By on December 20, 2016

Ford King Ranch

America loves its trucks, perhaps to an unhealthy degree.

Domestic automakers aren’t complaining, as pickups are among the most profitable vehicles the companies can produce. Compared to cars, trucks are typically easier to manufacture, but fetch a higher price. Tack on costly options and the expensive trim levels the market seems to adore, and you’ve practically printing your own money.

Still, you might be surprised by the percentage of buyers springing for top-end variants of vehicles once loved only by construction companies, public works departments and landscapers.

Ford claims that 71 percent of buyers decided to purchase higher-end variants of its Super Duty pickup last month. General Motors and Fiat Chrysler also admit to growing consumer interest in their ultra-premium trucks.

Thanks to lower gas prices and a drastically improved economy, well-appointed trucks are becoming more popular than ever before. Ford told The Detroit Free Press that the majority of F-250 customers opted for the Lariat ($45,105) or King Ranch ($54,260) before piling on pricey optional equipment. The company anticipated a fairly even split when the new Super Duty when it was launched but Ford’s Truck Group marketing manager, Doug Scott, said executives were “pleasantly surprised” to be wrong.

Similarly, GMC saw 20 percent of its customers drive off with a Denali badges in 2015 and Ram has expanded its premium pickup trims to include the Big Horn, Laramie, Longhorn, Laramie Longhorn, and Limited — spoiling discerning buyers for choice.

“Luxury half tons will continue to sell well and make huge profits,” predicts Mark Williams, editor of PickupTrucks. He says the segment is “definitely getting hotter,” driven by improvements in safety and technology.

Large pickup sales improved 9.3 percent in November, even though industry-wide sales were down.

Premium-priced trucks were incredibly popular during the early days of the new millennium, but swelling fuel costs and the recession obliterated luxury pickup sales. Cadillac saw annual Escalade EXT sales go from 7,967 units in 2007 to 2,423 in 2009. There was also an issue with overzealous automakers trying too hard to capitalize on the luxury image — producing flash in the pan successes like the EXT and utter failures like the Lincoln Blackwood.

“I compare it to someone who wears designer clothes — but with the badge on the inside,” Duncan Aldred, vice president of the GMC brand, said in a 2015 interview with Forbes. “If you’ve got a tailor, you don’t have to go around telling people. These are people who like quality and substance rather than the label — people who believe that if you do a job, do it well. They like quality products whether they’re personal technology or music systems or vehicles, but they don’t want the ostentatious look that comes with some luxury brands. They see it as baggage. They just want the substance.”

Currently, about three-quarters of GMC crew-cab pickups sell as upscale trims costing over $40,000. Naturally, the company added a super premium “Denali Ultimate” version of the Sierra.

[Image: Ford]

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161 Comments on “Buyers Can’t Get Enough Ultra-lux Heavy Duty Trucks...”


  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    For me the biggest failing of luxo-pickups relative to their SUV variants in the realm of comfort/luxury is non-reclining rear seats. The Tundra CrewMax used to have a reclining functionality on the 07-13′ trucks, but as I recall they dropped that functionality with the redesign. Perhaps I’m just unaware of other quad cab pickups with this feature?

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      Ram Megacab rear seats recline.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        Does RAM even offer the mega-cab anymore? They’re kind of a unicorn in these parts. After almost 13 years w/my ’04 Sierra crew cab PU and 3 kids who all rode as a babies in it, I can tell you the cab size is about as perfect as you can get. Not too big, not too small. Never wished for reclining back seats. Apples to oranges comparing an SUV to a crew cab pick-up IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Mega Cab is still offered on the HD models, and AFAIK, they still recline.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “Apples to oranges comparing an SUV to a crew cab pick-up IMHO.”

          Not really, I can definitely see someone cross-shopping a crew-cab halfton against a fullsize SUV as the family road trip vehicle and RV/boat/trailer hauler. When I go camping up in Michigan the default setup seems to be a half-ton pulling a 26 foot travel trailer, with some folks using Tahoes and Suburbans instead. If you’ve got kids out of car seats or adults that need to spend 4+ hours in a back row, one that isn’t bolt upright can make a big difference comfort-wise. I personally lean heavily towards the SUV route because I have dogs I want to keep out of the heat/cold, although having a bed sounds very useful indeed now that I’m a homeowner.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @gtemnykh – I used to have 2 labs and that was one reasons why I liked the F150 SuperCrew. The floor was flat yielding plenty of room for the dogs and kids.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “I personally lean heavily towards the SUV route because I have dogs I want to keep out of the heat/cold,”

            I carried two kids in baby seats and two dogs in the back seat of my crew cab all the time, before we had #3. I can turn the whole thing into a bed(flat floor), 1/3 of it into a flat floor (passenger side)or two thirds of it into a flat floor(drivers side). It’s really quite versatile.

        • 0 avatar
          BigOldChryslers

          “Apples to oranges comparing an SUV to a crew cab pick-up IMHO.”

          I also disagree with this statement. My ideal DD vehicle would be a fullsize SUV with a diesel, but I can’t get one so my current DD and the one before that have been RAM2500’s with the Cummins 5.9 and a cap on the back. (I won’t buy Ford so the Excursion was not considered.)

