By on July 19, 2013

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Today’s topic is: pickup trucks. More specifically: luxury pickup trucks. This may surprise you. It may cause you to think: Am I really reading a story about trucks that isn’t lamenting the demise of the midsize pickup? And the answer is yes, although I have about a month’s worth of those if you’re interested. (One is called: “What Will Orkin Drive?”)

Anyway, back to luxury pickups. If you’re not into pickups, you might not be aware of luxury pickups, so allow me to provide a little background.

It all started in 2001, when GMC released an upscale version of its Sierra called the C3. No one knows why they called it this. I, of course, have a theory, which is that General Motors was looking to cut costs – General Motors is always doing this, even when it’s asleep – and they didn’t want to do that inside the truck, which was supposed to be luxurious, so they decided to save money on badging by giving the trim level a really short name.

But the Sierra C3 was so popular that, for the 2002 model year, GMC was able to convince General Motors accountants to spring for a longer name. And so the Sierra Denali was born.

The original Sierra Denali was kind of cool, not because of its luxury features – which amounted to leather seats and an upgraded center console with panel gaps the size of a ballpoint pen, rather than a flowerpot – but because it included a feature called Quadrasteer.

Quadrasteer was a neat four-wheel steering system that gave the Sierra Denali the same turning circle as a compact car. I think it’s cool. So cool, in fact, that I follow every Quadrasteer-equipped pickup I see, just to watch the system in action, until the owner gets out and asks me what I’m doing in his driveway.

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Of course, we all know what happened to the Sierra Denali, which is that it became an instant success. Here’s a rough overview of its history:

2004: Sierra Denali includes leather, chrome wheels, and – according to a GM press release – panel gaps that have been reduced to the size of “a couple of rubber bands on top of each other.”

2007: Sierra Denali redesigned to include reclining rear seats, an optional in-dash fish tank, and mood lighting. Customers continue to pretend they use it as a work truck.

2009: Sierra Denali updated to offer blankets made out of tiny animals they find in the rainforest. Sierra Denali owners applaud and swear that’s precisely where they intend to use their Sierra Denali, you know, once they put a few thousand miles on it.

2011: GMC adds the Denali trim level to heavy-duty models. Press photos no longer show it towing construction materials, but rather large trailers on I-95 between suburban Toronto and the Florida Gulf Coast.

These days, a Sierra Denali 3500 Heavy Duty 4X4 Crew Cab – which is the name of an actual trim level – starts around $52,000, and that’s before you add the optional indoor basketball court. Panel gaps are the size of a paperclip. And people buy these things by the dozen.

Obviously, the Sierra Denali’s success isn’t lost on other automakers. Chrysler, for instance, has released a lot of high-end Ram trim levels, all of which have really large badges on the tailgate to let everyone else know precisely which one you’ve chosen. And Ford comes out with a new luxury version of the F-150 every week or so. Today’s F-150 includes the Limited, which is better than the Platinum, which is better than the King Ranch, which is better than the Lariat. Seriously. And each of these trucks start over $37,000.

So my question is: How the hell did Cadillac and Lincoln fail?

You may remember, if you think really hard and possibly do a couple Google searches, that Cadillac sells a pickup called the Escalade EXT. Although it looks like the sort of vehicle that might be driven by the kind of person you’d never, ever, want to meet, it’s actually quite capable as a luxury pickup, in the sense that “capable as a luxury pickup” means looking nice and occasionally transporting boxed wine.

Lincoln, meanwhile, has offered two pickup trucks. First, there was the Blackwood. We all know why the Blackwood failed, namely that it was only came with two-wheel drive, and it was tremendously incapable of actual truck things, and it was really expensive, and they painted fake wood slats on the outside of the bed. But I don’t want to go into any further detail here, because I said some negative things about the Blackwood on my website, and this inspired a rather angry visit from a guy on the Lincoln Blackwood forums.

So let’s move on to Lincoln’s second pickup effort, the Mark LT. This was really the ultimate F-150 in the sense that it was just like any other F-150 except it had really big Lincoln badges and leather seats.

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Based on the intense popularity of luxury trucks, you’d think these pickups would’ve been runaway success stories. But that isn’t what happened. Instead, they were miserable failures. They’ve all sold poorly, they’ve all been discontinued, and it doesn’t appear that any luxury brand is planning to launch another pickup anytime soon. My question is: How did they manage to fail?

I’ve ruminated on this for quite a while – roughly 11 minutes – and now I’m passing the question along to you, TTAC. My theory is that pickup buyers prefer their trucks from a “truck company,” which – to them – is stronger than the weight of a luxury brand. But maybe you have some more insight. You might even have some theories on what Orkin will drive.

@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars and the operator of PlaysWithCars.com. He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, road-tripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute lap time on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

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210 Comments on “Why Did Luxury Brands Fail At Pickup Trucks?...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    First off, Lincoln called theirs the Blackwood, which is the last thing a wealthy 60-something white man wants his wife to be associated with. Or at least, he doesn’t want his neighbors to know.

    But also because Ford and GMC option their vehicles up so well, it obviates the need for a separate brand for trucks. How do you sell a Lincoln F-150 when a King Ranch or Harley Davidson edition does all of it.

    • 0 avatar

      I actually, literally spit some of my drink out when I read that. You win one internet.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree:

      There are plenty of White men who want their wives associated with Blackwood. Research the word “cuckhold”.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a certain portion of society that doesn’t do hard labor, but wants to be see in a truck. I had an EXT for 2 years. Very good truck and up till that point it was the most amazing interior I’d ever seen – right up until I got into a BMW 745. Thing is the SUV was doomed to fail the moment credit windows closed, N.I.N.J.A loans started drying up and GAS HIT $5 a gallon after hurricane Katrina.

      GM got caught out there with the most expensive trucks which weren’t as renowned as the F-150 for duty. The Avalanche and EXT were toys and didn’t have anywhere near the power of the Triton V8′s torque. Yes the Escalade had more than 345 HP but they didn’t get independent rear suspension as quickly as Ford did. Take a look at a current Navigator and a current Escalade. GM didn’t even have full fold down rears – you had to take out the bench.

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Wade

        The Avalanche was available as a 2500 with the 8100 engine. I can assure you it out pulled any Triton V8 and certainly wasn’t a “toy.”

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Big truck the solid rear axle that the escalade still has is much nicer than the IRS.
        I would much rather remove the rear seats once every 6 months or so then replace rear half shafts or deal with a weak IRS setup.

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          Irs can be made quite stout, example ford raptor:if you reference those guys in the YouTube video I’m going to reach through the Internet and punch you.

      • 0 avatar
        korvetkeith

        How do you consistently be one of the most annoying and ill informed commenters? It’s impressive in a sad way.

        Before the 5.0, 6.2, and ecoboost, gas fords weren’t rated to tow their own weight.

        The raptor does not have IRS.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        …The Avalanche and EXT were toys and didn’t have anywhere near the power of the Triton V8′s torque…

        Ya. 320 HP is a “toy” in the base 5.3L version. Then there was the 6.0 version and the 3/4 ton Avalanche with a 8.1L V8 and an Allison 1000 transmission. Real toys.

        I took my toy Avalanche and attached a tow cable to a toy tree stump in my yard and ripped the sucker out on the first pull. Why, it could only hold 45 bags of mulch in the bed with the cargo cover still on and the Midgate up. It only towed 5000 pounds up and down Stevens Pass more times than I can count.

        It sure was a toy. That’s why GM only sold about 850,000 units (give or take) over a 12 year run. Horrible numbers for a vehicle that could sticker north of $50K fully loaded. The same vehicle Consumer Reports praised year after year. Yup. Real toy.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      They still sell the Mark LT in Mexico. Google it; it’s hideous with the “waterfall” grille.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        OMG, for love of… an Escalade and a Blackwood had a bastard child. Is that what the Mexican drug lords are driving?

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          It sure would do a good job of scaring people away with its ungainly looks; that’s for sure…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Grille fail.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Well, that’s basically the *whole* of the Lincoln lineup, no? It’s like they went from something that was semi-successful to a snobby, pseudo-art-deco front end, and got rewarded with something that could rival Acura’s beak for first place in ugliness…

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It’s almost a caricature of both the Lincoln whale face and Cadillac “egg-crate” grille all rolled into one

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Kyree

            Post MY12 I agree, I didn’t mind the previous grille and facia, but not a big fan of the baleen whale look. I love the Lincoln commercial in a tunnel that shows off the new “look” on MkTaurus and MkFusion, then right behind them comes the unrefreshed MkEdge and MkFlex “Town Car”. Consistent much Lincoln Imperial Motoramic Coachworks Company? Makes me wonder if they put the kibosh on the new grille look for them after they got some feedback on the cars.

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      The Blackwood failed because of Ford under JacqueNassar’s young internet-y marketing crew tried to market it to the hip-hop and rave music crowd back in 2000-2001 when it should have been marketed to the 50 year old + country club crowd.

      Ford’s King Ranch and others were brand extensions by Dee Kapur who later went to International Truck.

    • 0 avatar
      chas404

      Yep. Used to own two from new Caddy Escalade EXTs. very usefull trucks. comfortable. not reliable. the later Denalis were super sharp. Now own a King Ranch. the reliability, interior quality and resale value beat the Escalade plus it is a real pickup. The last Lincoln pickups I still see around. very nice but kinda silly idea and Ford killed them with the platinum and the KR.

    • 0 avatar
      Brunsworks

      *applause*

  • avatar
    Summicron

    “How do you sell a Lincoln F-150 when a King Ranch or Harley Davidson edition does all of it”

    This. Anything more just shows you’re a sucker. Most rich people I’ve known aren’t suckers.

    • 0 avatar

      Right. Ever seen an F-150 Limited? That’s the one above the King Ranch. It’s a $50k+ pickup and it’s seriously, seriously nice, very much the boss’s truck. You’re not going to find a more luxurious pickup — and the folks interested in such a product would probably rather have the Ford badge on it vs a Lincoln (or whatever) badge anyway. Ford figured it out, and GM has too — check out their plans for the top trim levels on the new Sierra and Silverado, they’re very much following Ford’s lead here (Akerson even said as much, a few weeks back).

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Sam Walton, richer than God’s banker, drove a plumber’s grade ’79 Ford F150 complete with dents and red and white livery for quite a few years. That’s EXTREMELY cool.

      The essence of this topic is vanity. A well maintained, 20 year old base model pick-up can do everything a $50K King Ranch edition does – with the exception of showing the world that you’re soon to be upside down on your truck’s value and beholden to the mafia thugs at the finance company. As a not-vain, manly man I’m willing to drive whatever gets the job done, and acres of leather, chrome, Bose audio systems and self dimming mirrors does NOT get the job done. I understand that today’s American feels the need to compensate for shortages in other departments (cough cough) but conspicuous consumption has never sat well with me and my austere values, and I just don’t give a crap what people think, I simply want the best tool for the job. People should respect you because you’re respectable, not because you arrived at the job site in a Harley edition F150 with an unscratched bed.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        Yup. It’s why I replaced a 96 Voyager, once the kids were grown and leaving the nest, with a fleet special regular cab ’01 GMC Sierra, which I just replaced with a fleet special ’01 Ford Ranger. 4 cyl with a stick, rubber floor, power NOTHING, and gets almost twice the city gas mileage as the Sierra. I used it this week to pick up 40 free sandbags (thanks Kijiji!) as part of a backyard reno project. It’s got dings and dents all over, and I don’t care.

