By on June 10, 2013

2013 Ford King Ranch - Pocture courtesy trucktrend.com

To hell with saving gas: As TTAC’s sales analyst Tim Cain wrote a week ago, big trucks are back with a vengeance. It’s not just that sales are up by double digits. Transaction prices are up big.

“In many ways, this may be an even better time than before the recession,” writes Automotive News [sub].  “Although volumes remain well below the previous peaks, average transaction prices for full-sized pickups have increased at more than double the average rate for the industry since 2005.”

Pricey pickups

According to Edmunds, average transaction prices for large pickups are close to $40,000, up 29 percent from 2005, when the average big pickup left the dealership for $31,000. In the same time-frame, transaction prices for all automobiles rose only 13 percent.

This bodes well for Detroit’s profits. According to Morgan Stanley, the F series accounted for 90 percent of Ford’s profits, while the Silverado and Sierra generated two-thirds of GM’s earnings in 2012.  What is REALLY driving profits is high trims.

Says Automotive News:

“Pickup transaction prices have risen in large part because of increasing sales of high-end trims, including the F-150 King Ranch, the Ram Laramie and the upcoming Silverado High Country. A 4×4 2013 F-150 Limited has a starting price of more than $54,000.

Ford’s Scott said 30 percent of F-150 retail sales and more than half of F-series heavy-duty pickups are so-called high-series versions.

“Our high-series mix has never been better than it’s been these last couple of years,” Scott said. “If you go down in Texas, it’s not uncommon to see a King Ranch on a construction site. It’s their office. They’re working out of it. They want the refinement, but they need the capability as well.”

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121 Comments on “Big Trucks, Big Profits...”


  • avatar

    Meanwhile, premium hangs around $5/g where I’m at….

    I’m not sure I’d take a pick-up if you gave it to me…

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Most Americans do not care about the price of gas. It’s part of the every day cost of living.

      Most people are more concerned about what they are seen driving. I wouldn’t want to be seen driving some sardine-can on wheels econobox, EV or Hybrid unless it is a third or fourth car, after an F150 truck, SUV/CUV and Camry sedan.

      Most commuters will buy the cheapest econobox they can find to get to and from. But they often have a truck as well.

      The people who can afford it still overwhelmingly choose trucks. And MOST Americans with multi-car households can still afford it.

      A truck is the best all-around utilitarian vehicle any household can own. If you can afford but one vehicle, a pickup truck is the way to go.

      • 0 avatar

        I can count on one hand the times I really wished I owned a pickup truck to haul/use something in my last 22 years of driving…

        Home depot rentals near me are like $18.99 for the first 75 minutes…

        Now that I think about it, I don’t think I can name 2 people out of the dozens I know that own vehicles that actually own a truck as well. I know more people that own scooters/motorcycles.

        YMMV may vary by metro area. I’m in the Chicago metro area FWIW.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          It all depends on where you live, although I have a brother who lives in Manhattan and owns an F150, and a Camry for his wife.

          He used to own a Leaf as well but that proved to be more challenging than the other two vehicles. Too long a list of negatives to publish here.

          I had advised him to buy a Prius for inner-city use but he chose differently and his Leaf is now doing duty near Huntsville, AL, as the daily commuter for the owner of a Golf course.

          The comical aspect of it all is that people driving the tin cans get the hell out of the way when they see an F150 coming down the street in NYC. They don’t do that for the Camry.

          It all depends on where you live. In most of America, having a truck is paramount to having anything else (if you can afford it).

          • 0 avatar
            stroker49

            I was in NY two weeks ago and had a rental car. I can’t understand why anyone would like to have a car at all in NY. I parked it and used the excelent train/subway. Next time I will not rent a car. I can go a lot with train/subway/taxi for 250 usd. Here in Europe trucks are used by carpenters and plumbers (mostly smaller wans though). I wouldn’t want a truck even if the gas was half the price.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            He moved there from Huntsville, AL, when he sold his car dealership.

            As to why people would want a car or truck in NYC? I would want my own transportation no matter where I live, even if I could use an excellent public transit system.

            I lived eight years in Germany, at the Patrick Henry Village near Heidelberg and maintained two vehicles at all times, just so I could come and go as I pleased without relying on their excellent public transportation.

            Not everyone is resigned to using an excellent public transportation system. Those who can, usually own at least one car, especially if they live in the suburbs.

            Most average American families own at least two cars. Those in the middle class usually own one car for each driver in the household. And those car aficionados who have money own several cars for their own use. Google Jay Leno to understand what makes a car lover tick.

      • 0 avatar
        SherbornSean

        Really? “Most Americans do not care about the price of gas.”

        OK, so if we raise the price to $9/gallon, like in Europe, you are good with that?

        Terrific.

        • 0 avatar
          gslippy

          “Most Americans do not care about the price of gas.”

          This statement is spot-on. A jump to $9/gallon would only generate a short-term spike in econocar sales.

          Remember when gas was cheaper? Everyone’s predictions of “wait until gas costs x per gallon, then we’ll all be driving tin cans” have ALWAYS proven wrong.

          Americans will pay anything for a gallon of gas – it is our life blood of freedom.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Gasoline is a bargain at any price. America was built on coal and oil to get us where we’re at today. It powered us through WWII and every other conflict.