          Before my Dodge pickups, I owned a GMC fullsize van (SUV-like with full 3-row interior) with the 6.2L diesel. I also spent lots of time driving my dad’s Suburban, also with the 6.2L diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I believe the rear seats recline in Mega Cab Rams

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      gtemnykh,
      You could buy a dual cab pickup and drop a canopy on the back.

      This would give you a large wagon with secure stowage.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Big Al, Dogs would fry in the summer and freeze in the winter unless the cap was insulated and some sort of fan setup was installed.

        Carlson I’d rather keep dogs away from kids, particularly newborns. I also think giving them something to look out of and not being on the floor might mitigate doggy-sickness and the ensuing vomit cleanup. One thing I really like about my 4Runner is the rolldown rear window. Keeps cooped up pooches happy on long drives (or when they are gassy LOL). A Sequoia would give me the fullsize and rolldown window, but I really don’t care much for the second gen trucks and their IRS, bulbous styling, and large thirst. A gen 1 Sequoia would be the sweet spot, but they are getting older now and finding a clean one (namely a rust free Southern example) is a bit of a job.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          It seems a twin turbo V8 diesel 200 Series might work.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            No such thing in the US, 5.7L iForce V8 only. LC200 is actually a bit short on cargo room compared to what I had in mind. The 1G Sequoia sort of straddles the happy medium of sturdy enough for mild offroad adventures and long term durability (just keep salt off the frame), while being built with a more American family hauler mindset to maximize interior room and passenger comfort. I just wish the interior quality was closer to a Land Cruiser than a Tahoe.

  • avatar

    I wonder if part of this has to do with the Section 179 tax deduction. It used to be the “hummer loophole” because large SUV’s qualified, but it’s been rewritten so that vehicles with fewer than 9 interior passenger seats accessible from the inside don’t qualify – but vehicles with 6 feet of cargo space that’s not easily accessible from the inside do.

    https://www.irs.gov/publications/p946/ch02.html#en_US_2013_publink1000107394

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The interesting part of the Section 179 deduction of vehicles is the panel truck exclusion that prevents the NV 2500 from being a qualified vehicle. “That has an integral enclosure fully enclosing the driver compartment and load carrying device, does not have seating rearward of the driver’s seat, and has no body section protruding more than 30 inches ahead of the leading edge of the windshield.” In other words traditional vans qualify but not a panel truck or a Suburban/Expedition w/o rear seats.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Industry video projecting HD pickup truck sales to consumers in 2017:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLts-sXlLEM

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    isn’t the King Ranch like middle of the road now, at least on the 150 line. Last time I checked the Ford Website there were 2 models over it. I don’t need all that stuff, but i drive one when I got my XLT and I did like those seats. You can keep the glass roof and power running boards but hey, if that’s your thing it was a nice rig.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The “base” Super Duty is the U-Haul edition. No retail customer will buy that, even if dealers stocked it.
      You wouldn’t custom-order it either because they list almost as high as something that doesn’t have the interior of a 1979 Fiesta. The Lariat is effectively the entry-level model.

      • 0 avatar
        MrCornfed

        Speaking of U-Haul edition. How different is the ride on a U-Haul pick up versus one of these luxo-trucks?

        I used a GMC something from U-Haul, had only 8,000 miles on it so it wasn’t exactly a beaten down jalopy. I thought it drove horrendously.

        Are people really enjoying the ride of these vehicles, or are the more expensive variants more responsive, smoother and less wallowy?

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @MrCornfed
          Seems to be a growing concern with Grey Nomads who have bought these in Australia, the seeminlgly rough ride

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “Are people really enjoying the ride of these vehicles, or are the more expensive variants more responsive, smoother and less wallowy?”

            “the seeminlgly rough ride”

            Both of you are serious……

            WTF?

            These trucks are meant to carry a load. Put a ton in the box and they ride fine.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Lou_BC
            Do neither here. They pull a Caravan or to a lesser extent or a 5th Wheeler. Age of drivers and their comfort becomes important, especially towing over very long distances

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Both of you are serious……

            WTF?

            These trucks are meant to carry a load. Put a ton in the box and they ride fine.”

            Here we go again Lou. And sorry a 3/4 ton truck is anything but wallowy just the opposite due to how heavy they are sprung. That’s just some bull$hit statement made by a car guy. These luxury HD trucks drive pretty nice for what they are but you can only do so much to hide the fact that your still driving an HD PU.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            In reality “they ain’t trucks no more”.

            They are car and SUV alternatives.

            It is simple see why, look at this article and its content.

            Did you buy your pickup as a truck? No. As you have stated numerous times its to carry your six foot four 5 year old, mutts and boy scouts buddies.

            That doesn’t sound very truckish.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @BARFO – WTF?

            My oldest son just turned 15 and is 5’8″. My 13 yr old son is around 5’6″. I got a full sized truck because small trucks don’t have the cab space for growing boys and 80 lb dogs.
            Oh and I did buy it for its truck attributes.