        My F-I-L bought a new F150 crewcab this past winter, and promptly had the box sprayed, and then put a cap on it. It’s used to pick up groceries, and when he needed to do a run to the dump to dispose of an old fence, what did he do? He called me to borrow the Ranger so he “didn’t muss up the F150 and get it dirty or scratched.”

        Don’t misconstrue my point – I believe that everybody has a right to buy whatever vehicle they want, and use it as they see fit. But a $60,000 pick-up is anathema to me.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Good to see you back, Monty.

          Your story reminded me of a fellow principal with a F150 Raptor. He parks in the middle of two parking spaces right out in front of central office so no one scratches his precious ride.

          The funny thing is his B-I-L is the Superintendent now and drives an pre-1996 F150 and would likely collaborate with me if I wanted to park him in with my beat up old flatbed F150.

          • 0 avatar
            jim brewer

            Actually Walton explained that there was nothing more to it than that he didn’t want to put his muddy hunting dogs in a Range Rover.

            Well, remember, the Raptor is a unique 2/5 ton truck with its awesome carrying capacity of over 900 pounds. We won’t see the likes of that in a very long while.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Your values are great and must work well for you, but why begrudge the hardworking stiff that wants to drive a truck with a few creature comforts if that’s what he wants AND CAN AFFORD. No one should over-extend themselves for a truck or anything else. I have a feeling, though, that if you wanted to, you’d go out a buy any truck you wanted.

        A side note about “compensating for shortages”, I have never once thought about the size of a man’s anything, but maybe his wallet, when checking out his ride, I think that’s a cliche’ that needs to die

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          My gal and I saw a jacked to the sky King Ranch black F150 recently. The guy driving it was a sawed off runt with his hat shading his neck and he looked really angry. On the back tinted window he’d applied white die-cut vinyl interlocking male ♂ and female ♀ symbols with “STRAIGHT PRIDE” below in foot tall letters. I didn’t have to check to know that the cliche has some merit.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Actually Walton explained that there was nothing more to it than that he didn’t want to put his muddy hunting dogs in a Range Rover.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        I am pretty sure the leather seats and Bose stereo in my ’04 GMC didn’t lower the tow rating or affect its hauling capacity one bit. And I dropped a 3500 lb pallet of pavers in the bed so not only do those fancy aluminum Alcoa wheels look good, they are strong. If your happy with a 20 year old stripper good for you. My first PU had cloth seats, a lousy radio and crank windows. 11 years and 197K with that truck I hated that I cheaped out and didn’t get the top level trim.Has nothing to do with vanity, I’ve worked hard all my life and want something that I enjoy to drive. If you view that as conspicous consumption and/or something to do with the size of my you know what, that’s your hang-up and nobody elses.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          You don’t sound like the demographic I’m throwing darts at. You earned it, you probably work hard to keep the lights on, so way-to-go. Different strokes as they say.

          Still … we as a nation used to toss stuff in the back of our Conestoga wagons and head west behind a couple mules while suffering from dysentery. Now we worry what the neighbors will think if we bring home a base model pickup, if you get my gist. We’re getting soft & losing our priorities.

          For me, the metric ton of money I’m not spending on a Harley Davidson Edition F150 can be spent on the continuing restoration of my TR6 and the new vinyl “wood” for my ’72 Country Squire. I think a petrol-head is better suited to old iron that gains value rather than blowing his wad at the dealer on new status symbols. But that’s me. YMMV.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Doug, I never thought about this (even though I’ve had many laughs at the expense of Blackwood drivers– the ones down here usualy have the Florida Golfer vanity plate). Perhaps buyers just walk into the GMC dealer and start checking boxes. Before you know what hit you, you’re out the door with a loaded new truck and coupons for a $50,000 car note on the way to your mailbox. Upselling is a powerful sales tactic. Plus, who walks into a Caddy dealer determined to buy a truck?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    These trucks are priced high, so only the wealthy can afford them. The wealthy have no intention of throwing things in the bed or doing serious off-roading. They only need the truck for one thing, towing. For that, an Escalade, Navigator, GL, etc works as well, provides more cargo room inside and more passenger space.

    The cachet that buy high end mainline pickups are likely to be construction foreman, managers, those who work in similar industries and probably drove lower end models before, working their way up.

    Those who would buy Cadillacs and Lincolns tend to be old and adverse to physical labor. Also getting in and out might be hard for them.

    Not to mention service. Every little town of 200 people has a Ford or Chevy dealer, but Cadillac and Lincoln are more rare than one might expect in the middle of nowhere.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Simply put, image, the trucks look similar enough to their down market companions that buying one made it look like you were trying too hard. A fully loaded, optioned, F150 got the response “Hey nice truck” a Lincoln Mark LT got the response, “You bought a tarted up F150?”

    • 0 avatar
      RightYouAreKen

      This. I’ve only recently gotten into trucks in order to tow our 27′ camping trailer, but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. No shame in buying a capable truck that’s fully optioned (King Ranch F350) because they are still “tough”. Heck, King Ranch, you must be a ranch owner, right? Tough dude. But buying a pretender with fancy paint is going to get you laughed at.

      By the way, a lot of people get bend out of shape about truck prices. And they aren’t wrong. But you must remember NOBODY should be paying anywhere near sticker price on a fullsize truck. $10k off MSRP is more or less the norm.

      • 0 avatar
        Arminius

        Completely agree. I’ve been in the market for a new truck of late and $10K off MSRP seems fairly standard on F150’s, 2013 Silverado’s, and last gen Rams. I haven’t seen any discounts (yet) on the 2014 Silverado’s and they are starting to go up on the new gen Rams.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        Luxury pickup trucks are owned by business owners looking for a tax break suvs as well.The Chevy Tahoe is the cheapest vehicle to qualify for the farm vehicle exemption. Henceforth these vehicles popularity with the self employed. 15-20k tax break for four years is nothing to sneeze at.

        • 0 avatar
          korvetkeith

          6k+ lb trucks used to be fully deductible in one year against business income. I attribute a lot of the SUV boom in the early 2000s to this. This deduction no longer exists in that form however.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    You can still get a Lincoln Mark LT….in Mexico. Last time I was in Sonora and Sinaloa, I saw quite a few. I don’t know what the cartel take rate is.

  • avatar
    kkt

    The point of buying a luxury truck is to disguise all that luxury with the look of a manly work truck that the owner uses to do manly work things. The luxury nameplate is not going to impress anybody that it’s just a manly work truck.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Lincoln and Cadillac have less brand cache in the truck market than they do in the luxury car market.

      • 0 avatar
        kmoney

        This. I think part of the appeal of the luxury trucks like the C3 referenced in the beginning and others is that they have are a sort of blue collar luxury. Most of the KR Fords Denali Sierras and Laramie (top trim?) Dodges appeal is that they are luxurious but at the same time hyper-masculine and decidedly working class — i.e., they all have tons of features and gadgets, and are awash in leather but they are at the same time big and brash and somewhat edgy. The Cadillac and Lincoln offerings don’t have this same edge and are seen as somewhat dainty and pretentious by the wealthy working-class demographic. At the same time, the fact that they are pickups puts them outside of the demographic of most affluent white-collar workers, as most just buy SUVs if they have a need to tow/haul.

  • avatar
    jdhall

    I believe that most people (at least those I know) buy pickups to do truck things. Or at least think they need to do truck things. Who wants to buy a Caddy to take a load of tires to the dump?

    Once someone decides they need a pickup,for whatever reason, they select the pickup of their choice (Ford, Dodge, Chevy, Toyota or whatever) and then decide on how much comfort and geegaws they want. They don’t decide to buy a Cadillac and then select the pickup over the DeVille.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I think there is plenty of scope for luxury and prestige pickups.

    But I don’t consider a vehicle based on a $20 000 platform ever to be prestige or luxury. They are fully optioned vehicles, irrespective of the badge.

    Generally luxury and/or prestige in a vehicle denotes innovation and quality. This starts from the ground up.

    But back to a market for high end pickups. The pickup market is large enough just like cars to support high end pickups. But the pickup market is neglected by luxury and prestige vehicle manufacturers in the construction of what I would call a luxury pickup.

    There will be only one true luxury pickup available soon. That is the Mercedes Benz 6×6 G Wagen, by AMG. If anyone is unaware, this is an awesome luxury machine not a dolled up $20 000.

    In Australia, we have differing levels of quality in utes. The only real pickup we have that is verging on prestige (as opposed to luxury) it the VW Amarok. It is very refined for a pickup.

    The offerings like the global Ranger and Colorado do come in leather and everything, but aren’t luxury, they are still based on a cheap vehicle.

    Before anyone has a go at me, remember I own what is termend a luxury pickup, with all the bells and whistles.

    I mean is a Great Wall out of China a luxury pickup. It comes in leather and power everything. It’s as much luxury as a Chev, Ford or Fiat/Ram.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “Luxury” isn’t simply defined by a list of features and gadgetry.

      A base 3-series BMW with vinyl seats, cheesy radio and 16″ wheels is 10X the “Luxury” of Chinese car or pickup with everything you can imagine on it.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        The BMW still prestige. Maybe in Germany it might be considered differently. But outside of the US no pickup irrespective of badge is considered a luxury vehicle.

        A base model F-150 is never prestige and that is what a Lincoln is, a base model pickup with bling and a badge. Not luxury, Bentley, Merc, Rollers, etc are luxury, not a rebadged F-150.

        It’s about perception, that’s why most buy a pickup, to appear to be something, to fit in. It’s called peer pressure.

        As I stated luxury and prestige is designed from the ground up, not created by a budget vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @BAF0 – High end F-150s make owning a BMW or Merc unnecessary and mostly too cliché or eurotrash. I mean if you’re a guy. Some women don’t like or understand the concept of high end pickups. And they hate clipping curbs, killing shrubs and not fitting in the closest parking space at the mall.

          A base pickup in fleet white is considered a “budget vehicle”, but a $50K+ King Ranch, Limited, Raptor, etc, aren’t considered along the same line or related to.

          A mid-size truck loaded to the max with heated/cooled leather, Nav, sunroof, concert stereo, etc, would be surprising, but still nothing more than what your employees might drive.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            You’re missing the point Big Al makes and it is a great one.

            The loaded up trucks…are just say a 20k truck with 20k of frosting in top. Lots of money in leather and chrome but ultimately the same level of baked in goodness.

            As much as BMW can cheapen a 3 series down to a 320i and gouge you on the options…they are putting money into a good chassis and you pay for that.