            America was once the energy exporter to the world.

            It can be again, were it not for the green weenies and treehuggers and their misconceived ill-advised efforts to “save the planet”. A planet, I might add, that did quite well on its own for billions of years before we, mere humans, inhabited its surface.

            I freely admit that I’m addicted to gas and will pay whatever it costs. No matter what the price, it sure beats walking.

            The vast majority of Americans will buy gas no matter what it costs. They always have the option not to buy, yet they keep buying and buying and buying.

            That’s a fact that the silly do-gooders saving the planet and the rest of humanity can’t seem to grasp.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “the green weenies and treehuggers and their misconceived ill-advised efforts to “save the planet”

            Oh ick, you’ve managed to scrape the bottom of the barrel with that one. Those of us farthest removed from the consequences of our actions never do see the problem, do we?

            “A planet, I might add, that did quite well on its own for billions of years before we, mere humans, inhabited its surface.”

            That’s actually the entire point. It was doing quite well. Now the species extinction rate is higher than any other time in natural history. I love my First World standard of living too and am not trading it in, but for god’s sake at least have the honesty to admit some of the downsides and avoid going off into a ridiculous tangent about a topic you know nothing about.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Regrettably, my comment was rejected by the filter.

            Believe what you will, just don’t try to sell your beliefs to the rest of us. It falls on deaf ears.

            The less gas you buy, the more will be left over for the rest of us.

            Take solace in that!

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “my comment was rejected by the filter”

            Bummer, I’m sure it would have just rocked my world.

            “Believe what you will, just don’t try to sell your beliefs to the rest of us. It falls on deaf ears”

            Rather ironic. That perfectly describes the comment of yours that I was rebutting. One long angry sales pitch on your beliefs. Provoked by no one present. Falling on deaf ears.

            FWIW, I was largely in agreement with your other comments. Gasoline is freedom, and a bargain. I don’t like being tied down by public transit either, and will want my own independent transportation until I die. Hell, I’m even considering a V8 pickup in the future to get the kiddos into the backcountry. You just ventured too far into my professional training with your “humans have no impact” essay. That’s when your stated beliefs ran contrary to facts and I couldn’t resist the temptation to get testy.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Many of the new high rolling truck buyers, are on the side of the oil business that benefits from higher prices…….. While the rest are at most one or two steps removed from Benny B’s cash printing racket (As in building McMansions for banksters or those funded by them again…..)

  • avatar

    The way I see it, ALL TRUCKS should be diesel. Proliferate the diesel technology and it will get cheaper. Offer bio diesel and other diesel – such as that created by bacterial action.

    Trucks need to haul large loads and could benefit from the torque.

    Premium gas is $3.90 a gallon here, ($4.07 near my house) but Diesel is higher at $4.20. It makes sense for trucks, but not for small cars.

    Bring back the Dodge Magnum.

    • 0 avatar

      Diesel near me is $3.89-$3.99, with premium most commonly at $4.69-$4.79…

      Diesel seems a lot less volatile than normal gasoline as far as pricing goes.

      • 0 avatar
        rmwill

        Diesel is far more volatile. Data will set you free.

      • 0 avatar
        parabellum2000

        I just filled up with Diesel for $3.55/gal. It usually about $3.80 in my area, but several gas stations have started a price war, so I’m not complaining.

        Diesel used to be significantly cheaper than gasoline, but over the past few years it’s stayed about 10% more expensive. I’m hoping increased diesel sales will encourage the refineries to make more D2 and stabilize the prices. Of course it could also continue to increase the price.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Disagree. The metallurgical requirements of diesels along with all the other technological additions required to make a diesel pass our emission laws these days will not allow them to compete price wise-with the same vehicle with a gas engine, economies of scale being even. These days, someone should get a diesel if they need the capability, or if they’re a new car buyer that just doesn’t give a damn about operating and legacy costs

      I don’t want to care for a diesel if I don’t need the capability. I reguarly tow car trailers up to 10,000lbs and use a gas F-150 for that task. It’s slower than a diesel 3/4 ton with a trailer on but not dangerously slow. Interestingly, the fuel mileage is barely worse than a modern diesel 3/4 ton towing the same load.

      Oil changes cost 1/6th of the diesel truck, I don’t have to add urea, don’t have to change multiple fuel filters with frequency, don’t have to worry about a bit of water ruining a $7000 injection system, don’t have to needlessly waste fuel driving around cleaning an exhaust filter and don’t have to worry about a de-rate to 5mph when something hiccups in the emission system.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @bigtruckseriesreview
      I disagree with cars not using diesel.

      I was just in France and Spain and I hired a Toyota Yaris diesel. On the autoroutes it sat on 150kph with more to go and it used about 120 Euros (160USD) in about 1600km or 1000 miles.

      That’s still economical in the US, and it would be cheaper in the US as well.

      Not everyone wants this but it does work satisfactorily.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      No to the Magnum.

      That is all.

      • 0 avatar

        Kyree.

        The Magnum gave buyers the driving prowess off the Charger/300, and enough interior capacity to carry just about whatever they’d need. I can’t fit a 50″ bigscreen in my 300 or my XJ-L. I could with the Magnum.