            This story was about HD pickups. Run along now. I’m sure there will be a small truck post in the near future that you can flame.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            You don’t require a pickup. Five eight and five six will comfortably fit in the back of my midsize pickup.

            A van is more than adequate as is any other mid size SUV/CUV and up.

            Be honest, like most other pickup owners (75%), you bought it because you can. Its a life style vehicle, not a truck.

            Oh, you brought up the F150, not I. I continued on and responded to your comment.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Are people really enjoying the ride of these vehicles, or are the more expensive variants more responsive, smoother and less wallowy?”

          no, they all ride like that empty, it’s just that they’re willing to tolerate the choppy ride for various reasons. Understand that these things have springs for a 9 to 11,000 lb gross vehicle weight, and the 600 or so lbs of unsprung weight out back makes it worse.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            That’s my experience as well. You need to put at least 600 lbs in the bed to smooth-out the ride. Once you do, they ride as well as a Catalina.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            My F150 rides better with 300-500 lbs in the box than it does empty. That fact is amplified in a HD.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @heavy handle – base SuperDuty is the XL. XLT is a pretty common trim but if someone wants leather then they have to start with the Lariat. XLT is the default entry level trim for anyone other than a fleet.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        My local dealer has a special “fleet sales” office across the street from the main dealership and it is full of base “U=Haul” editions. I’m sure they’d sell one to anyone who wanted to buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The XLT is a ~4200 step up in price vs the XL which is the fleet special, or more than a 10% jump.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Lots and lots of XLTs being sold. Many retail buyers want the XL as well, with the new STX package.

        The Superduties are new right now, so Ford and dealers are focused on ensuring the most profitable trims are in solid supply.

        High trim buyers haggle less, while XL intenders are perfectly happy to wait a year or two, in order to get a better deal. While, in the mean time, shopping for lower end trims at more dealing happy GM and Ram dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Ford (IMO) is really over-doing it with trim levels. even on the Fusion there’s S, SE, Titanium, Sport, and Platinum. To me, all the Platinum does is steal potential sales from the MKZ.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Can’t quite put my finger on it, but the moniker “King Ranch” is just embarrassing.

      I certainly am glad I don’t have to squeeze any of these things into a public parking garage.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    How many people actually need these?

    I bet a Volvo V90 Cross Country would fulfill a lot of these buyers’ needs. Rent a truck the day you really need a pickup bed.

    More wagons less trucks (and cars).

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Back to Jalopnik with you!->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Who cares what they need? Need is irrelevant. These are what they want

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      A twin-charged AWD wagon with a 3500lb towing capacity isn’t much of a truck replacement.

      Anyway, I bet many V90 owners could have most of their needs met with a Corolla IM or Versa Note.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “How many people actually need these?”

      No fair; I can’t hate you because of your avatar.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      “How many people actually need these?”

      Watch it…All you need is the bus Comrade.

      And the vehicle you describe starts at 55 grand. One can get a nicely equipped half ton for well south of 40 after all is said and done, though I would expect there is some cash on the hood of the Volvo as well.

      And once again, let me run the math for the “rent a truck crowd”. I utilize my bed in a manner that would be difficult if not impossible without a bed at least monthly. So that is 12 days. I could consolidate some of that, so lets say I cut it to 6, so there is 6 days. But most truck owners I know anyway pull a boat or trailer. I pull a 5k pound travel trailer on a couple week long affairs a year and by my count 10 weekend trips. So we are up to what, like 30 days of renting a truck? Sure I could change my lifestyle but nah.

      So that is around 2500 (pre taxes) bucks a year by my googling of truck rates in truck rental fees all for the privilege of paying 20,000 extra dollars for a vehicle that is less capable and a far worse fit for my lifestyle. And that 2500 is based on a monthly rate. Most use patterns would cost more.

      Sure there are bro dozers out there, but I think you greatly underestimate how even light users of their trucks use their trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Speed3 – how many people “need” a sports car ? or anything other than a transit pass? Just get a taxi when you need to get groceries.

      In my part of the world, renting trucks are expensive. During peak reforestation season or fire season it is highly unlikely you can even find one to rent.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      If you’re gonna argue a “need,” nobody “needs” anything more than a Model T.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Speed3,
      Not many really need “these things”.

      75% are daily drivers and toys. They are because I can vehicles.

      This is good. People can make the same judgment with EVs and hybrids. Considering they are offered similar protection/promotion in the US.

      These vehicles make a mockery of the direction the US wants to head in with its vehicle policy. Its not consistent, one hand heavily subsidised EVs and the other heavily protected humungous pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “These vehicles make a mockery of the direction the US wants to head in with its vehicle policy. Its not consistent, one hand heavily subsidised EVs and the other heavily protected humungous pickups.”

        My GMC HD PU parks right next to my Chevy Volt. It’s the perfect combo. The PU for when I need to haul something or tow. The Volt for everything else.

        I’d say the US has it figured out pretty damn good. EV’s and HD PU’s for everybody!……..LOL

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Carlson Fan,
          WTF?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            What is there to WTF about? People making good salaries buy vehicles that they see fitting their needs. I personally do not see myself ever buying an HD truck, but that is wholly irrelevant to people who do buy them. Same with EVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Carlson Fan,
            WTF?”