            The profit margin on “options” is higher than the underlying vehicle, and the profit on loaded trucks is huge, much larger than cars according to the occasional news outlet stories. Anyone who can do math knows that means you pay more and get less with a luxury lined truck.

            Some people are ok with that, personally when I sticker price on one of these I think the buyers are just plain dumb, but I happen to buy my cars with actual money so 50k for a pickup seems like a lot but maybe the payments aren’t bad if you stretch it out over 7 years.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Where is this 20K truck without the 20K in frosting?

            Sticker on a 4 door F-150 XL with 4WD and a V8 starts past $37,000. That gets you a vinyl bench, FM radio with 4 speakers rolling on painted steel wheels. Doesn’t even have cruise control. Chrome and leather and all the other profit margin options are nowhere to be seen.

            That $37,000 is more than a base 328i. Yet because they charge a lot of money for it, BMW has designed in luxury and prestige from the ground up, and puts money into a good chassis, and all this other badge idolatry. Meanwhile a truck they charge a lot of money for just the bones of – even with the economy of scale of selling a couple million of them – remains a plebe economy car with a bed.

            Marketing works.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Not really. For $20K you get a real crew cab, 4X4, Coyote 5.0, King Ranch/Limited luxury.

            The 3-series is good, but no 7-series. But it’s still the #6 most profitable vehicle while selling a tiny, tiny small fraction or the #1 F-series.

            I’d say you’re “gouged” a hell of a lot more at the BMW dealer if not raped for a lot of gadgetry.

            http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/11/top-12-most-profitable-vehicles.html/7

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with your point, your basic 4×4 truck is out of the reach of, well most sensible people at $37K (96 month loans outstanding). Such a high floor price means there’s a hefty profit built into the base version and trim packages are icing on the cake.

            I think whether BMW puts “good money” into their drive-train & chassis post MY2005 is debatable, especially when you have things like X1 :D. Difference between spending money and spending “good” money.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            @Dan sorry I didn’t realize it was cherry picking season!

            The base F150 starts at $24k. The Limited model with no options added, in the same 4×2 starts at 50k. The Limted does have the 4 door cab, which Ford charges you 9k for on the base model. 9k!! hello, sweet sweet frosting profit.

            BMW 320i starts at 32k (with vinyl seats just like the F150), tops out at 43k base for the 335xi. To be fair that adds AWD so to compare the Fords they have a range of 24k-53k for a 4×4 Limited. Yup Ford charges 3k for 4WD. Thats 11k vs 29k range which proves my point.

            So my question is…other than Ecoboost engine, and 4 doors…what are you really getting beyond 26k of chrome and leather frosting on top of a 24k truck?

            That list of “most profitable” is ironic, as the BMW is number 6 and the F150 is number 1. Not saying I really know about these things, just my feeling about it. Full size pickups seem to me like inexpensive to produce products, with huge option catalogs that have hefty margins, and a customer base that chooses lots of those options boosting profits.

            I doubt BMW could sell a 24k 3 series here on the same platform so I am assuming the basic 3 series costs more to bring to market, and the Ford still tops a 3 series price easily in the highest model.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You’d have to be plum crazy to pay full MSRP on a truck! Rebates for Lariats and above are $10,000+. And the rule rather than the exception.

            BMWs seem to be the cheaper of the two to build. Starting from ‘base’, there’s an upgraded drivetrain for both it and F-150s, but the 3-series’ unibody is the same as the base with exception of overpriced gadgetry. Nothing much to it, otherwise.

            But it’s crazier that the 3-series is even on the Top 12 list of most profitable. Ford has to move a crap load of discounted trucks to be on the list.

            http://www.marysvilleford.com/ford-f-150-cars

            But it’s doubtful Ford could sell the base F-150 at a profit without the mid to high end trucks. And the content of the base Mustang (before rebates) embarrasses the chintzy base 3-series.

      • 0 avatar

        Depends on the crowd. That discount-special 3 Series is going to look pretty lame parked next to a shiny black F-350 Platinum at the horse show.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      If a loaded truck has no prestige or luxury because it was a low end platform once – ignoring for the moment that the $20,000 version leaves out three feet of cabin, two doors, two driven wheels, 200 hp, etc. are we going to apply the same standard to cars?

      By this logic an M5 is a dolled up taxi and a 300 SRT8 is a dolled up police car.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Dan
        We have Chrysler here in Australia, and they are mainly competing against the Korean vehicles in pricing, and bling. The quality has improved significantly of the US vehicles, but they aren’t luxury.

        A top of the line Kia Sorento in Australia isn’t luxury. It’s the same price as a diesel Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee limited isn’t a luxury 4×4. A Porche Cayenne is, X5 is. Because they have the name.

        But the Grand Cherokee received 4×4 Wagon of the year here.

        A Discovery in Australia isn’t luxury, its prestige, but the Range Rovers are luxury. The Discovery runs on a far more advanced platform than a Lincoln pickup.

        People who buy a Lincoln or Caddy aren’t buying for the luxury they are buying because of the bling and in the US those names have meaning. Outside of the US they don’t.

        Like I stated it doesn’t matter if you buy a high end or base model pickup, most buy because it about image. Perception.

        The Big 3 thought they would make a killing out of sprucing up $20 000 pickups, but apparently they didn’t.

        Don’t confuse bling with prestige and luxury.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          Uh, can you give me details on how the Disco’s platform is far more advanced than an F-150′s platform?
          The big three made road trains full of money from gussied up $2Ok USD pickups. Your average Lariat/King Ranch buyer wouldn’t spend more for a Lincoln LT. It was basically the same tuck. I imagine the FLM dealers never parked them side-by-side.
          Apologies in advance to other brand owners. My grandpa is 96 and still drives his F-150 around the farm.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            When you say Disco, I’m not sure if you mean the Discovery 4 (which we know in the States as the LR4), or the last vehicle that was sold in the US under the Discovery name, the Discovery 2. In either case, all Discoveries were designed from the ground up to be stellar offroading tools. They all have the *prestige* of Land Rover’s terrain-navigating prowess. The Disco 3 and 4 (LR3 and LR4) and outgoing Range Rover Sport actually aren’t BOF vehicles in the traditional sense. They feature a unibody frame that has been bolted to a ladder-frame chassis…something you would only really see on a prestige offroading vehicle. Land Rover’s offroading abilities were also engineered into the latest Range Rover, which is why I think people should stop griping about it being “fake”.

            The F-150, as great as it is, is a basic ladder-frame truck, which can be regarded as the blunt instrument of the automotive world.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            The F150 was designed first and foremost to be a working vehicle. The Disco was designed with, at least from the structural point you bring up, a superb off roader. Neither manufacturer owes anybody an apology for that. But a key difference is that if a contractor had to count on day in/day out reliability from the Disco, they would go out of business. As good as the LR products are in certain ways, the reliability is just not where it should be. And resale values reflect that. However, LR finds themselves in a unique place. They are routinely the lowest, or near lowest, in most reliability surveys. They depreciate like mad. Yet they are highly desirable to the golf club set. How does LR take the two things that usually are a detriment into an asset? It’s not the superb off roading capability. Its the snob appeal. The fact that you pay a steep entry price and trade at lease end for another one shows all the folks in your uber-rich world that you can afford it. And your wife will insist on it. That is the way the high end suburban communities work.

            Not so for pickups. For the P/U crowd its your brand loyalty and the higher trim level does it. Some have mentioned the pedestrian bones as a detriment, but I don’t agree with that at all. If that basic design structure is really good, the fact that it is used on a luxury vehicle is irrelevant to the vast majority of purchasers. If people really knew how much sharing that goes on between platforms, and between manufactures for that matter they would be quite surprised.

            For the record, my opinion on why Quadra-steer failed is simply because GM priced it too damn high. Why they bundled QS with other unrelated options is beyond me…

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          It’s crazier then that, ’cause the Grand Cherokee is a, well, Mercedes

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            It’s not a Mercedes. It might have been based on a Merc SUV.

            It’s a Chrysler that adopted a Merc platform with Chrysler running gear. The build quality is far from Mercedes.

            Don’t get me wrong I considered buying one, but it isn’t a Merc.

            But a Lincoln and Caddy are pickups with nothing more than bling and a badge. My nephew has a Caddy SUV. The build quality isn’t luxury. It rather poor for the price.

            My Mazda BT50 was primarily designed to target the potential SUV buyer. It did, I bought one instead of a LR4, as you call them. I was interested in a mid spec LR4 as well, not a base model.

            What occurred to me was I went well the Grand Cherokee will do what I want as well as the LR4 and its 2/3′s the price, then I saw the Mazda BT50GT and went well this will also do what the LR4 and Grand Cherokee will do for half the price of the LR4. So I bought the pickup.

            So, I was initially out to invest in what you guys are calling a ‘luxury’ vehicle and ended up with the highest end pickup from Mazda.

            That’s why the Caddy’s and Lincoln’s didn’t sell. There is much better value out there, even in Australia.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I think a bigger issue here is defining the term “luxury” and how it applies to cars and trucks and that may be one of the failure points with Lincoln and Cadillac. Does anyone set out to buy a “luxury” truck? Would anyone describe their King Ranch or Platinum as “Luxury” vehicles?… Oh, hell no. Once that word gets associated with a truck, it’s over, might as well drive a “chick car”

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            …..It’s a Chrysler that adopted a Merc platform with Chrysler running gear. The build quality is far from Mercedes….

            Have you really looked closely at the build quality of today’s Mercedes products? I spend a lot of time at the auto show each year doing just that. And M-B is really nothing special anymore in that regard. It just isn’t. And on the lower lines, the interior materials do not match the price tags. How so many people will let certain manufacturers slide on material quality and assembly precision is beyond me. I guess people see what they want to see. And the power of brand cachet is strong. Sometimes at work when these conversations come up, coworkers refuse to believe that Mercedes of the 2000′s were so poor, or they make ignorant statements like “its because they merged with Chrysler and Chrysler caused it”…Right. Like Chrysler had any input on what Mercedes did. Buy boy did M-B have a lot to do with Chrylser’s slide…

        • 0 avatar
          korvetkeith

          The last gen discos are practically free now. Good luck finding one with out a blown head gasket.

          The idea that an f150 is a cheap under engineered 20k$ vehicle is laughable. Economies of scale allow pickup trucks to be the most highly engineered vehicle that is still affordable. Land rover probably spends less than a quarter of ford does on designing and validating an f150. That’s why 1995 disco is worth $2k and an f150 is worth $6k.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @korvetkeith
            No one stated under engineered. They are not designed as a prestige/luxury platform.

            A Subaru WRX isn’t no Porche, but they go pretty good.

            As for vehicle value 20 years down the track? What has that got to do with new vehicle prices.

            I can buy a 1977 Ranger Rover cheap as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think there’s a major difference between prestige and luxury in the above examples. A Chevy Cruze, or what have you, can become quite luxurious once you add in things like a sunroof, navigation and the smart-access key. However, being that its roots are plebeian, it wouldn’t be a prestige vehicle, nor would its Buick Verano sibling be. So too is the case with a Ford F-150 Limited or GMC Sierra Denali. There never really was a *prestige* pickup truck from the American brands at least. However there were and are *luxury* pickup trucks.