        If there’s enough market for it, I say build it.

        I used to drive an EXT, but I don’t like being high off the ground anymore. The Magnum SRT8 would fit me like a glove if I needed a light truck.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I would be interested in a Magnum based on the current Charger with the updates, but I don’t really see that happening as the Durango is mostly just that, but with towing capacity.

        • 0 avatar
          parabellum2000

          I wanted to buy a magnum recently, but I couldn’t find one in good shape. There were plenty of SRTs for insane money, but all the RTs were donked out POSes.

          I would love to see Dodge bring them back. I love the space, performance, and even the style.

          I would have made far more sense for me, than any type of truck. Better comfort, performance, and great utility.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Yes to wagons, no to trucks!

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Big Trucks perhaps.

      Most pickup trucks are being driven very lightly loaded, and with a load that is way too erratic to get the most out of diesel. That 3.0 V6 (whyyyyy not a real i6 truck engine, if for no other reason than to fill out all that wasteful space under the 4 foot hood…) on the way for the Ram 1500 may be a “sensible” diesel for 2 standard deviations light truck usage. But limited as most are to hauling nothing heavier than big guts and oversized belt buckles throgh city traffic down to BillyBobs, the 6+ liter diesels commonly associated with trucks, don’t really do much else than clog up with soot. The sole reason to get one, would be because it is the only darned way of getting a proper tranny in a full sized truck anymore. Which is the really sad part: The largest selling, most option rich, supposedly “manliest” vehicle category in America, and (aside from some massive HD Commins tow monster) NO manual tranny. Another reason why, to paraphrase the old geezer in Gallipoli, if the Muzzies really do want to take over this pansy infested dump as badly as the TSA claim they do, they can bloody well have it.

      Diesel tech is already proliferate as all whatnot (in Europe and Asia), and those thingys still ain’t cheap. And it’s not even all (some is, but not all) the greenies fault, as even in marine engines (where emission standards are a lot looser), the diesel option is always a big upcharge (worth it, as floating around on a barrel of explosive gas ain’t really all that comfort inducing, but more expensive regardless.)

      In general, amongst working pickups, tow rigs benefit from diesel. While trucks (even HD ones) bought for payload and general transportation, is better off with gas engines. And that is not even counting the better (as in more truck specific) gas engines that are sure to be developed now that more operators are not so blindly checking off the diesel box anymore.

      And amongst trucks bought to get “respect” on the streets of Manhattan (out of all places), or to impress some midnight cowboy enough to want to come ride up to Brokeback Mountain with you…… Well, soot ain’t cute :)

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Fracking is driving a lot of this I would bet. Many of the traditional truck buyers in South Texas are flush with cash. The eagle ford shale is a boom. It’s not trickle down economics, it’s down stream flooding economics.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I agree! America is flush with oil. In places it actually still bubbles up out of the ground.

      But what we really need is more refineries. America could be an oil- and energy-exporting country if not for the green weenies and tree huggers who want us all to revert to agrarianism, the horse and cart.

      Most American don’t care about the price of gas. That’s why they choose to drive what they drive. That’s why most households are multi-car! Trucks are the best-selling segment in America.

      I’m not a fan of diesel in anything lighter than a 3/4-ton but I also believe that gasoline costs way more than it should.

      What I have noticed is that more pickup truck lovers are trading up to 3/4 ton with big V8s because the halftons are dumbed down with ever smaller engines like Ecoboost, Pentastar and the GM dinosaur pushrods. Those are just not real trucks. They may be faux trucks that satisfy the wants and needs of some, but not the real enthusiasts.

      For truck enthusiasts there’s no replacement for displacement. The manufacturers can put these squirrel engines in a halfton and all that will do is drive more people into 3/4 tons.

      Trucks are the cashcows of any car maker. That’s why Hyundai also wants to join the party. Big trucks, big profits! Indeed!

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Agreed although GMs problem is the cyclinder deactivation/ built in oil disposer system.

        I wouldn’t trade a pushrods engine for a OHC or DOHC any day of the week.

        But otherwise completely agreed, 3/4 are getting pushed more now then ever with the crap their doing to them, it get to the point that its more expensive to fix all of the flaws then it is to just say screw it and get the 3/4 to begin with.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          There’s a place for pushrods. There always has been and there always will be.
          I’ve owned trucks with pushrod engines for decades and they performed well.

          But after having owned that magnificent all-aluminum 32-valve DOHC 5.7-liter in my 2011 Tundra I’d be hard-pressed to buy any halfton with anything else.

          If Tundra ever drops the 5.7 from its trucks because of CAFE and EPA mandates forced on all car makers, I’ll step up to an F250 with the biggest V8 they offer, even if a pushrod engine.

          I briefly owned a (used) 1999 F250 with the V10 and it was a decent truck. Sold it to a fellow Elk who needed it for towing his sno-bird trailer.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          OHC or DOHC engines don’t belong in trucks. Roller cam push rods are superior in every way.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            Riotous!

            Suppose that’s why the big rig engine manufacturers like Caterpillar, Cummins, Volvo and Mercedes all use OHC designs. They didn’t know what you know.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            Hey wmba what is riotous is comparing diesel OTR trucks to 1/2 ton gas trucks. I’ve owned trucks with both types of engines long term and they were used primarily for towing. How about you?