            Guess you didn’t figure out I’m having a little fun with you!…LOL

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gtemnykh,
            My comment little to do with what people can afford. People can buy what they want.

            My comment is regarding what appears to inconsistent policy.

            One hand EV and hybrids heavily subsidised and the other HD daily drivers promoted by policy/controls/tax/etc.

            This comment has nothing to do with the hows, whats and whys of individual purchases, only government policy.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I would guess it is often not objective need, but emotional.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I’ll bet the main factors for this success are long financing terms and EZ credit.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      The phuq cares? You’re getting the safest, most comfortable and highest resale vehicle vouchsafed to mortal beings.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Trucks really aren’t particularly safe, especially when you compare trucks to sedans with comparable prices.

        I won’t even touch “most comfortable” but I will say that livery companies don’t use trucks and the the most comfort oriented brands don’t sell pick up trucks.

        Click around this list. Trucks tend to hold their value better, but the Colorado and Tacoma are kings of the roost (and midsize SUVs like the 4Runner and Wrangler are superlative). Heavy duty trucks are particularly ‘high beta’ – when the economy is doing well, they hold on to their value better than CUVs but if the economy tanks and/or gas gets expensive again, there are going to be serious issues.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        And I care because some day the music is going to stop and these dumb loans on these dumb trucks are going to poison some bank and we’re all going to pay to recapitalize it and a lot of jokers are going to get to keep trucks they can’t afford while savers are going to hold the bag of crap.

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          If people weren’t getting themselves into hock for “dumb trucks” it’d be something else dumb.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          “And I care because some day the music is going to stop and these dumb loans on these dumb trucks are going to poison some bank and we’re all going to pay ‘

          I think your getting a little dramatic. I suspect the loans on these expensive trucks are a lower risk for a bank than cars worth 1/2 as much.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      Where I live these luxo-trucks are all being sold with large discounts which suggests to me that they must have enormous markups. The thought of the big discount seems to outweigh the actual payment price.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “I compare it to someone who wears designer clothes — but with the badge on the inside… they don’t want the ostentatious look that comes with some luxury brands”

    That’s interesting coming from the leadership of a company who puts a gigantic red GMC logo on over-the-top chrome grills and labels the luxury variant of their down-home, just-substance work trucks with a bespoke trim so that everyone knows what you bought. “Denali” “King Ranch” “Laramie Limited”? There is as much signalling here as a yuppie in a German sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I’m sure Armani Exchange’s brand managers tell themselves the same thing. “The reason we put 6,000-point ‘AX’ labels all over our clothes is because our customers value understated luxury.”

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    ““I compare it to someone who wears designer clothes — but with the badge on the inside,” Duncan Aldred, vice president of the GMC brand, said in a 2015 interview with Forbes. “If you’ve got a tailor, you don’t have to go around telling people. These are people who like quality and substance rather than the label — people who believe that if you do a job, do it well. They like quality products whether they’re personal technology or music systems or vehicles, but they don’t want the ostentatious look that comes with some luxury brands. They see it as baggage. They just want the substance.”

    In other words, THE EXACT OPPOSITE PHILOSOPHY AS EXPOUNDED BY MELODY LEE, UWE ELLINGHAUS & THEIR CADILLAC EL JEFE, JOHAN :

    fortune.com/2014/11/18/cadillac-brand-director-melody-lee/

    For Cadillac’s brand director, it’s not about the cars
    Caroline Fairchild
    Updated: Nov 18, 2014 12:30 PM UTC

    “But to get more millennials like herself to start thinking about buying a Cadillac as opposed to an Audi or a BMW, Lee isn’t focusing on the cars themselves. Instead, she is putting her energy into changing what the cars represent.

    “We want to be a global luxury brand that happens to sell cars. We don’t want to be an automotive brand,” Lee said in an interview. “There is nothing that exciting about an ad with a car in it by itself. We need to start injecting more humanity into our brand and into our advertising.”

    A large part of Lee’s push to rethink Cadillac’s image is GM’s recent decision to move the brand’s headquarters from Detroit to New York City. Standing in Cadillac’s newly purchased office space on the 16th floor of a building in trendy SoHo with panoramic views of the city, Lee told Fortune that the office will be used a recruiting tool as much as anything else. To become the global luxury brand that Lee wants Cadillac to be, she knows that she needs to attract other great minds to come work for her.”

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cadillacs-director-brand-reputation-strategy-dont-want-automotive-brand/

    “Thus spake Melody Lee:

    “I’ll often say, ‘Well, do you want a millennial’s perspective?’ You have one right here.”

    “Everyone in New York is always just a little bit ahead of everyone else and we need to be the brand that stands for that.”

    “I don’t buy products, I buy brands. I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

    “We want to be a global luxury brand that happens to sell cars. We don’t want to be an automotive brand.”