      A prestige vehicle, on the other hand, is one with structures and mechanicals that are a cut above the rest (in other words, the exclusivity is in the bones of the vehicle). This is why people will pay Accord Touring money for a rather un-luxurious 328i that doesn’t have leather, a sunroof or even projector headlamps (which are all but standard across the midsized-car category). Usually these cars come from prestige brands, but sometimes they don’t. The Volkswagen Touareg is almost a Porsche Cayenne/Audi Q7 that’s been slightly decontented, and we all know that the very capable and advanced Acura NSX goes by Honda elsewhere. This is why Lincoln as a whole has no prestige model in its lineup, and why cars like the Lexus ES (tarted-up Camry/Avalon) and Infiniti JX (luxed-out Pathfinder/Murano) aren’t really prestige models, either.

      The prestige is more in the construction than the name.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I wouldn’t say the Escalade EXT was a failure at ALL. Since its inception in 2001 they’ve sold over 70,000 of them. There were blocks full of nothing but EXTs in my neighborhood in Baltimore.

    Yes, sales have trailed off since the 2008 financial meltdown, but there was a financial meltdown. The EXT had its moment in the sun, and the moment passed.

    It was ephemera, not failure.

    I honestly don’t know why the Blackwood and Mark LT failed (except in Mexico), but I’ll tell you this: if you gave me the choice of a Cadillac truck and a Lincoln truck, I’m going with the Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar

      Your point on the EXT is completely correct except for one interesting detail. As the luxury truck market was INCREASING, sales of the EXT were DECREASING. That suggests to me its initial success was more the novelty of its unusual design and styling than actual people buying it because that’s what they wanted. Whereas sales of the Sierra Denali just keep going up and up and up and up.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      The crazy thing about the EXT is they were actually really useful. My previous employer owned a hobby farm and a fair amount of equipment and various trailers. His EXT was basically a 2500 Avalanche with the 6.0 V8 and AWD. A set of snow tires and a proper trailer hitch and it was phenominal for towing in northern Alberta, and with the spray out rubber lined box, he wouldeven use it for transporting animals back into the city for butchering. We even hauled gravel with it… though the Bobcat operator was afraid for his life that day!

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “His EXT was basically a 2500 Avalanche with the 6.0 V8 and AWD.”

        The 2500 Avalanche had leaf springs, 8-lug wheels with higher load rated tires, stronger axle, and the 4L80E transmission.

        The Escalade EXT never had any of this. It was a 1/2 ton Avalanche with a bigger engine. Still capable but not 3/4 ton capable.

  • avatar
    TARPON70

    Luxury trucks have been successful. Luxury branded trucks have not been successful. In my experience, the income and professions of luxury truck and entry level luxury branded vehicle purchasers have significant overlap. Luxury truck buyers, however, are older or have children and generally neither live nor work in urban environments. Luxury brand sales are clustered around our largest metropolitan areas where trucks are less practical than a c-d sedan. Also, crew cab trucks carry the same social cachet as luxury brand vehicles in many smaller markets without carrying any of the stigma that can be associated with driving a Mercedes to get your kid at the county high school.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      There you go. Here in Oklahoma, you will see plenty of people (with no need for pickup trucks) buying F-150 Limiteds and Sierra Denalis, when they could have had something from a luxury brand. And yes, there is something nice about being surrounded in the basic same comfort and luxury as a Benz driver, without having a conspicuous three-pointed star plastered to your grille. That logic is why cars like the Grand Cherokee Overland and 300C sell well…but it won’t help an overpriced “anonymous-mobile” like the VW Phaeton.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    I was looking at a Mark LT just the other day, and I thought the tail lights were hideous blobs and that if I owned one I would swap the tail gate for one from an F150. Then looking at the front, I thought that grille would have to go as well. In 30 seconds I had mentally changed a Mark LT into a well-optioned F150.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Hmm, is it ironic that the only person I’ve ever met that owned a Caddy EXT was someone who interviewed me for a job at a Pepsi bottling plant? His license plate said popboy

    Short story… From the minute he shook my hand I knew he was a total asshole. He proceeded to grill me about my abilities, ask me questions that didn’t make sense (in his mind they did, but didn’t actually have an answer in real life), and then asked if I’d mind taking a 10K pay cut! At that point I wouldn’t have worked for the guy if they gave me a 50K raise! I did get some satisfaction when HIS boss called him and very loudly chewed him out for 10 minutes. My interview with him was followed by an interview with an extremely nice lady with HR. I told her under no circumstance would I work for that moron and that he has completely no idea what the listed position consists of. She laughed and said everyone who has been called in has said exactly the same thing.
    Fast forward..I write two “thank you for the interview” letters, very nice to HR, not so nice to the egocentric moron.

    1 year later they are still putting the same ad up for the same job.

  • avatar
    Neb

    When you look at what cars people buy, it’s clear that fashion counts more than actual capability 9 times out of ten. Most modern SUVs are essentially a wagon ruined: less space and worse mileage for more money. This is especially true of luxury SUVs, as buying, say, a X3series requires you to literally walk by BMW 3 series, which are based on the same platform and do literally everything better than their horrible SUVs.

    But I think even the general public’s limit for style over substance was passed with luxury pickups. The public loved Pickups with luxury features, but having one from a luxury manufacturer was seen as dumb, even by the standards of the shopping masses. It was impossible to not overhear people referring to your new Cadillac as a Canyonaro. Even your uncritical friends wondered if getting a Lincoln Blackwood with a seal-able bed was not like buying a extra-ugly town car with giant 20″ wheels. Even if you didn’t care about these things, the sheer social stigma of buying the stupidest vehicle on sale today stopped most buyers, or sent them to Trucks with the same luxury but an invisible appearance.

    Those immune to that stigma were no big help either, since people who thought luxury pickups were a good idea gravitated toward the Hummer H2.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I can garuntee you that my deuces are not luxury trucks, I highly doubt many bought them with that thought in mind,
      My DD is chipped dented, etc with trail scars.

      It’s made for offroading not being luxurious, there’s enough cheap plastic in the thing to melt and fill a smart car.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      If nothing else, you were just throwing away tons of money to get a nicer badge and some flashier styling. There’s nothing appreciably special that was available on the Mark LT but not the F-150.

      And as far as the comment about the 3-Series vs. X3 goes, don’t hold your breath on another 3-Series wagon now that we’ve got the X1, and a 3-Series GT supposedly on the way.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you. I’ve gotten x3 loaners almost every time my car was fixed. X3 means you found the right brand, you had the money, but somehow still came away with the wrong car….Oh, and the X3 does what Detroit always did, which was to use last generation car interior parts in this generations’ truck.

      I almost pissed myself seeing that the satnav system that was leading edge when I bought it in 2003 was still for sale until very recently…and it hadn’t been changed much, if at all.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Now, on topic,
    The blackwood failed..the LT and EXT…eh
    I’m sure both models were pure rediculous profit since they were both based on existing lower priced models. Did it really cost 10′s of thousands more to build the EXT from the Avalanche when all the parts were already available from the Escalade? I’d like to see those numbers before saying they weren’t successful.

    I think the EXT would still be with us if the Avalanche wasn’t gone too. I think this is a mistake for GM to leave this niche market, but what do I know.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    Sorry, but I don’t see how the Escalade EXT could be seen as a failure, in any sense of the term. It completely blew the Blackwood out of the water in terms of sales figures, and it had much greater staying power than the LT.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Escalade#U.S._sales
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Mark_LT#Sales

    As you can see, they made up a pretty decent portion of overall Escalade sales until pretty recently. And the Escalade sales decline is part of a much broader industry-wide trend anyway. There’s no way GM lost money on any them, considering that they were just badge-engineered Avalanches. The only reason they’re being discontinued is because the Avalanche itself has been cancelled. I will be curious to see if the next-gen Escalade offers a pickup-bed version, perhaps more closely related to the Sierra/Silverado than previously.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree that GM didn’t lose money. Hell, I’d be stunned if Ford lost money on the Mark LT considering it was a total badge job. But my point is more along the lines of: how did the EXT sales dwindle to nothing just as the luxury truck market was taking off? As I mentioned to philadlj, that suggests to me its ‘success’ was just a novelty of its design, while actual buyers prefer the ever-more-popular Sierra Denali.

  • avatar
    James2

    Just wait. Lexus –since Toyota needs to pay for the San Antonio plant — will come out with the TX570. Texans will think they named the lux truck after their state.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I sat in a Tundra Limited and for the life of me I can’t see what else they could have done or added to it to make a Platinum.

      It would break my heart to get a dolled up truck like that dirty or to spill food and drink inside the cab.

      Maybe that’s because I use my truck as a tool for real work, not a social status symbol.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Lexus actually isn’t stupid enough to do that, thankfully. The only Lexus that is *clearly* a gussied up Toyota here in the States is the LX 570, whose only real issue is that there wasn’t much to improve on between it and the US-spec Land Cruiser. I suppose the GX 460 is a nicer Land Cruiser Prado, but they don’t actually sell the Prado here, so most people will never know that. Similarly, Nissan moved the QX56 from the Armada platform/body to that of the Nissan Patrol, which also isn’t sold here. So there’s that.

      As for the Americans, since Chrysler Group has basically committed to giving Dodge and Chrysler all-unibody lineups—not to mention the fact that Chrysler isn’t a luxury brand—I don’t foresee there being a gussied-up Chrysler-branded pickup truck. However, I won’t be surprised if Ford and GM give it another shot with Lincoln and Cadillac, given the negligible costs for doing so. Ford is still selling the Mark LT in Mexico anyway, with very minimal changes over the F-150.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    A sociologist (as opposed to a socialist) might find your conclusion interesting, except that it sort of falls apart when one considers luxury utes. Escalades and Navigators sold in huge numbers.
    Of course, pick-ups and utes are what US automakers do best. Without them, they are toast.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess it comes down to the type of people buying them. My conclusion is that truck people don’t want a luxury truck because it’s not a “truck” brand – whereas to your point, luxury SUV people might want a luxury SUV because their first goal isn’t an SUV but rather a luxury brand.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The EXT and Avalanche weren’t considered “Trucks” as much as SUVs with a balcony.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Well, that’s what they were…modified SUVs. The Avalanche was literally a Tahoe/Suburban with a different rear-end. The Sierra and Silverado (though they use the same GMT-9XX platform) actually use a different construction than the BOF SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It was an idea better left on paper. SUV buyers want a 3rd row seat and truck buyers want more than a balcony. They should have came with BRAT seats at least.

  • avatar
    Ageent007

    I think it has a little to do with what trucks are designed for and a lot to do with the perceived image of the company.

    Think about what trucks are designed for; doing work. Now think about what truck advertisement campaigns are centered around: “Ford Tough”, Pulling a train, driving up a spiral ramp of fire, ripping the foundation out from under a house. That kind of imagery is what gets trucks sold.