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Not when it comes to Marketing….

            The beauty of OHV for truck use is that you can make them lighter, cheaper and more compact for any given displacement. But once you hold displacement constant (as in maxed out), fancier valvetrains always enable you to beef up the power curve. Particularly up high, where the very important specced max HP rating is found. But also down low, where most “knowledgeable” truck guys know to look.

            In a world without restrictions, for a given cost and weight, you could probably build an OHV engine sufficiently larger than a corresponding DOHC so that the net effect was a superior power curve where it really counts in day to day truck use. But, once Toyota and ilk have gone to almost 6 liters of pure fancy, you really need to be at 8 to conclusively demonstrate that advantage. And those big blocks aren’t really around no more, as they don’t easily translate to higher volume cars….

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Isn’t CAFE just great?
    People will complain say this that are the other, but let the market wok its own way.
    No one has the right to tell other what they should or shouldn’t drive, if there were no CAFE, what would our vehicle landscape look like today?

    If GM and ford can get their mess together and stop making the BOF SUVs so Girly, I’m sure they could find an increase in sales there as well.

    And for the complainers above the local action ha premium at 3.65 and for the first time in about 10 years or more (of my memory) diesel was the same price

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Body-on-frame SUVs like the Expedition, Navigator, Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade? How are those girly?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        With new BoF SUVs from GM and Ford coming out in the next 2-3 years, I’m sure we’ll see sales increase. Like them or not, all of those BoF SUVs are profitable, even the Expedition/Navigator.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Have you not been inside of one? Looks like something straight out of a cute car.
        Hulking plastic bumpers with foam are a massive turn off. Then you have ford that doesn’t even try anymore and uses IRS.
        These are trucks that are enclosed, but their being dressed up as big cars.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Yeah…The Yukon girly? I don’t think so.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Absolutely.

          Don’t get me wrong I’d drive them, but they really have become much less masculine, they look nothing like the trucks, and use plastic bumpers and thin sheet metal, it really is bad.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            That’s OK Hummer, call my Tahoe anything you want. If I thought anything made by Hummer was superior to my Chevy for towing my toys and hauling the family, I would have bought it.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Not exactly sure what your getting at Carlson, but a duramax H1 could tow 18,000 pounds, that is, if this is a pissing match.
            And all of the engines are GM (or GM partner) sourced.

            But I’ve had a GMT800 Tahoe myself, either way its (gmt900) no where nearly as high quality as the past versions ( your GMT900 I assume)

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            I have a 04 2500HD and the ’07 Tahoe blows it’s doors off as far as build quality, especially the interior. So if you think your Tahoe is better than the current Tahoe because it has steel bumpers then keep driving it!……LOL

  • avatar
    Speed3

    90 percent of Ford’s profits are from the F-series! Yikes. Hope they learn how to make some serious cash out of the Focus and Fusion.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Talk about being a company being sitting ducks when the banksters and other leeches inevitably run out of blow again, and “need” to squeeze even more money out of people stuck doing productive for a living….. To “save” “the economy”, you know…

  • avatar
    George B

    I live in Texas in an area with a lot of construction and I can’t remember seeing a King Ranch F-150 at a construction site. A refrigerator white Silverado would be typical. I have no doubt that the average pickup truck used for work is a higher trim level, but mostly it means a pickup truck with extended cab, a nice mid-level cloth interior, and alloy wheels have replaced stripped down work trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Right. Here in Oklahoma, the people I see with nicer trucks are either those with farm lifestyle or just fashion-segment buyers. Typically the “nice” truck for a construction-worker is a Silverado LT or F-150 XLT.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        A lot of people have more than one truck. One for work. One for play.

        At one time I had three trucks (until my wife told me to sell the other two after I bought my 2011 Tundra 5.7).

        Funny though how she wanted me to hold on to her 2008 Highlander after I bought her a 2012 Grand Cherokee……….

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      All of our fleet trucks are white Silverados with crank windows. They do their job just fine, but what irritates me is the genius at GM that decided BLACK CLOTH would be a good standard seat color in a WORK TRUCK!

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    We’ve had a similar story in Australia over the past several years with our midsizers leading sales.

    The Toyota Hilux has been the most popular vehicle some months. The Nissan Navara has been up to third most popular vehicle as well, with the Mitsubishi Triton continually in the top 10. Also most are them are sold as a cheaper SUV and large car alternatives (Holden/Ford car and utes).

    Most of them are diesel as well, I think over 90% and diesel here is priced similar to the US as it is more expensive than gasoline.

    The issue I see is how much longer will sales stay at the current levels. Also this illustrates the dependence on full size trucks by the Big 3 which is unhealthy, like our reliance on mineral exports, not good.

  • avatar
    TW4

    Five years ago, these consumers were buying McMansions. Now that mortgage lending standards are more strict, consumers are opting for McTrucks.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the McTruck, and all of its preposterous inefficiencies is actually less harmful to the middle class than the McMansion.

    • 0 avatar
      walleyeman57

      Well, I don’t think these big trucks will lose 50% of their value in a short time period.