    Ellinghaus: Cadillac Is a Luxury Brand That Happens to Make Cars
    Marketing Chief: ‘Many People Will Declare Me Nuts’

    By Krishnan M. Anantharaman. Published on December 01, 2014.

    http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/ellinghaus-cadillac-a-luxury-brand-makes-cars/296016/

    “Uwe Ellinghaus doesn’t like to see Cadillac explicitly comparing itself to German luxury competitors in its ads. But he’s determined to see Cadillac adopt the marketing strategies used by those rivals, including his former employer, BMW.
    The results of that drive will show up in April, said the 45-year-old marketing chief, when Cadillac unveils its range-topping CT6 sedan, the first car to carry its new vehicle-naming system, at the New York auto show, along with a revamped strategy that will seek to position Cadillac not just as a car brand, but as a pure luxury brand.
    “Johan de Nysschen, my boss, and I always say we want to build the first luxury brand that just happens to make cars,” Mr. Ellinghaus said in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “That sounds like a joke, but we’re serious about it.”
    The new image will come from a General Motors division that is in transition under Mr. de Nysschen’s leadership, preparing to distance itself from the GM mother ship in Detroit and set up as a new business unit with its own headquarters in New York. After a hot 2013, Cadillac sales have slid this year as higher sticker prices repelled customers, leading to gluts of CTS and ATS sedans on dealer lots.
    ‘Declare me nuts’
    Mr. Ellinghaus, a German who came to Cadillac in January from pen maker Montblanc International after more than a decade at BMW, said he has spent the past 11 months doing “foundational work” to craft an overarching brand theme for Cadillac’s marketing, which he says relied too heavily on product-centric, me-too comparisons.”

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      I’m having a really hard time processing the crap espoused above. Ms. Lee and Mr. Ellignhaus are basically saying is that their strategy will be to put lipstick on a pig. As someone with a solid background in public affairs, I have to ask what value these people add?

      I think GM needs to rethink their entire marketing model. They need to go back to what used to work in the old days – capturing young buyers with value priced products (Chevrolet), move those people up through through the mid range as they age (Buick), and then top them out with Cadillac when they hit their peak earning potential.

      That means taking good care of their customers when they are young, getting them locked in as “GM people” with superior service and flexible terms, and giving them good trade in value as they move up. GM should also seek to use their used cars in much the same way, including anyone who is driving a GM as a part of their “family” and treating them right. It will take time and effort, but it will yield real results over the long term.

      Part of this is instilling a pride of ownership but the bigger part of this is building great products and offering superior service when their products have an issue. It would have to be a system-wide approach, not just more window dressing. If GM was building great cars and had people locked in, their marketing would be easy – all they would need to do is trumpet all the good things they are doing.

      Until GM reaches that rather obvious conclusion however, I guess they are going to need to keep paying shills like this six and maybe even seven figures to keep spouting bullshit and applying that lipstick.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      You know, my blood pressure was doing much better before that post. I’m in my mid-20s and I work in marketing and the ground is littered with 30-somethings who get half their ‘pull’ from the millennial angle, and a bunch of 50-somethings who don’t know they’re getting taken from a ride.

      A 35 year old marketing manager with a 6 figure salary in a relatively inexpensive midwest city isn’t a millennial, and those people do crap work. I work on the quantitative side (marketing measurement and testing) and we had a campaign that probably ‘cost’ us $50 million in revenue that came out of a room which had the blind lead the blind.

      Oh well, you can ignore reality but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality. Cadillac isn’t going to give money back to the shareholders.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Marketing Chief: ‘Many People Will Declare Me Nuts’”

      Deez Nuts perhaps?

  • avatar
    ajla

    My stepfather is trading in his long-running Tundra this week on an HD truck.

    When I went shopping with him, neither of us were that impressed with the “luxury” versions offered. Honestly, I thought the Steakhouse motif on some of them were ridiculous. I still think the mid-level trims are the sweet spot.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I agree with this. Midlevel with optional standalone extras.

      As an example, when I look at the 14-15 Sierra, which is my favorite looking model, I wanted an SLE, cloth seats, 6.2L, auto AWD, with the LED running lights. However, the LEDs were SLT and up, the 6.2L was SLT and up. I dont want leather.

      Anyways. That all said, trucks still have more selectable options than most.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Agreed. My F150 is an XLT with the XTR package. It is pretty nice. My brother-in-law has the Platinum. I don’t see where there is an extra 17k of value in the Platinum.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          XTR package? Ford is using Mazda naming conventions??

          That’s the povo pack (aussie slang for poverty, pronounced “pa’vo (as in “bow”)).

          You want the GT pickup.

          And you paid for this? I like our system better. You pretty much get everything with very few options. Seems a rip off.

          If you think you have too many features you go down a rung, ie, XTR down to XT.

          You guys also need to buy a 4×4 package to make your pickups off road capable. That should be standard.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “I dont want leather.”

        You don’t have kids. I often climb in my truck when I’m filthy. Like a few weeks ago when I was covered from head to toe with fiberglass dust after grinding on the inside hull of an old boat I’m restoring. The crap was all over the seat. No big deal, the leather in my SLT Sierra is easily wiped cleaned.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Carlson Fan,
          I really hope you cleaned and vacuumed your pickup using a hepa filtered vacuum.

          Fibreglass is bad sh!t, especially the dust. I don’t know the exact micron size for the particles to be a health risk.

