which easily allows for the purchase of a new vehicle, outright.

        Look, it’s only money and you can’t take it with you. I’ve never seen a hearse with a U-Haul behind it.

        {Speaking of which; a lot of old people are redistributing their assets and wealth by converting their bank accounts, etc into cash money and doling it out to their kids and grand kids in the form of cash money.

        My wife’s dad shows up at our place every couple of weeks with grocery bags full of $100 bills for our safe-keeping, to be distributed among our kids and grandkids, in case of his death. And he does the same for my wife’s three other sisters and their family.

        And he is not the only one doing it since it wasn’t his idea to begin with. It’s a new concept called “Shadow Banking” where you become your own ATM. It seems to have gained momentum since Obama was first elected in 2008.

        Because of this behind-the-scenes monetary phenomenon, I do believe that a lot of people are hoarding cash to carry them through the coming hard times.}

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting, I had never heard of the shadow banking concept. I recently lost my grandmother (who was penniless) and never had other grandparents, but if I had children and my mum did this for them I would request at least some of the cash be converted into something tangible. I’m not sure we are headed for Weimar style inflation, but the dollar losing 50% of its value in a few years is not out of the question. The value of tangible assets will rise in the same period.

      • 0 avatar

        People have been talking about hyperinflation for 5 years. I’ll wait for the next update in 2017.

      • 0 avatar

        28-Cars-Later, keeping cash around is not the only thing that these financial sages do. There’s also the buying up of existing homes and trust funds so that their kids and grandkids will have a semi-secure financial future, and a place to live if need be.

        There’s the buying of fully-paid up burial contracts at mortuaries, or the paying-off of life insurance policies, in full. Anything that converts the excess cash into a valid negotiable instrument that works for the buyer. I’ve even heard of people buying Savings Bonds for their grand children.

        The idea here is to give their kids and grandkids a better chance to get off to a good start in life, and not have to depend on the government for handouts, like so many do. One of those good starts is education. Lotsa money going there, in trusts and 529s.

        I’ve never had money. My dad was a penniless Portuguese immigrant and my mom was a German immigrant brought to this area when her grandfather was brought to the missile range to work on the captured V2 rockets in 1945.

        I’ve always made it my policy to keep some cash around the house, just in case. I was surprised that so many people I know, and some that I play poker with every Wednesday night, should be of the same philosophy.

        Come to find out that many people are doing just that, like the proverbial keeping their money in their mattress, so to speak. The Feds hate it cause they can’t control it, tax it or regulate it.

        Money kept in the bank sure doesn’t pay anything so you might as well keep it readily available. And most people figure that if it is out of sight of the IRS, it is also out of mind for the IRS.

        And whether or not we’re headed toward hyperinflation doesn’t really matter since the name of the game is not how much you make, but really how much you get to keep, even if it is worth… less.

        So it is not unusual for one of my contractor buddies to trade his old Silverado off for a new one and fork over the cash to pay for the difference.

        I think a lot of guys (who can) are going to buy new trucks before the end of the year, just to be on the safe side because no one knows what lies ahead in 2013-2016. We can speculate, but it is always better to err on the side of caution. It’s hell when you’re not prepared.

        Sure, there’s some paperwork you have to fill out when you pay cash for large purchases, so the Feds can check to see if you have a criminal history. But if you keep the bank’s wrapper around the stack of bills, no one questions where you got the money.

        Earlier this year I bought a 2012 Wrangler for my grandson at Camp Pendleton, with two stacks of $100 bills. No one cared. The dealer was tickled pink. So much fungible cash.

        I think now that the election has been decided, we’re going to see a lot of people buy new cars and trucks before year’s end, or otherwise invest ready cash, like in a second home. A lotta people are actually paying cash for a second home. The cash is out there and some people are putting it to good use. Shadow Banking, indeed.

  • avatar

    Id bet more on sales of light trucks bring up because of the oil boom in ND, MT and Alberta. It would be interesting to see what states saw most increase in sales

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t forget Saskatchewan, Andy.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree figures would be interesting, esp against the rest of the regions in N.A.

    • 0 avatar

      I can tell you for a fact that this is true. The biggest volume dealerships in Canada aren’t in Toronto Ontario, but near Edmonton and Calgary, AB.

      MASSIVE fleet numbers to the oil fields keep those places going. Those trucks are pretty well used up in a year if they haven’t been flipped into a ditch or smashed into the woods. They just keep ordering more and more and more.

      • 0 avatar

        Nice to see my home of Edmonton mentioned. It’s true. There are lots of used car lots selling just these used up trucks. Want a 2011 model half ton with 130000 km’s? Lots of them. ¾ an 1-tons too, all over the place.

      • 0 avatar

        deliverator, I went out there a couple years ago and saw it for myself. While in town I went to an Adesa auction that was ripe with late model pickups of every stripe. From stripper gas mod motor Fords to 8.1L Chevys to every type of diesel truck offered in the last 10 years.

        Unfortunately, even the newest and lowest mileage units appeared to be used very hard and all showed serious age. Just a glance at most of them indicated they would need serious suspension and brake work, along with glass and paint, body and interior work.

      • 0 avatar

        What sort of prices are these 130km trucks going for deliverator?

  • avatar

    record low mortgages instill life in the real estate market and rev up housing starts

    just talk to a mort broker here in van, the banks had been tightening the lending,
    the borrower must have some tax return to proof income, and many who owns cash biz was able to show little or no income, so the borrowing is going to be harder, before last june’s candian new rule, if one has enuf down 35 or 50% they can ignore the tax returns record. Now is no dice. So mortgage borrowing is not as easy as it was.
    atleast we didnt have a giant melt down like 5yrs ago.

  • avatar

    I don’t know what they’re smoking? The economy and the housing markets suck and in my opinion are only going to get worse.

    I’ve got a brother in construction management, who surprisingly has kept his job so far, and with his current work truck, his employer released it three times instead of getting him a new truck as they had always done before. So yes it’s true that there are older trucks out there, but that doesn’t mean they’ll just replace them anytime soon when they’re fighting for any small jobs that they can land.

  • avatar

    OK, 10 year old pickups outnumber all the trucks that came before them, and they die off shortly after. Well, we assume it’s just normal attrition and “they don’t build them like they used to…”, (aside from C4C). However, there’s one pretty important thing not accounted for.

    Once pickups reach 10 years old, they can be legally imported in Mexico and Mexicans aren’t looking for beat to death work/base trucks. They already have plenty of those.

    We could be losing up to a million of the best examples of 10+ year old pickups to Mexico and beyond, including stolen trucks.

    This is why Detroit is betting on pickups. The US inventory of used cars doesn’t see nearly the same level of attrition as trucks. Cars can also be imported at 10 years old, but only at 10. Truck can be imported from 10-25 years old.

    Also, isn’t the Peso stronger than the Dollar? When has that ever happened???

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