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        Sadly, they will. But I think vehicle depreciation, spread over 5-10 years probably pales compared to doubling property tax by moving into an oversize house with interest-only subprime financing.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Of course they will. NOTHING depreciates faster than the loaded version of an otherwise cheap vehicle. That $54K F-150 will barely have a premium over the $35K version when it is 5yrs old.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    2/3 to 90% of the companies’ profits are generated by full-sizers, and most of that profit comes from the high trim levels? I wonder if King Ranch et al. buyers know or care that they are being taken to the cleaners.

    I wondered how a basic 4×4 4-door F150 with cheapo interior, cheapo wheels, and such high sales volume could sticker for $40K+, and now I guess I know.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      I’m very happy with my ancient and defunct SLE trim, so I’ll preface by saying that I have no dog in the hunt.

      The question I would have is to ponder if buyers of a Pucci or Givenchy Continental Mark V “knew” they were being “taken to the cleaners”, as you describe it.

      I think this is merely the continuation of a decades-long trend towards the embrace of the highest-possible trim level. A Galaxie becomes an LTD and the husk of the Galaxie is sloughed off after a time, and so forth.

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      30-mile,
      Who do you think you are? How dare you question the right of every American to blow $50K on a garish, logo festooned pickup truck? Are you trying to encroach on the freedoms guaranteed by the founding fathers and Jesus himself?

      How dare you suggest that Americans do something other than endebt themselves for a decade making car payments when they can barely afford rent. How dare you suggest Americans try to wean themselves from slavery to the Saudi oil teat?

      It’s people like you, with your logic, your science, your common sense, who are the real unAmericans. Go back to France with your buddies Ralph Nader, Jonny Depp and Adam Levine and eat French fries, for all I care.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The irony here is the “real victims” are people who need or want a small truck for work duty and aren’t in the contractor bracket. When I finally pull the trigger on a property, I think having a small truck would be ideal to work on said property and I doubt I’m alone in this line of thinking. Trouble is your basic truck now is the size of a house and costs about half as much. There’s still a viable market for RWD BOF beasts and it morphed the truck market into what it is today courtesy of Uncle Sam. For the guy looking to to light work on his house, you pretty much end up looking for 90s beaters.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        If you really need a smaller truck, wait until the end of the model year and pick up a brand new Regular Cab Tacoma or Frontier for a steal. A basic one with AC and a stick shift can be had for around $18K in many areas.

        Many people shop the internet and fly or drive in to spring for a deal on trucks in El Paso, TX, San Antonio, TX or Phoenix, AZ, where they have massive sales events starting in July through September on current model year vehicles. Any truck, any size, any configuration that’s got to go before the new crop gets here.

        Others choose a fullsize halfton pickup truck with a V6. Several people I know who retired their S-10, Colorado, Canyon or Ranger trucks have stepped up to a fullsize with a squirrel engine in it.

        If utility is what you need, utility is what you get.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’ve actually given Tacoma a hard look as it and Ranger are really the only trucks in the “small” category I would deal with and can be had relatively new in 4WD (I “meh” Dakota and Frontier. My dentist really wishes he had not bought his Frontier, something like 12-13mpg in V6). S10s can be had in these parts but they tend to disintegrate quickly so you have to be vigilant as a buyer, tough to find a clean one. I had an opportunity about 2 years ago to buy a cleaner MY2000 but passed on it. Personally I have never heard a good thing about Colorado/Canyon.

          What I may end up doing is finding el cheepo Ranger/Taco/S10 in 2WD and/or 5-spd and just use it to move stuff around.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I used to scour the lemon lots at the nearby military basis for vehicles that GIs needed to unload before shipping out and picked up quite a few for resale and profit over the decades.

            But buying anything used you do have to be very observant and cautious. I’ve been bitten a couple of times but was resourceful enough to make lemonade out of the lemon I bought, like by parting it out.

            The Tacoma and Ranger continue to be very popular across a wide spectrum of demographics but with each there comes a point when it is no longer economically feasible to repair or maintain it in safe running condition.

            In the case of the people I know who traded their old compact trucks, each of them puts a lot of miles on his/her truck every year. They may be old guys but they do drive a lot.

            Surprisingly, I know several people, mostly ladies, who have purchased a Ridgeline to replace their S-10 or Ranger. And those Ridgelines do surprisingly well hauling hay and feed in their beds, or with a one-horse trailer in tow.

            This friend of mine who still drives his ’92 S-10 around because he has so much money tied up in it to keep it running that he can’t afford to get rid of it, has told me that, like me, all he really needs is a 6-cyl truck like the ones we got started with decades ago.

            The problem, of course, is that most of us have been spoiled by the V8, automatic trucks with all the bells and whistles, and it’s tough to deny yourself all those “luxuries”.

            After my 2011 Tundra 5.7, I can’t see myself ever going back to a fullsize halfton V6, manual truck. I said the same thing after I bought my very first new truck, a 1988 Silverado with the 350 and automatic.

            Then again, my truck is my daily driver. So it all depends on what your application is for a truck, no matter the size.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            The Ridgeline tries to combine an SUV with a pickup truck. After sampling one, I found that it had the worst qualities of both. And beside that, it’s ugly.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Indeed, the Ranger is small. The Tacoma, along with the Frontier/Equator, Colorado/Canyon and departed Dakota/Raider, are mid-sized. The Ridgeline is actually a unibody vehicle, and I really don’t know what to call it other than “a hulking slab of hideousness.”