    Now think about Lincoln and Cadillac and its as simple as that.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I was shocked to find that the Avalanche had stayed in production past 2008…and its cancellation is the only real reason why the EXT is also dead.

    Now nobody will sell a funky midgate pickup SUV thing. I’m assuming the Honda Ridgeline is long gone.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Truth is stranger than fiction.

      http://automobiles.honda.com/ridgeline/

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Ridgeline was a girlie-truck. The ladies sure love them!

      I have to admit that it is eye-catching to see a foxy babe egress out of her Ridgeline, even if she has four kids in tow.

      Although real cow-girls drive manly pickup trucks, the Ridgeline found love looking in all the wrong places.

      At one time my wife was considering a Ridgeline to replace her ’92 TownCar. I’m sure glad she chose a Grand Cherokee instead.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        There’s something about women and Jeeps. Seems like every third GC around here had a “silly boys, Jeeps are for girls” sticker on the back window.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I agree! Back in the day when our kids lived at home and we were still mudding, my wife took her turn at racing our Wranglers and Scouts in the mud. Did damn good, too!

          But her daily driver was a Towncar. In 2008 she got a wild hair and wanted a Highlander. Times were a-changing.

          In 2011 she fell for the styling of the Grand Cherokee, and the rest is history. We got her a 2012 Grand Cherokee.

          In my area the bumper sticker of choice is “Real cowgirls drive Trucks”. But the Ridgeline is very popular with women of all ages and all income levels.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Oh, I see similar stickers around here. Where I live kind of feels like a much wetter forested Texas with the countless pick-up truck owners and local dealerships having practically half their stock in pick-ups. It’s enough to make you want a truck even if you have no real need for its capabilities…

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I don’t see too many “luxury” trucks in my area as the Texas Cadillac remains the Chevy Suburban, or the Yukon XL for those with visions of grandeur who can’t afford to, or don’t want to, buy an Escalade for image reasons.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve a theory, that the bigger the truck, the more petite the girl is. Going to college in a ranching town (home to more than a few professionals on the rodeo circuit) the well-fed girls tend to drive the smaller trucks and the more… proportional girls tend to drive the bigger trucks.

        Seeing a 4’10″ – 90 pound girl getting out of a jacked up F-350 dually, long bed crewcab is a sight to behold.

    • 0 avatar

      They announced earlier this week that they’re cancelling it next year. But your point is correct in the sense that no human has purchased a Ridgeline new since about 2009.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I don’t think it was because of their prices. As soon as they hit the market, especially the Lincoln LT, they were snatched up by hip-hop artists, football/basketballers, Casino Native Americans and any other (arguably) overpaid, high profile subset.

    The King Ranch, Platinum, Limited, Harley and even the Raptor fit just fine for the (normal) wealthy as well as Ranchers, Farmers and business owners looking for luxury trucks with a big tax write-off.

    There’s obviously no shortage of well-off pickup buyers. Ford sold around 200K F-150s in 2012, just Lariat and above.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2012/06/26/2013-ford-f-150-limited-unveiled-as-range-topping-luxury-truck/

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Earlier commenters had it right. It is all about the image you want to project.

      I’m neither black nor a hip-hop artist. I wouldn’t want the general public to get the impression that I am.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Do keep in mind that tacky, “pseudo-luxury” vehicles have infiltrated the ranks of *all* races, not just those of black people. I can’t even take the Dodge Charger or Chrysler 300 seriously right now, because every third one I see has been fitted with oversized chrome wheels and candy paint.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Kyree, it’s all about the image a person wants to project, as in Tupac for instance.

          I do not want to be misidentified and gunned down in the street like a dog because of driving a tacky, “pseudo-luxury” vehicle.

          Hence I do not want the public to get the impression that I’m something which I’m not.

          And as for *all* races, I’m not so sure about that. That may be true in your area but in my area rich Mexicans drive Mercedes products, rich Asians drive Mercedes/Lexus/Infiniti products, and rich white people drive Mercedes/BMW/Audi/Lexus/Infiniti/Volvo/LR products.

          Nary a luxury truck around unless you go to the nearby military installations where you can find an overabundance of them.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            My mom’s boyfriend used to haul Mercedes-Benzes around on a car carrier and do dealership work, and he would definitely agree that rich Asians, especially the Chinese, love themselves some three-pointed stars.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Amen to that! The rank and file aspire to Lexus and Infiniti, but the truly wealthy buy the biggest Mercedes they can lay their hands on.

            It’s uncanny! At one time there was an S-class Benz parked behind every Chinese restaurant in my area, no doubt used by the owner, while a married couple of Chinese-American physicians each had their own S-class which they drove to their separate clinics each day.

            A married couple of doctors from India each drove their own, you guessed it, LR.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    My guess: People who want a pickup truck may want a luxurious pickup truck (Denali, King Ranch) and can fairly easily be persuaded to spend a bit more for the dead animal interior (it only bumps the lease by $25/month!) but people who want a luxury vehicle are not as easily persuaded that a pickup truck is a luxury vehicle.

    I think this is partly because there are many pickups on the road that actually look like work vehicles (black plastic front ends, etc) and have pretty severely Spartan interiors.

    This dichotomy is not as sharp in the SUV market (Escalade) because there aren’t as many severely stripped, work-grade SUVs on the roads.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t call the higher trim level fords and chevys as being “spartan interiors”. Heck, they have power folding running boards, leather everywhere, faux woodgrain or brushed al, voice activated stuff, heater/cooled front (and sometimes rear) seats.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Buying a luxury branded pickup truck puts you off as extremely pretentious, which is another reason people didn’t buy them in droves. Personally, I love the Escalade EXT. They look beautiful in every color possible, but, you can’t tow your travel trailer with an EXT, or your boat, or anything else. It just makes you look like a complete uppity d-bag. So in a way, the consumer created the marketplace for luxury pickups, but they didn’t need a luxury badge to buy it.

    With that being said, I have a F-150 Platinum. It’s a damn good truck and I love everything about it. Sure it cost nearly $50k, but there’s nothing it can’t do for me, and it has a humbling badge on the front, the blue oval.

  • avatar

    I think it’s simply because truck drivers are one of the few loyal buyers left (panther and subie drivers aside). Many people I sell F-150s to will not test drive a chevy. Likewise, they don’t think of Lincoln as “the next step”. The majority of lux truck buyers seem to be guys that have worked hard and no longer want to drive the same trim level as their employees, but they still want a truck to be one of the guys.

  • avatar
    SteelyMoose

    If you want another perspective, spend some time on a mainstream truck owners’ forum. Owners of the “tart up” nameplates, but especially of the Ridgeline, are referred to with the sort of concepts and terminology that cost Bertel his job.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “What Will Orkin Drive?” I think we should all get little rubber bracelets that say “WWOD”.

    Why have they failed? I don’t know. Don’t forget that Chrysler was completely unable to sell a “Aspen” version of the Durango which was simply a Durango with standard Hemi, leather, and a hood that was “ribbed for her pleasure.” The local Chrysler dealer got so desperate he sold one at fleet prices to my school district. When the board found out that the Director of Transportation had approved the purchase and was driving it, they were not happy…

  • avatar
    suspekt

    In the truck world, the HD version is the “luxury” version… that is where the cachet resides…

    A 2500 series Duramax 4 door dually has exponentially more cachet than a Cadillac EXT…

    A real winner would have been a dually Avalanche on 2500/3500 underpinnings with a Duramax motor. In some segments, this truck would have been god

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    The whole point of the lifestyle truck is to look like like you are the kind of guy who needs a truck to do manly stuff, like haul lumber, hunt things, drive on double track, or tow construction equipment.

    A Cadillac or Lincoln truck doesn’t make you look like you need a truck. A King Ranch edition F-150 makes you look like a guy who needs a truck and is well to do. It’s as simple as that.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The Blackwood failed because it was stupid. 2wd only? Seriously? Could not GIVE them away in Maine, my local dealer had the same one on the lot for TWO YEARS. MK LT? I guess others have nailed it – why bother? The EXT was OK, but did not do enough volume to survive the passing of the Avalanche, and that thing was pretty pointless – might as well just get a loaded 4dr pickup with a more useful bed for less money.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “The Blackwood failed because it was stupid. 2wd only? Seriously?”

      This doomed it from the literally from the product planning phase. Lincoln/Ford repeated the mistake with the Aviator offering it in 2WD and fulltime AWD only, IIRC. Winning!

  • avatar

    Tax Code. Luxury Truck Buyers are oft those who own small/medium business. You can’t write off much car…about $3k per year, just enough to keep the power company in Neons. You can lease, or you can write off way more if you buy a piece of heavy equipment. A truck with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of over 6000 pounds means DING ! WRITE OFF !

    So, you get Escalades, QX56, Q7, X5, etc. All have GWVR over 6000. “you bastards !” points go to Volvo, who only gives that to the top of the line XC trucks (no stripper for you !), and Acura, who only recently got the MDX 200 pounds more GVWR but after I bought one.

    You thought CAFE was stupid policy ? How about allowing write offs for luxury trucks but not middle level cars ?

    These folks only buy “trucks” for the writeoff. If they wanted a pickup, they’d buy one, but for most of these buyers, a pickup is what the contractor drives…for whom this loophole was supposedly written.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This question is directed to the actual owners of pickups.

    1. Why do you own that particular type of vehicle?

    2. Why do you have a particular engine choice, not just in case I tow etc, but why a V8, V6, HD diesel, etc.

    3. Now, look at the percentage of use you are using it for to justify you outlay. Be sincere and see if you have made an “I want or I need decision”.

    I bought my pickup as an SUV. I wanted a Disco 4, then a Grand Cherokee diesel. I ended up with my BT50 because it offered most everything I wanted in a SUV, plus added utility that I rarely use, its a toy.

    My vehicle is purely a want. I could get by with a small FWD car. That’s the truth. I bet most are in the same boat.

    This is the same for a fully optioned $20 000 dollar pickup selling for an obscene price. You can get a far better vehicle for your dollar to suit what you really need.

    But we buy pickups, they are agricultural in design, but offer versatility that no other vehicle can offer. Even if you don’t use it.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I own a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 as a third vehicle. It is the long bed with a regular cab. It has the 5.9L V8. Every time I drive it, it is for truck purposes. My family owns a concrete finishing company, and it has been mine or my father’s work truck for 15 years. After what its been through all these years, it probably doesn’t need me to justify its existence.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @bball40dtw
        I should rephrase what I wrote 80% of pickups are toys. There will be some who actually use them for work its the majority of them that are wants, or image enhancers.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I own a couple of pickups, one is strictly a tool a 84 F350 crew cab. Every trip it makes it is loaded significantly or towing something heavy at least one direction. IE going to pick up 2 tons of gravel, roofing material, bags of concrete, concrete block, a stack of plywood or dry wall or towing something that weighs more than 7500lbs. In recent years it has only traveled about 1000mi per year but keeping it licesned is cheaper than renting as capable of a truck.