          If you have kids I would seriously consider having your own vehicle. Wear the applicable PPE and clean yourself prior to going anywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            You missed my point entirely and that’s that leather is a lot easier to keep clean than cloth and actually makes more sense in a truck if your constantly getting into it dirty.

            Know all about the hazards of fiberglass dust and I don’t work around it for a living. Just wiped the drivers seat down with damp rag, good as new.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      In Fordspeak the XL Sport or XLT is where its at IMHO. Anything over the Lariat is silly to me but heck, if you have the means and the desire go for it.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    These are the Fleetwoods and Town Cars of the current age (when fitted with a hard, locking tonneau cover)

    Seats 6, massive trunk, opulent luxury.

    As madanthony pointed out, if you own a business, these are fully deductible as work trucks, whereas a sedan of similar price would not be.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    None of these piled-high accretions of shiny metal is ostentatious unless you put those little orange lights above the windshield.

    Remove the black one, please.

  • avatar
    srh

    The last several times I’ve looked at a pickup, there hasn’t been a big price difference between a mid-sized (e.g. Toyota Tacoma), half-ton (F-150) and full-ton (F-350). By the time you option them equivalently and account for the inevitable $10K incentives on the F-350 there’s the premium for heavy duty over mid-sized is vanishingly small. There’s not even a huge mileage difference.

    So unless you live in a city, not clear why one wouldn’t go with a heavy duty pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Because they suck to drive. The heavy duty rigs have a stiff suspension, sloooow steering ratio, and in the case of the Fords a workhorse 6.2 V8 that drives like a recalcitrant lump compared to the F150’s engines and a 15-year old cabin design. It’s work truck first and foremost and feels it. If you don’t need that capability I can’t imagine wanting one.

      Now, the half-tons are something different entirely. I like the way they drive, and they make a serious argument against the midsizers.

      • 0 avatar

        The GM and the Dodge 3/4 ton’s are not bad. Haven’t driven the newest Ford but the old ones would beat you a bit. The one tons are tough. I would have little issue commuting in a 3/4ton. Back in the day I used to drive them as company trucks alot.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @30-mile fetch
        As in my above post, why should these have such an appalling ride, does not make sense?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Oh may because they are designed to carry a minimum of 3000lbs with many sporting ~5000lb payload capacities.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Scoutdude
            So does a Sprinter based Motorhome, but complaints about the ride and handling, are not issues

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No a Sprinter Motorhome does not have a 5,000 lb payload, the Chassis may have before the body was added. Once all built out they are lucky to have a 1500lb payload. So drive that bare chassis and see how well they ride and handle.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            When loaded near full capacity, my F-550 rides like a 7-series BMW. Empty, it’s a whole other sensation.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Scoutdude
            If it has a GVWR of 11,000lbs and a GCVWR of 15,000lbs for the Class A Sprinter Winnebago, it is much more than 5,000lbs. Taking into consideration that the GVWR is more than the base weight to start with

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ RR one would hope that the GVWR is higher than the base weight otherwise you would have a negative payload.

            How the payload is calculated in the real world: GVWR – Curb Weight. Drive one of those Class C Sprinter motorhomes across the scale and you can bet it will be bumping up against 10,000lbs once all the tanks are full.

            GCWR has nothing what so ever to do with payload, that tells you how big of a trailer you can tow.

            How tow ratings are calculated in the real world

            GCWR – Curb weight – weight of passengers and cargo carried in the vehicle. Of course you have to also make sure that GVWR – curb weight – passengers and cargo still leaves enough for the tongue weight.

            GCWR had nothing to do with payload.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          because they’re sprung for 9,000-14,000 gross vehicle weights, and the unsprung mass is considerable?

          Do you have physics in Australia?

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @JimZ
            Mr Tiny Brain, “9,000-14,000lb” gross vehicle weights” Sprinter has a max of 11,000lb GVWR and has a smooth ride as a Motorhome. Superduties do not.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            I don’t know about physics, but I wish they didn’t have the internet in Australia though.

            But maybe the Aussie Sprinters could have a higher payload on the Moon. Guess we’ll never know.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            @robertryan now log out and log back in as BAFO the Clown

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Big Al From ‘Murica
            Dunces hat really sums you up. Shiny little troll. IT Job going nowhere?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Actually my cup runneth over with the job. I’m still months out from retirement and have multiple offers already. Honestly I’m just waiting to see if the dream job will still be available as they won’t make an offer this far out. I may have problems dude, but finding work isn’t among them.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            You may have heard, people are concerned about getting hacked here. Who knew. I’m guessing from our earlier physics discussion however aviation engineering has not been kind.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Oh yeah, almost forgot…SHOVE IT!!!!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Wasn’t this why there were moderators?

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “Because they suck to drive”

        Yep. My GMC HD rides real nice with about 2500 lbs in the back. But unless you need the towing and/or hauling capability one of these provide your better off with a 1/2 ton. Because they are a beast to DD.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        ” a workhorse 6.2 V8 that drives like a recalcitrant lump compared to the F150’s engines and a 15-year old cabin design.”

        er, the 2017 is new and shares the F-150’s cabin.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          New cabin finally? Perhaps I can be forgiven, since progress there was like watching a glacier advance down a valley. You just assume it more or less is going to be in the same place a year later.