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Like the larger Avalanche, the Ridgeline also has its buyers. What I’ve seen, the buyers of the Ridgeline tend to be mostly women in their mid twenties to late thirties.

            The Ridgeline is neither truck nor CUV yet draws buyers to it like the old RAMpage, VW trucklet and Subaru Brat.

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think my Tundra is butt-ugly but it is also the best truck I have ever owned in 67 years of living on this planet.

            We can’t account for people’s tastes.

          • 0 avatar
            jim brewer

            Large truck owners are highly affluent. Upper trim level guys are especially so. Financial markets inflate, high trim level trucks do well. No mystery to it.

            Small trucks just not competitive. Regular cab F-150 4X2 gets 7-18 mpg city and has 300 hp. Costs $21.5 K no options (But with AC AT and cloth seats). Its hard to do any better with a small truck. ‘Course you are stuck trying make sure you don’t squash someone every time you change lanes.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Jim Brewer

            To me it is not about the price or the fuel economy. It is entirely about the ridiculous size of current full-size trucks. They are so big that utility for many uses is starting to suffer. I am over 6′ tall and I cannot reach over the side of a new F150 and pick up something off the bed, never mind park the thing without a tugboat to swing the bow around. I don’t buy vehicles by the pound, though obviously many people do. I want JUST big enough to meet my needs and no bigger. A Ranger is probably a bit too small, but an F150 is WAAAAY too big. Like others have said, something the size of an old F100 is probably about perfect. We get SUVs in every size from tiny to massive, surely there is room in the market for a truly mid-size pickup?

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @Kyree

            So agree about Ridgelines.

            They remind me of those fancy, carved meerschaum pipes; huge, ugly and tiny load capacity.

        • 0 avatar
          parabellum2000

          I considered buying a basic Tacoma, 4×2 I4 5sp. My problem was that even for 19K it just felt overpriced. They added touchscreen stereos for this year, but otherwise it feels like a 15 year truck from the inside.

          At that point I looked at used trucks and realized Rangers and Tacoma’s have ridiculous resale values. Then I decided if I need a truck, I’ll rent one.

          I think the best deals are on two year full size trucks with low trim levels.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Any truck is overpriced! And the Tacoma still is a 15 year old truck design because Tacoma doesn’t have any competition to force it to modernize and upgrade.

            The Tacoma is also the best-selling compact truck that drove the Dakota, Ranger and Colorado/Canyon into oblivion.

            Best time to buy any truck, large or small, is during leftover days. Fabulous sales in many parts of the country going on right now on 2013 leftovers that gotta go before the 2014s go on sale.

            The downside is that you’re buying last year’s model, worth a lot less than what you paid for it.

            Still, if you need a truck, buying a new one is preferable to buying used and buying other people’s problems.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I see plenty of new Silverados in the Detroit area for under 18K. They are all refridgerator white, V6, and RWD.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s the problem with this area, unless you’re going to park it in the winter you need 4WD. For a few grand I might park a 2wd beater, for almost 20 I want to drive it.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Where in the heck do you live? With all the traction controls, limited slips and rubber soft snow tires available for 2wd trucks these days, few places are so traction limited that a few bags of sand (if that) in the bed doesn’t get you up there in a 2wd truck. As long as you’re staying on pavement or graded dirt at least.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        But the good news is that those “90’s beaters” can be bought for cheap over 100k and last well over 300k.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Indeed, just have to watch out for frame rot and excessive rust in these parts.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Yeah, I mentioned a 1997 Ranger down below for 1100 bucks. It was 2WD, probably the four cylinder, and a stick shift, with 123,000 miles. But the body was clean, the interior was perfect, and I kick myself for not trying to buy it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I won’t kick you. 2WD coupled with a I4 and 5-spd has limited appeal, it would just be enough to run around in and haul light loads. If you haven’t a need for either it was probably better to keep that money at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          TW4

          Definitely values out there for truck lovers.
          My favorite play is on tired C10s and C20s from
          the mid-80s. A decent example can be had for
          $5,000 and a competent wrench can drop another
          $10K-$15K on crate engines, transmission, and
          parts. For $15K-$20K you can have a 350 V8
          with glasspack pipes, and since most of the
          parts are internet with free shipping, the only
          tax is paid on the original $5K vehicle. A
          refurbished C10 will easily turn another 100,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      30-mile,
      you can get the ‘light duty’ F series for $30k out the door.

      As for the sherbetsean:

      AMERICUH

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        The cheapest 4X4 SuperCrew F150 XL with the steelie wheelies I’ve been able to price is $37K and I’m wondering if it would be hard to find such a poverty special on many dealer lots. Maybe after end of model year discounts and some wrangling you could get it to $30K.

        • 0 avatar
          MK

          I’m sorry but that’s ridiculous and you should try harder.

          A few months ago my coworker bought a HEAVILY optioned 2012 Lariat 4×4 S-crew, AWD, locking diff, nav, dual leather heated and cooled, sunroof, ‘offroad’ pack and every option except towing for $37k.