      The other pickup is a Scout II and it is a mix of work and pleasure. It gets to do things like carry 1 ton of gravel or retaining wall block when I either only need that much or when I want to be able to take it to exactly where it is going to be used and the F350 can’t make it there due to it’s length and/or width. It also does the things like haul a lawn mower, engine, trans or what ever. Some times it does get used just for fun as my summer time topless cruiser with nothing in the bed except for the top if it looks like it might rain.

      So truck number 1 is absolutely a “need” while #2 isn’t necessary though it does save money vs having to take the big truck, and it is nice to be able to use it as a powered wheel barrow, but I’d figure out how to survive and get the work done w/o it.

      I’d never buy a new or newish truck because I’d never use it as a daily driver since I’d rather use a car or SUV as a DD if for no other reason than it is not fun parking a crew cab truck with an 8′ bed and lesser trucks just don’t cut it for the work I use it for. Rarely does anyone ride in the back seat but it gets filled with tools frequently so they can be kept out of the rain and under lock and key. I suppose I could get by with one of the modern extended cab with the back doors.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        A Scout II? You lucky dog; I’ve always thought those were cool!

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          2 Scout II’s one with the Cabtop, ie pickup, and one with the Traveltop, ie full top. The Traveltop was purchased as a parts rig for the other but it was way too nice to kill and down the slippery slope of IH addiction I went. Hence my screen name.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            At least you were able to save one, I was stuck staring at an unloved green Scout I sitting at a rather inactive repair shop for all four years of high school. Nothing I could do about the poor old thing.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I actually saw a Scout II similar to what he’s describing like two weeks ago. First running Scout I’ve ever seen.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            You must not be looking hard enough or at least in the right places. Besides mine there are a 1/2 dozen or so Scout II’s I see running around near me regularly, and a few others I’ve ran across once. There are also a couple of Travelalls and pickups that I regularly see. Of course I’m usually not driving one of mine when I see the others.

            One of the ones I see is at my kid’s High School being driven by a girl. According to my Son’s friend who jump started it for her when she left the lights on it was her fathers and it was the vehicle she wanted to drive more than anything else. So there is hope for civilization.

            When driving home my Cabtop after it had sat in my friend’s garage for 7 years a girl was pulling out of the gas station in he early Scout as I was pulling in. Of course she waved at me and I waved back.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I have thought about buying a high end F-150. I tow things on occasion and the super cab with a 6 ft bed is good space and storage. I also want all the features I have on my other vehicles. If I had a 40 ft yacht I would buy one. A used MKT or Flex with the 3.5 Ecoboost plus tow package can handle my marina of small craft.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “My vehicle is purely a want. I could get by with a small FWD car. That’s the truth. I bet most are in the same boat.”

      I’d say that most non commercial vehicle purchases are wants. A basic B or C segment vehicle satisfies the needs of the majority of families and individuals but for various reasons we cross the line into want.

      This occurs in all areas of our lives so seeing it happen in regard to vehicles is not surprising. I’d rather not tell anyone what they should purchase based on my opinion of their needs. After all, isn’t making more money one of the reasons why we start businesses and pursue higher education. More money allows you to purchase based on wants rather than needs. It gives you options.

      I think that’s a good thing.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Why did the Ford Blackwood and Lincoln Mark LT die?
    1. They are ugly.
    2. Like all of the Lincoln brand – They do not have an identity of their own. They are ugly grill/badge engineered Fords.
    TRUE Luxury brands have credibility based on heredity. One says they own a Mercedes and that automatically conveys stature.
    A Mark LT conveys the image of a wannabe with poor taste and identity confusion. A grill, a luxury car does not make.
    3. Pickups convey an image of the working class or of a rugged lifestyle. That gets flushed down the toilet when you put a Lincoln badge on it.

    On to the Cadillac:
    1. As some have pointed out, the insta-celebrity basketball player, the rapper, the bling and ring crowd and the association with that crowd kills the appeal to white America. Which for the most part are going to be your biggest pickup clientele.
    2. The Avalanche and therefore the Cadillac clone of it did not have the same credibility or respect from “TRUE” truck buyers. You can’t pretend to be a blue collar guy or a rugged outdoorsman when your truck isn’t seen as being a truck by the truck guys. Again no credibility with the wannabe truck guys. It’s like buying a Raptor. 99% of buyers will never use its potential but you want to convey the image that you can. A poser truck does not sell to a poser buyer or to a real buyer.
    Some of the comments on the Cadillac side of my explanation apply equally to the grill engineered Lincolns.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Lou_BC
      Ford and GM thought they could make an increased profit from these vehicles. Considering I hear that an average of $10 000 profit per pickup is the norm. They probably wanted $20 000 per pickup.

      This hadn’t occurred as the manufacturers anticipated. People are buying fully ‘blinged’ F trucks, Silverado’s, Rams etc.

      My nephew bought on of those Caddy suburban SUV things, sort of like a Tahoe. I couldn’t see the value in what he bought. The quality wasn’t there for the price. No innovation, just bling and Caddy on the vehicle. Wealthy people are more demanding in what they expect from a prestige or luxury vehicle.

      Also luxury and prestige vehicles lead with technology that is passed on down the track to the volume vehicles, like ABS, Stability Control, Traction Control, etc.

      Many of these aids and features in the modern motor vehicle were once the domain of prestige and luxury, now they are not.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The truly wealthy people I know (the Micro Soft Millionaires) drive things like Chrysler mini vans, Dodge Dakotas, F350s, Honda Accords, Nissan Leafs, Panthers, and other mainstream models, though a couple of them have Teslas. Many of those cars are not new either. The truly wealthy would rather invest in something that will give them a return that by a depreciating asset, particularly one that is expensive to purchase, maintain, repair and insure. The people I know with the BMWs and Audis want people to think they are wealthy, but often have little net worth.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Oops left out the Prius owning multi-millionairs. And those Tesla owner’s are also Leaf owners and they made their fortunes in Tech so they were bought as techie toys, not as status symbols.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “The truly wealthy would rather invest in something that will give them a return that by a depreciating asset, particularly one that is expensive to purchase, maintain, repair and insure.”

          This is a meme that’s repeated often but in my experience is simply not true. The truly wealthy buy whatever they damn well please.

          The acquisition and running costs of an $100,000 luxury car doesn’t merit their concern.

          For some reason people like to think that only the wild and woolly “nouveau rich” are the only ones buying high end cars. I guess, in some bizarre way, it helps them identify with the upper crust.

          But from what I see many wealthy people buy these vehicles for the simple reason that they want them. They derive pleasure or joy from it so they purchase it.

          I do agree that the wealthy invest in income producing assets but they’re not mindless automatons spending every waking hour in pursuit of profit. They’ve been known to have some fun and to purchase items that depreciate.

          Have you seen some of their yachts?

          • 0 avatar

            The car-buying habits of the wealthy interest me a lot. What I’ve noticed is: the VERY highest echelon – the zillionaires – buy whatever they damn well please, as you say. But then there’s a silver right below them who bought a Land Cruiser or a Mercedes wagon or a Volvo wagon in 1985, or 1994, and by God they aren’t going to trade it in, even if it means spending the thing’s value in annual maintenance. Then, below them, we’re back to the ‘buy expensive cars’ mindset and that continues for the remainder of wealthy folks.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The people I’m talking about are multimillionaires and they drive the vehicles I listed. These people don’t spend every hour waking hour in the pursuit of profit quite the opposite. These people were millionaires by the time they were 30 something thanks to Microsoft, Amazon.com or by starting their own software company. Now they spend their days following their passions, volunteering for and/or running non-profit organizations, which is how I met them.

            One of them was mentioned in a story here the other day. One will spend a couple of weeks at the world series of poker and allots himself $10K to lose, but often comes home with as much money or more than he took. Yes a lot of the reason for their behavior is that they aren’t “car guys” but they all are nouveau rich.

            Note Bill Gates drove the 80′s Honda Accord that was passed down from his dad until it was something like 15 years old. Warren Buffet used to drive a 10+ year old Town Car. I think he did buy a new one when he heard that they were being discontinued.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @Scoutdude

          Sorry, but those people are not rich. Well off, certainly, but not rich. I grew up with RICH people, and their trustafarian spawn. Rockefellers. Schwabs. Cabots. Beans. People who have been rich for generations, not people who got lucky with their stock options. They drive whatever they damned well please, as Hubcap said, and mostly non-flashy European. E and S Class, 5-series, Saabs, and Volvos, not Ferraris. Nicer SUVs too of course these days. And they all have multiple cars anyway.

          But this is New England. I would imagine that the fly-over state truly rich probably lean more towards American iron. If you see a Town Car in the town I grew up in, it either has Florida plates or is taking someone to the airport or a funeral. NONE of them own anything vaguely resembling a pickup. If you see a pickup in the driveway of one of the big houses on the Foreside, it belongs to the landscapers.

          A net worth of a few million is barely upper middle class these days anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      @Scoutdude

      I see where you’re coming from. When you said truly wealthy I was thinking of the one hundred million plus club.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I disagree that luxury brands failed at pickup trucks. King Ranch or Denali are brands in and of themselves in all of the ways that count.

    Escalade failed at trucks because it’s urban. Lincoln failed at trucks for reasons that are unclear in the shadow of Lincoln also failing at everything else.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    I bought my first new truck back in 74 and never looked back.My idea of ‘luxury’ in a modern truck is air/cruise/and now heated seats for my bad back.I don’t care if it has leather etc,just the 3 things I mentioned and I’m a happy camper.I have seen a few of the luxotrucks and I must admit,I just don’t ‘get it’,but that’s just me.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @ToxicSludge
      What about a diesel?

      I noticed in the US, diesel engined vehicles are more ‘luxury’ or sold as a higher end product.

      Like I was stating perception drives marketing.

      • 0 avatar
        ToxicSludge

        Hi Al,
        The diesel trucks I see on dealers lots are loaded to be sure..However,you can order one ‘not loaded’. Check out this link to see what trim levels the new Ram 1500 diesel will be available in: http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/ecodiesel/
        Of course I don’t expect the dealerships to have the lower trim levels on the lot other then for the old bait and switch game.But as for chevy and ford,you can always order one pretty much the way you want from barea$$ work truck to a total luxobarge.It all depends on what one would want,and be willing to wait for it I suppose.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAF0 – It’d be tough to convince anyone buying basic transportation (Corolla?) to spend around $5,000 on a diesel option. Even if they did like the idea of a diesel. The OEM might still take a loss on it though. VW forces all kinds of gadgetry if you want the TDI, for that reason.

        Luxury car buyers don’t mind as much and luxury OEMs can absorb the cost of a diesel engine and refuse to rebate them.

        But I’d be shocked if Ram will offer the $5,000 VM diesel option on their most basic 1500. They’ll likely force a long bed and tow package, at least.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    It’s amazing how much blatant badge engineering the Detroit Three have gotten away with over the decades, but occasionally they push it so far that it becomes embarassingly obvious to even the most clueless of car buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      No less embarrassing than the original Lexus ES-250 or the first gen Infiniti i30, both examples of shameless badge engineering.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        Except that the ES250 has completely different sheet metal and interior than the 2nd Gen Camry which its based on. Badge engineering? Hardly.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Please expand on this point, what makes it not badge engineered?