          Is it still plastic fantastic or do you actually get padded door armrests this time?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I guess Ford’s mantra with the vintage-1999 Super Duty cab was, “HEY, IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T BLGHRGHRGH MARSHALL TUCKER BAND!”

            The 2017+ Super Dutys share pretty much all interior pieces with the 2015+ F-150s, including upholstery on the door armrests (so long as that particular trim actually has it available in the first place).

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Are you going to buy one? Probably not, so why do you pretend to care?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Thanks for the laugh, Dr.Z.

            Jim, you’re a grouch and that’s your rote answer to every opinion you don’t like. Get a new schtick, I’m not lobbying Ford, I’m expressing an opinion on an insular comment thread.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      srh,
      3/4 ton and up have been a generation or two behind half ton pickups and 1/2 ton have been a generation plus behind cars. This affects cost.

      I do believe this is changing as pickups become more refined. Simple things like steering racks as opposed to recirculating ball. Suspension and drivetrain, occupant safety, etc.

      This is forcing up the price of pickups.

      As 75% of pickups are daily drivers hauling air in lieu of a SUV/CUV/car you will continue to see pickups evolve at an accelerated rate compared to cars, etc.

      Look at this article. There is a market for plush non working huge daily drivers that might tow every now and then.

      These trucks have a p!ss poor payload for their size, so they are only good for towing. If you have a business and need to constantly move 20000lbs you would buy a truck, so you don’t need to tow.

      How many trucks are plush and used for productive and profitable work? These are toys for those who can afford them.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yeah 7,000lbs is such a piss poor payload for a full size pickup. Show me the truck you can buy down under that can carry that much weight. Look at the Isuzu NPR it can do 7500lbs as delivered but that also has to cover the weight of the body so if you want to carry that much payload you need to move up to the NPR HD and make damn sure you don’t put anything more than the lightest of aluminum flat bed on it.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m a little sadden that “we” don’t like expensive BMWs but do like expensive trucks.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Odd that this article just came up on TTAC. I was just rebuilding my dream truck. 2017 Chevy 2500 4X4, WT Reg Cab,8 ft, box, Diesel, black with, steelies , and a rubber floor. I thought i better add the HD trailer package. Maybe i should add the plow package, for resale ?

    I figure,” out the door”with my employee discount, and our obscene taxes , about $53,000 Loonys.

    Do I need such a vehicle to haul a load of mulch, maybe a few rolls of sod ? No way.. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Do I want one, as I contemplate my 63rd birthday, coming up in two days ?

    I sure do

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ OldManPants…i love the way you think.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m glad people buy these kinds of vehicles.

    I have no interest, no need, and no money for a truck, let alone a premium truck – although I am oddly fond of the F-250 King Ranch.

  • avatar
    Shane Rimmer

    If that malarkey about luxury truck buyers being like people hiding the labels on their designer clothes were even slightly true, they’d sell these trucks with no badges. An F-250 Platinum Ultimate edition is very much a display of wealth.

  • avatar
    319583076

    “Tack on costly options and the expensive trim levels the market seems to adore, and you’ve practically printing your own money.”

    Jesus wept!

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    Oil refineries must look at what people drive vs what they actually need and must figure that they are nowhere near the upper limit of how much they can charge for fuel.

    • 0 avatar
      Turbo Is Black Magic

      Just wait till the Trumpster pisses of OPEC with some moronic tweet… They did it before in 73 and they can do it again…our strategic reserves will only last so long.

  • avatar

    I used to always drive trucks and truck based SUV’s. Haven’t in years. I just took My FIL’s Tundra on a 500 mile road trip. At first it annoyed me because my Volvo is so much more comfortable (ride and seat wise), by the end the huge space and width, and fun of driving a fullsize truck in northern New England made me want a pickup again.

    I keep eyeing used travel trailers on craigslist, that would be my main reason for looking at a HD over a halfton. For daily driving the half’s are better but if you have something to move its nice having the bigger truck. Also if I was buying new the mechanical upgrades and styling would likely push me towards a new 2500 ram, just seems the better value.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Id go HD if I towed more often than not. I pull 5000 pounds with the 2.7TT and the integrated brake controller. It gets like 10 MPG but doesn’t feel over stressed at all. You can tell it is back there for sure. Had I known I’d have gotten a 30 footer I’d have gone with the 3.5 probably though. But I average 22MPG in 17,000 miles so I think it is good as I spend far more time driving it to and from work.

      My neighbor has a HD King Ranch. They don’t drive it except when pulling their 5th wheel. It drives like you would expect a work truck to drive. It feels all over the road and like riding in an ox cart by comparison even with those glorious seats. But if you get a big enough trailer you gotta go big. Theirs is a 3 axle 5th wheel Toy hauler that they toss a couple Harleys in the back of.