          Memphis, these trucks are everywhere here so you’re getting ripped off whereever you’re located.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Try harder? I’m building it online at the Ford website, so unless I hack their site and rewrite the code, the truck MSRPs for $37K. I’m not actively shopping the dealerships.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Lop 15% off the msrp on F150s just to start. Raptor aside.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I still can’t understand why GM doesn’t include the higher trim levels in the reg cab. An Oshawa dealer has a “loaded” 2013 long box LT Siverado 4×4. My Cobalt has a nicer interior.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Allow me to predict the demise of standard-cab pickups.

    Nissan no longer sells a standard-cab Frontier. For other manufacturers, the standard cab is only the zone for bottom feeders and fleet buyers. If they are eliminated, buyers will be forced into extended cabs, which are far more profitable for what is essentially the same vehicle.

    Ford, GM, et. al. can and will increase their profit margin by eliminating standard cab pickups, and so they will.

    Remember, you read it here first!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      As an everyday vehicle, standard cabs don’t make much sense to me. Having some dry storage area in the cab is very nice.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s already like that here in Brazil. Single cabs are offered, but you have to order them. They also usually come in the most basic of trims, including black bumpers. The new Ranger is an example. It must be almost a year old, a year and a half old now, and only recently Ford launched the single cab.

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      Yes, but fleet buyers (more often leasers) are a huge market segment for them. Fleet leases are a very competitive market. None of the Big 3 would give up standard cabs only to lose their fleet buyers to the other two.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Plenty of parking structures in LA and SF won’t let you park vehicles meaningfully longer than a Reg Cab/6.5′ bed. That’s the length of a Yukon Denali, Escalade and S Class; vehicles of choice for those making such decisions, and for those that would sue or fine them for making the “wrong” such decisions.

      How many trucks on the road do you really see with more than 3 people in it? Most are driven solo.

      And, there’s plenty of storage behind the front seat row in Regular Cabs. The tundra RC has more space behind the seats than the Tacoma access cab. And turns tighter. And is the same length, with a much larger and more useful bed. The others aren’t that well endowed, but they still have room for more than one grocery cart’s worth, in addition to a briefcase. In the Tundra, you can literally fit 6 people in a RC, as long as it’s a dwarf tossing team consisting of three tossers up front, and three dwarfs in the back. And still have room for enough beer to make that quip seem funny, rather than simply distasteful….

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @Hummer: I dunno about that, but I have seen a later model GMC Sonoma that was called the Highline or Highrider or something else absurd.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’ve seen
      Durango
      Tahoe
      Gypsy
      High country
      And I think 1 or two more for the first gen s10s

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Someone around here owns a ’78 or ’19 Bronco Ranger.

        It’s so funny seeing old Fords with Ranger trim, since I’m used to the Ranger being Ford’s compact truck.

        Fortunately it’s not as silly as the old GMC C/K “Sierra Grande”. Wow, GM…just wow.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          Ford also offered a trim level/package on the F-series called “Explorer” long before the name found its way onto the SUV we all know.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Huh, I’ve seen F-Series and Bronco Rangers, but not an Explorer.

            Must have been an earlier package. F-Series trucks made before 1978 are a rarity these days.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I would love to own a truck for homeowner duties.
    Make it a 2wd Ranger, Tacoma or similar with a stick.

    I was just in SoCal for business and my hotel was on the auto mile in Carlsbad. I went for an early morning walk and was checking out the offerings. The Ford dealer had a black SVT Raptor. $53k. Bad enough right?

    The added content label said this vehicle had the Extreme upgrade. My eyes stopped after supercharger 592hp and then $83k. There were other things, but I was too shocked to continue. I still don’t believe 83k

    At home in the Rust Belt, the dealer might have had one of these. This dealer in Carlsbad had 8 of these trucks by my count. Don’t know if they were all Extreme editions but to have 8 Raptors period means they must move.

    If you can afford it, buy what you like. But I don’t get it..

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Too bad you live on the opposite side of the country from me, a guy here in town had a 1997 Ranger with the stick for 1100 bucks.

      I should have bought it.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m a little stunned at an AVERAGE transaction price of $40k for a truck. I don’t know who these buyers are, but I suppose they’re us and our neighbors.

    This story aligns well with the ones about longer finance terms and higher default rates occurring today.

    However, it should be said that trim packages are big money makers for every market segment, not just trucks. Consider that a Mustang can be pushed from $22k to up over $60k.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @28-Cars-Later: Even a 4 cylinder 2WD stick-shift Ranger could put me in business. I would use it as a run-around and if I wanted to mow lawns or something, I’d throw a lawn mower and a weed-whacker in the back.

    I’m sure a stick-shift 4 cylinder 2WD Ranger gets at least 20 MPG, since it’s tiny and doesn’t have the extra weight of 4WD. My Buick seems to max out at 25 and can’t haul anything.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Your Buick could haul a 4×8 utility trailer, which will haul just as much as a Ranger. Much lower to the ground, so easier to get stuff in and out of. While leaving you with a comfy Buick sofa to drive around in, instead of the cramped cab of a Ranger.