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            To be more technical the ES was initally a rebadged JDM Toyota Vista, which was based on the Camry. The next 3 generations were a variant of the Toyota Windom, again based on the Camry.

            I’m guessing the Lexus people got more say in the product as the generations became more successful and outsold the JDM versions.

            Badge engineering is a subjective matter. Usually the argument is bent to whatever conclusion the author would like to reach. Badge engineering is probably being kind to the ES250, but harsh on the later ES models.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            @28Cars- I’m interpreting the definition of “badge engineering” as putting the Lexus logo on a Camry, some wood and leather in the interior, and calling it a day. That’s not what the ES250 was or any ES really. Platform sharing? Absolutely.

            The Infiniti i30 refrenced was more a rebadge job of the Maxima.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I agree the ES was a beautiful car, but it was still thought to be a Camry. At what point is a vehicle a separate entity or merely “badge engineered”? I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer to that question

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            If they don’t share any body panels or sheet metal, along with having a different interior, that is good enough for me. If you can take an Escalade door and make it fit on a Yukon, that’s a rebadge job. An ES door won’t work on a Camry.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You’d be surprised how many ES 250 mechanical bits don’t interchange with the Camry. Is it because the ES was built in Japan?

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            Some might have to do with that. I actually did read there is some differences on the 2VZ-FE on an ES, but don’t remember what they were.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @highdesertcat: The GMC Sierra is a fairly solid seller around here because we have a GMC dealership. In fact, they might even sell more Sierras than Silverados here…though they sell far more Ford F-Series trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, I gathered that, and the same is true in my neck of the woods.

      Although I live in South Central New Mexico, the nearest large city is El Paso in West Texas. Because of the location, weather, and rail heads, the El Paso area serves as a storage and distribution center for trucks of all trim levels. GM has huge distributor lots in the desert.

      When it comes to trucks, our Ford dealer has the upper hand! Ever so often all the car dealers in this area get together and throw a shindig at the fairgrounds (about 26 miles north of where I live).

      It’s impressive! The GM dealer sells all things GM and has all their GM stock there, including GMC, Buick, Caddy, etc, and all of their Toyota stuff as well (since they are also a Toyota dealer for the area).

      The Ford dealer only has Ford and Lincoln on display at the Fairgrounds but they sell more trucks than anything else. That’s pretty much the way it is in NM, TX, OK, CO, AZ, ID, and UT.

      But for a real selection and much better prices many people take it out of town to either El Paso, TX or Albuquerque, NM. That’s where the truly humongous selection is, and much of it all in one place.

      The Buick/GMC dealers in El Paso do a fair amount of retail as well, but not as much as their competing brands like Chevy or Ford.

      A friend of ours bought her Grand Cherokee in ABQ where they had 89 of them in stock, on the lot, at that time. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. You go there, pick the color you want, pick the trim you want in that color, and sit down to deal.

      We bought my wife’s Grand Cherokee near Phoenix, AZ, and they had like 60 or so on the lot, but only one in the weird color my wife liked. I think they call the color Auburn and I think it is recognized as a luxury truck, even without a bed. In price it competes with Mercedes, LR, Volvo, Audi, and BMW.

      The Chevy trucks are the overwhelming favorites of the illegal aliens from south of our border in my area. They love their Chevy trucks, but none of those are the “luxury” variety — just the every day, run of the mill chebbies.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Apparently when old D-series Dodges get tired out and won’t pass inspection, they get shipped south of the border to serve as Mexican work trucks.

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see well-worn Dodges passing through the border gates from time to time.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          We see caravans of cars and trucks pulling other cars and trucks on US Hwy 54 going south to El Paso and into Mexico, on a daily basis, 7 days a week.

          I haven’t seen too many Dodge trucks of any series go South, but I do see a lot of GM products and Chrysler minivans being towed South. Not many Toyondasan products.

          Mexico recently instituted a new law that states they will no longer allow the import of any vehicle over 10 years old.

          So what the Mexicans do instead, is drive the older vehicles they bought in CO, UT, ID, WY, etc, to a border town in TX, strip them of usable parts, and bring the parts back with them into Mexico. That is still legal.

          My long-time subcontractor and foreman is an American-born Mexican citizen who does construction/renovation work for me and all of his people drive Chevy. And that’s how they manage to get parts cheap, as in dirt cheap.

          He told me, Mexicans love their Chevy trucks. His Chevy is a 4-door Silverado which he hopes to trade on a new 2014 model, in El Paso, sometime this year.

          Since he maintains a residence in both El Paso and Ciudad Juarez it is easy enough for him to cross over and bring with him whatever his friends and relatives want from the states, including Chevy truck parts.

          And those caravans do the same all through the border area. If the vehicles are older than ten years, they get stripped and parted out on the US side of the border and the parts ferried across in to Mexico.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Sounds a lot more interesting than where I live, I live in Pennsylvania.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Actually trucks older than 10 years are accepted imports to Mexico. Cars are not. Up till 25 yo, I believe. The trucks you see towing car parts to Mexico aren’t coming back. And it explains why the price of older trucks are so unreal. We could be losing up to a million trucks a year to Mexico. Cars only have a 1 year window.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Mike, I didn’t know that.

            Both Federico, my subcontractor and foreman, and I have been laboring under the impression that all vehicles older than 10 years were verboten for import into Ciudad Juarez, where he lives.

            I’ve been going to junkyards in my area scaring up old parts like AC-low pressure valves, carburetors and the like, which are really hard to come buy at low prices.

            Since most of that old stuff is rebuildable, they’re still much in demand, in Mexico. In a way, Mexico is much like Cuba where old cars still predominate for the less-well-to-do.

            I’ll look into this again with Federico, but I’m pretty sure that when the law went into effect, all vehicles older than 10 years were prohibited from import.

            Things change. Maybe this changed.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @HDC – I just sold a 2001 F-350 Lariat 4X4 Crew to my cousin in Jalisco. Clean truck with nearly 200K miles, diesel, but those things are Gold in Mexico. Absolutely.

            Our US babied, higher-end older trucks are in great demand down there. Their used trucks are beat to death, base strippers.

            A lot of the used car parts you see headed to Mexico could be from later model Super Duties. Stolen.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Mike, back in 2011 I sold my 1988 Silverado to one of Federico’s cousins who lives on his ranch outside of Ciudad Juarez with him.

            He was happier than a pig rolling in sh1t, and as far as I know, he still uses that truck every day, in every way, work, play, whatever, since it is the only ride he and his family have.

            Actually, I think he got a damn good deal because every part that wore out or broke on it I replaced myself with good quality stuff, like the Alternator, Waterpump, fanclutch, blower motor, electrical window motors, seals, gaskets, hoses, brakes, exhaust system, etc etc etc.

            I know I made a friend for life selling him that old Silverado — an oldie but a goodie.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @HDC – I’m sure that was a one sharp and well care for Silverado. And there’s no way he could have found an equal ’88 Siverado in Mexico. Unless it came from “El Otro Lado”

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Mike, it had wear and tear on it since I used it in real work every day, but so does the new owner. Even after I bought my 2006 F150, I still used that Silverado for all sorts of chores, just to keep it running and the seals lubed.

            The new owner is a ranch hand to his cousin Federico, and uses the truck for daily hauling of feed, water and pulling a trailer for construction and fence-mending.

            After work, he takes his family out in it, like crossing the border to El Paso to go shopping at Wal-Mart, Costco, etc. The International border may be well-defined but it is easy to cross over (and stay) in the borderland.

            Federico told me that his cousin received several unsolicited offers on the Silverado but was not willing to sell.

            I would not have cared either way, but there is such a thing as a sense of gratitude my Mexican-born daughter-in-law explained to me about personal transactions, where, if you buy something of value that you treasure from someone at a good price, you don’t sell it for profit so as not to offend the seller who sold it to you for a good price.

            The thing with all vehicles is that if you take care of them, and repair what needs to be repaired when it needs repaired, they usually will run until the wheels fall off, even if you use them hard each and every day.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Goggle Dave Smith Motors. The proclaimed #1 Mopar dealer in the world, and have the GM lines too. They have pretty much taken over the town or Kellogg ID. Virtually every parking lot in town is used for storing their inventory, most of it is trucks. Better yet map it and look around town there are lots all around town stuffed with trucks, trucks and more trucks They used to advertize in the airline magazines saying that they will buy your (1-way) plane ticket there and have a couple shuttle vans to pick you up at the airport. They seem to have dropped advertising the free plain tickets but they still have their free shuttles from Spokane airport and will book you a hotel or help you plan a vacation in the area.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “They used to advertize in the airline magazines saying that they will buy your (1-way) plane ticket there and have a couple shuttle vans to pick you up at the airport.”

          They still do. But if you fail to deal, you’re on your own getting back.

          I helped my son and a lady friend of ours search for their Grand Cherokees in 2012, and DSM was one of the sites we visited.

          Honestly, their out-the-door prices weren’t that much better than Perkins in Colo Sprgs, Viva in El Paso, Mark’s Casa in Albuquerque, or the dealer we bought our GC from near Phoenix, AZ.

          It was cheaper for our lady friend to pay for the gas to go to Albuquerque and deal at Mark’s and bring her supporters (her daughter and my wife) along.

          My son bought his SRT8 at Midway in San Diego, CA. Was it expensive? You bet it was? Did he pay more for exclusivity? You can count on that too. Is he a happy camper? The sh1t-eating grin he’s got on his face would say so.

          Especially when he took me four-wheel drifting on a dirt track in that SRT8 and had me screaming like a little girl.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Was that the place I gave you the link to before discovering that the only way to get the $20K new Wrangler was to be active duty military with a loyalty discount and a leased VW Jetta to trade in? Sorry if they gouged him. I just recall that you were saying JGCs were scarce and Midway had them stacked deep and advertised at 25% off.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I remember, but this was before you linked me to it for a 2014 GC. This was right after we bought our own 2012 GC in Phoenix in Nov 2011.

            My son liked it so well when he saw it that he wanted one also, just gutsier.

            The reason he bought at Midway is because they had exactly what he wanted in stock, at that time, and he contacted them. Since he lives in Orange County, it was just a hop, skip and a jump south of him, right down 405/5 and onto Rosecrans/Midway Drive.

            I used to take him eating oriental foods on Convoy in Kearney Mesa since he was, at one time, stationed at the MCRD and then later at Camp Pendleton. This was repeated when my second son also joined the Corps — way back when.

            I don’t think they “gouged” him. He can afford it. I don’t feel sorry for him at all. He’s a made man. He works for one of the largest banks in Japan, located in Long Beach, CA. And the difference in men and boys IS the price of their toys.

            Besides, the fair market value is exactly what a person is willing to pay for his wants.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            They aren’t mentioning the free plane tickets on their website like the used to. They would buy you two as a friend of mine bought his last Dodge truck there and he took his wife along at their expense. Of course you are paying for those plane tickets wrapped in the purchase price. However if you want to go home with exactly the truck you want they are probably your best bet with how many they stock.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I haven’t been on their site recently since I’m not shopping for anything at the moment.