      The aversion to small trailers in the US just simply baffles me. Everyone needs a 5000lb monster truck to pickup 2x4s at Home Depot. Hilarious.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I always assumed that a front wheel drive car didn’t have the cojones to pull a trailer…

        Hell, some painter guy tows a trailer with a big ladder on it with a Mk3 Jetta and it just looks ABSURD.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          Why would the trailer care which wheels are driven or whether the vehicle is car-shaped or truck-shaped?

          Depending on year, a 4-banger Ranger has anywhere between 100 and 143 horsepower.

          This is significantly less cojones than most Buicks made since the Clinton administration. Not sure which model you have but odds are it can put down as much or more power than a Ranger, unless it’s an Encore.

          Even 4-cylinder Skylarks were at about 150 hp back in the 80s.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I dunno, I assumed the reason why 99 percent of people don’t tow trailers with front wheel drive cars is that front wheel drive cars couldn’t pull trailers for…some reason.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I used to tow my 14′ O’Day Javelin sloop with my 85 horsepower VW Jetta. The trailer and boat together weighed about 980 lbs. I used the car to launch and retrieve the boat into the sound on a brutally rutted and rocky ramp too. The Jetta was fully capable of towing the boat at speeds that alarmed other road users, since the boat was bigger than the car.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          You should see a FIAT 500 towing a caravan 2X the size of itself down the Autobahn if you want to see absurd. Works just fine though.

          Even on a fully loaded (~1000lbs) 4×8 trailer, the tongue weight is about the same as an adult in the back seat of the car. And I can move the fully loaded trailer around the driveway by hand with some effort.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Not everyone likes the idea of ‘towing’. But do put up a picture of YOU pulling a Harbor Freight trailer with your BMW… Just learning to reverse a trailer is similar to learning to drive a manual trans.

        People that rarely haul anything more than ‘air’ (Me), consider pickups a luxury. I work hard and feel like I’ve earned it. It could even be that high end pickups are cannibalizing German luxury cars. I’m one that can easily afford German luxury, but it’s just not me. It’s probably not a lot of people.

        And if I neglect to wash it in weeks, it’s a ‘truck’. I mean, trucks are just cool and never really go out of fashion. Even old trucks fetch a higher value than old German hardware, headed for the Ghetto.

        On the lower end, you get a new base pickup with a V8 for about the price a 4cyl Camry. That’s a traditional muscle car in spirit.

        As always, BMW owners can kiss my A$$ and the Eurozone can $UKKIT.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Yet many hundreds of millions of people learn to drive manual transmissions… Backing a trailer is not hard, my Mom used manage to back our boat into the water all by herself.

          You are welcome to drive whatever you want. If that is a gas-swilling, ill-handling road barge of a truck, all I ask is please stay the hell out of the left lane so I can go by you. And try not to get your knickers in a knot when I pass you on a back road.

          As for pictures, I can’t help you on the BMW (yet), but I have some pics of my ’02 Golf TDI hauling the trailer somewhere. Had the nose of a ’69 Saab Sonett strapped to it. Also hauled logs, building materials, lawn mowers, you name it. I do in fact have a full European retractable trailer hitch setup to go on the BMW, but I haven’t gotten around to putting it on, mostly because my winter beater Jeep GC already has a hitch on it. The BMW is rated to tow an 1800Kg braked trailer with that hitch, BTW.

          Cheap truck IS just like a muscle car – all go, no stop, no turn.

          And your final comment proves just how classy “truck guys” can be.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “And your final comment proves just how classy “truck guys” can be”

            That was already proven irrevocably by truck nutz.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It usually comes down to BMW owners that have the biggest problems with big trucks. On here and in real life. And it has less to do with trucks themselves, as much as their owner’s attitude.. God Bless ‘Murica, and whatnot.. Chew, spit, repeat.

            Well we’re lucky to live here with so much cheap fuel and big trucks to guzzle it. As well as muscle cars. And it’s usually me in the fast lane held up by everyone else. Except I have turn signals. But trucks handle better than you’d think.. Their stiff suspensions and 20″ stock wheels don’t hurt, but on mountain roads, I’m the one tailgating the locals in Subarus.

            But I’m sure if you’ve been stuck in the snow, it wasn’t a dude in a truck that stopped to help your ungrateful A$$.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Has nothing to do with straightline speed. Strap a big enough engine into anything and it will go fast in a straight line. The handling and braking of these 5000lb behemoths leaves a whole lot to be desired, never mind the fact that I don’t particularly want to be your crumple zone. And I have driven just about every American truck of the last 20+ years at one time or another.

            Why don’t you truck guys just go all the way and drive semi-tractors around as daily drivers? Now those babies are TOUGH, and by God they can tow too. A nice chromed up Peterbilt or Kenworth would the shizzle. I suppose a Mack would be a bit TOO industrial.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You forget to yell ‘merica while inviting BMW owners to kiss your posterior.

  • avatar
    skor

    Every time I see a King Ranch, there’s a king douche behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Now that some of you have fulfilled your inadaquacies by stereotyping a large group of people who you believe your better than, for reasons such as jealousy, and Lord knows what else, why don’t you all go try out one of these trucks, to prove you don’t have an agenda.

    I think some of you will find a 6.2l v8 is capable of going quite fast, quick enough in fact, that the truck will be the one doing all the passing!


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