            But you’re so right about the price of your airplane tickets being wrapped in the sales price and whatever extras they can sell you.

            But as an aside here, I have found the best places to buy Toyota vehicles to be El Paso and Albuquerque; the best place to buy Grand Cherokee is the Phoenix area and from Perkins in Colo Sprgs.

            For some odd reason, everyone I have talked to who bought from those places had a great sales experience. I know that to be true from my own experiences buying in El Paso, TX and the Phoenix, AZ area.

            And when you get right down to the nitty gritty, a person is willing to pay more to get the exact vehicle they want and desire, and this is where a huge inventory comes in real handy.

            Dealers know this, and exploit it. The worst are in the Las Vegas area — at least they used to be. Some of them went belly-up when Obama sh1t-canned Las Vegas during his first term.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Highdesertcat, when I buy new I do want the exact vehicle I want. I’m not going to settle for something that is close if I’m going to lay out 40K, and keep the car for 5 or 6 years. The last new vehicle I bought I didn’t really have any problem getting the exact vehicle I called up the Costco dealer told them the exact vehicle I wanted and a bit later he called back and said he had located it and said he could get it. I went signed the paper work and then went back to pick it up.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Scoutdude, I know what you mean about buying exactly what you want. And that’s a great way to go about it.

            That’s what happened with us when a 2008 Highlander caught my wife’s eye, and in 2011 when a Grand Cherokee caught my wife’s eye.

            With women, vehicle color and styling are probably the one most important things because it projects their self-image to the world.

            And with my wife in the Real Estate business at that time, she used her daily ride to show homes and properties every day to prospective buyers. Racked up some miles, quickly.

            For me, engine displacement rings my bell. The bigger, the better! Everything else is just fluff.

            I used to keep my cars until the wheels fell off, but now I’m too old for all that maintenance and repair and have resolved to trade before the warranty runs out.

            It’s like leasing, except I have equity in it. (I don’t finance, so I save on interest and insurance since I take out the bare minimum on my second and third vehicles, i.e on my 2008 Highlander and 2011 Tundra)

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            When I was younger and poorer I’d take what was a good deal but at this point I’m less poor and willing to spend a little more to get exactly what I want. In they case of the last new car we bought that meant the big engine, class III tow package and best stereo for me, the colors for my wife and rear AC for the kids.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yep, sounds like you’ve got it down.

            When I was a young airman in the US Air Force, and poor, we couldn’t afford to buy new, so we were also stuck buying other people’s problems.

            This was at a time when we needed decent transportation because the Air Force didn’t pay for my moves until I became an E-5 SSgt.

            We didn’t buy our very first brand new car until we bought that ’72 Olds Custom Cruiser to take to Germany with us. It cost like $4800 back then, but I was going to be employed for the next four years so I got the Pentagon Federal Credit Union to carry the note for me. Worked out good.

            I got real good at repairing my cars during the early days of my marriage because we simply didn’t have the money to have somebody else do it. It’s amazing what Chilton can do for a young man’s automotive education.

            Man, we have come a long way since those days of Tuna Casserole and Hamburger Helper every night!

  • avatar
    tentacles

    I have a relevant question for Doug, and it’s something that I have wondered for years: Why isn’t there a Porsche pickup truck?

    Is it because a pickup truck “doesn’t fit with the brand’s identity and DNA”? Because HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    It seems to me that a line of pickup trucks are a perfect fit for Porsche, Audi, and BMW. The majority of Porsches(and probably a plurality of Audis and BMWs) sold in the US are already what would be classified as “light duty pickup trucks”. Pickup trucks are relatively overkill as everyday vehicles, are bought primarily as a status symbol by people with no intention of ever using them for their intended purpose, have truly massive profit margins by virtue of being a product with about $15k worth of technology that people are willing to pay $65k for, and are easily segmented into various market niches and price levels with all manner of arcane badging and alphanumerical nonsense names. In other words they basically share the same business model as any of the German lux marques.

    So set up another line at Spartanburg, bring in some Dana ladder frames and rear ends, do some flame surfacing and voila:

    T3 series: Light truck with a <6ft bed, regular and quad cab. T328i with a turbo 4, T335i Xdrive at the top.

    T5 series: 1/2 ton full size, same engines as the T3 with a T550i Xdrive at the top. T525Li for China.

    T7 series: 3/4 ton HD, T760Li range topper with a crew cab, 8 ft bed and a twin turbo V12 because why not.

    Tell me what you think the appropriate naming scheme for the Audi and Porsche competitors would be.

    Since the people who drive lifted F350s are by and large the same kinds of douchebags who drive German cars, they will never be able to make enough of these things to keep on the lots. "Whoa, you mean I can have a pickup *and* an Audi?" How is this not already reality?

    • 0 avatar

      Haha. Actually I think you’ll find the people who drive F350s are actually an entirely DIFFERENT kind of douchebag than the people who drive German cars.

      • 0 avatar
        tentacles

        Just a reminder that BMW currently has in production six (6) different SUV/Tall wagon type dealies with slightly raised suspensions where the only difference is the shape of the roofline. X1, X3, X5, X6, 3GT, 5GT, and if the auto rags are to believed, an X4 and probably X7 are in the pipeline. That’s not even counting the actual wagons.

        You cannot with a straight face tell me that there is a business case for every single one of these, but not a roundel badged light duty pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        For both you two; many of the F-350 drivers you call douchebags are armed or have no hesitation about using a hand tool for something it was never intentioned. Now play nice.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Oh believe me, it’s easy to tell that the asshole in the lifted F350 with a smoke tune who cuts people off in traffic probably wouldn’t hesitate to pull a gun on people. That’s why I stay very far away from those kind of people. Around here they usually also have at least one Confederate flag on their truck, even though this is Pennsylvania.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @tentacles/Doug DeMuro – funny but true depending on where you live.
    I agree only when it comes to lifted trucks. Most seem to be HD diesels with emissions delete kits, monster lift kits, and big wheels and they turn a perfectly good truck in a completely useless noise maker. These same guys can be seen at 0230 AM post bar closing rollin’ smoke and squealing tires. It is a perfectly logical thing to do with an eighty thousand dollar pickup with twenty thousand worth of mods.

    I’ve never seen a Caddi EXT do that but I’ve seen a few with some outrageously big wheels and spinners. Who puts spinners on a truck in the “Great White North” ? That was funny but I had a good laugh the other day because someone had grafted an EXT nose clip onto a 1999 slant eyed Silverado pickup. They actually did a good job but why.. why?

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Huh, I didn’t know that style nose had a conversion kit…I have seen slightly older GM trucks with the 1st gen Escalade front end put on for a bit of extra flash.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here’s a link to the only true luxury pickup,its over the top.

    No other pickup even come close, and the funny thing is it’s not from Detroit.

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130228/CARREVIEWS/130229780

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Pickup owners just aren’t interested in being yuppies.

    Speaking from Texas, the heartland of the pickup truck, the one sure thing is that that pickup trucks are country. Now there is rich country, poor country and everything in between. There is even urban versus rural country. Goat ropers and some jocks drive pickups. My own oldest son drives a pickup, and he is a former jock out of a well to do suburb.

    Cadillac pickups??? Lincoln pickups?? Surely you jest. That market wants SUV’s. As my wife puts it: “where can I put my stuff in a secure place when I GO SHOPPING?”

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Jimbob457
      Come on, you must have some cowboy yuppies (in Texan juppies:) We have Outback yuppies or wannabes. They generally are from down south, I’m sort of one, but not the yuppie part, I’m not upwardly progressing or young for that matter.

      We don’t call them cowboys here there call jackaroos or rousabouts. A rousabout is more a cowboy supervisor. They don’t use horses much, nowadays mustering cattle is done with helicopters, bikes and quads.

      The cattle are transported on roadtrains, some stations (ranches) larger than many states in the US, the largest one is larger than Switzerland.

      We have utes with an arm that will lock around the head of cattle. What you do is chase them down in the ute (generally a Landcruiser) and the arm is fitted to the bullbar swings down and you catch them. I would love to try it.

      We have B&S Balls around here kids will drive 1 000 miles or more in the Outback to go to one. It’s centred around utes (pickups). The diehards think only V8 Holden and Ford utes are the only vehicles. There have been fights etc over differing views/paradigms on what a real ute is, ie Australian vs Japanese. Some girls will not even date a guy who drives a Japanese ute. I don’t think anyone with a Chinese Great Wall will go to one, if he does he’ll have to park miles away and hitchhike.

      I’ve been to one down the road, they are wild, alcohol indulging parties.

      Maybe TTAC can do an article on one of these events. We also have ute musters, where only utes are allowed in, similar to a B&S ball.

      That’s why I laugh at some of the comments on how loyal the US pickup guys are. We have the same or worse. Here is the link any ‘cowboy or cowgirl’ should read. Then google it, so when you visit Australia you can go to one. The hang over will last for a few days, though.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachelor_and_Spinster_Ball

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        I don’t think Oz has the exact socioeconomic and climatic equivalent of Texas. The operative word is ‘country’. I’ve been to Margs, and it is like New England. I’ve seen the Barossa Valley, and it’s like Austria. Went to Coober Pedy, and it’s like Nevada. Visited Cairns, and it’s still a real frontier and is tropical.

        My wife and I are former Texas yuppies. The closest thing our sort ever gets to a pickup truck is as a third vehicle. Even when living in the country we need to own at least one yuppiemobile to establish our professional bona fides.

        With a luxo Caddy or Lincoln pickup, you are trying to combine two vehicles into one. Real country money isn’t very much interested in this. They have the parking space and the dough for multiple vehicles.

        My Oz relatives aren’t exactly country either – post WWII immigrants from the folded Empire and pre-war Poland. None of them drive utes even though one family owns and operates several large nurseries in Perth. Still, I would love to experience a B&S ball.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I realized about half way thru the comments that I have nothing more to add. However, I can tell you where the blackwoods and escalades are hanging out. I cannot remember if it was here or CC that I saw a blackwood article about a month ago. I do know that I began to see them immediately in the north Houston/Montgomery county area right then. Probably a half dozen in the last month. The latest was yesterday in a car lot.

    I don’t know what kind of bag drives them but bet it’s oil money that bought them.

  • avatar

    I suspect that at least part of the reason for the existence of the Lincoln Mark LT was so Lincoln/Mercury dealers would have a pickup to sell. Dealers like having as many products as possible, so if someone comes in to look at, say, a Navigator, and says they are cross-shopping the F-150, they can be like “hey, we’ve got a truck” – anyone who walks out the door because they don’t offer a product is the loss of not only car sale revenue, but trade-in, finance, service, ect revenue.

    Now that Mercury is gone, a lot of Lincoln franchises have been folded into Ford dealerships, so there’s not as much demand. I suspect the same is probably true for Cadillac – there are probably more Caddy/GMC dealers, so they don’t need 2 luxury trucks.


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