  • avatar
    la834

    I find it interesting that the luxury truck market, unlike the luxury car market or even the luxury SUV market, shuns luxury brands. Apparently, Ford truck people would rather have a maxed-out Ford F-150 Platinum Titanium Ultra than any Lincoln (as they found out with slow sales of the Mark LT). Likewise with Chevy truck fans who would take an upscale Silverado over a Buick or Cadillac pickup. I do wonder why this is so.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I don’t know why anyone would think pickups are easier to manufacture than cars.
    Cars start down the line, all with the same exact shell, rarely with much variation in drivetrain and trim levels.

    There has at to be at least a million different combinations of F-150 cabs/beds/engines/trim/options/packages/etc. Or so it seems.

    Every engine takes it’s own specific frame. Every cab has it’s own frame, even if it shares a ‘wheelbase’ with another cab/bed combo. 4wd? Different frame.
    Raptors have their own frames.

    They make it look easy, but it has to be a fully synchronized clusterfuk. When done right, with virtually endless configurations, pickups have to be crazy expensive to build, from a labor/logistics standpoint. It’s only extremely high volume, production figures the make them obscenely profitable. This is why low-volume pickups fail, has nothing to do with chickens.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Where have you heard that 4×4 models have a different frame than 4x2s? That may have been true at one point, but not anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        What’s changed? Traditionally 4X4 frames had welded-in, different brackets to mount the transfer case, & pumpkin and the suspension had lower brackets (welded in) to mount the suspension, up front for the axles to clear the frame and pumpkin to clear the engine, and in for better departure angles, front and rear. They have the same rake (and headlight adjustment), 2wd and 4X4.

        I understand some new midsize, 2wd pickups are high-riders (some are Pre-Runners) to share suspension pieces with 4X4s and possibly the same frame, but the 2wd F-series and GM fullsize twins both have low-riding, or regular 2wds, not high-riders.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No those bracket to hand the transfer case and front axle were never welded in back in the day they were all bolted or riveted in and the holes were there for either set up from the factory.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Ford does not have a different frame for 4×4. They used to have 3 different frames for the 12th Gen 1/2 ton. The HD payload package had its own frame and so did Supercrew with towing. The lower GVW/tow spec trucks had a lighter frame. They cut back to using the same frame in the 6.5 box SC’s with or without HD packages and had a base frame in the lighter trucks. The Raptor has ALWAYS been based upon the F150 frame. IIRC the 13th gen aluminum F150 has the same frame under everything.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Just about–no, scratch that, /every/ farmer I know has at least a 3/4 ton pickup as their “work pickup,” if not one for their “nice pickup” too. Most farmers’ long-distance road trips involve pulling a gooseneck trailer in excess of 10K lbs., so they end up requiring an HD pickup even if they didn’t necessarily want it, and they figure they might as well get the kind of creature comforts they expect in a half-ton.

    Personally, I don’t think I could DD anything heavier than an F-150 HDPP, at least, not unless I was pulling a gooseneck cross-country most of the week. The loaded ride of a 3/4 or one-ton pickup is stiff, but comfortable. Unloaded, you feel every bump in the washboard gravel roads.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    This article makes me think of lemmings.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I really don’t enjoy sharing the road with these behemoths.

  • avatar
    86er

    Lordy lordy lordy – articles about trucks really bring out the social authoritarians.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Judging by the “quality” of this thread, I think you meant the drunkards.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      86er,
      You will find these authoritatian types are the more narrow minded, perception driven ones. This sort of goes against the comment made that these types aren’t trendy brand driven flaunter/posers.

      Many pickup duds are brand fans and Duncan Aldred is talking through his a$$.

      It seems many who drive pickups are screaming “Look at fncking me, I have a huge chrome grille for my little radiator. My RAM, GMC, FORD, etc badges are huge and badass”.

      Read into to logic/excuses/justification they use for owning one. One guy needs one for two labs and two relatively small teenagers. He owns it because he can.

      Why don’t most pockup owners just say “I own a pickup because I can. I WANT one to tow my tiny utility trailer so I don’t scratch the bed. I camp, fish, etc”.

      I own a pickup. 95% of the time it does sweet fnck all, except haul air. I have it because I want one and I can afford to keep it on the road and off road.

      It’s an expensive toy.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    We had our fully loaded 2013 FX4 F150 for almost 3 years and only really used it as a truck a couple of times. The rest of the time it was the wife’s daily driver. It never towed anything or went off road. I’m still not really sure why we bought it. Even though it drove really nice and was quite comfortable we just traded it a couple of weeks ago because the wife finally got tired of driving and parking such a beast.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    “I compare it to someone who wears designer clothes — but with the badge on the inside,” Duncan Aldred, vice president of the GMC brand, said in a 2015 interview with Forbes. “If you’ve got a tailor, you don’t have to go around telling people. These are people who like quality and substance rather than the label — people who believe that if you do a job, do it well. They like quality products whether they’re personal technology or music systems or vehicles, but they don’t want the ostentatious look that comes with some luxury brands. They see it as baggage. They just want the substance.”

    I am amazed dude was able to say this with a straight face. Yes, buyers of “HORSE COCK REAGAN INTERNATIONAL RANCH EDITION F-250 WITH CHROME TASSLE PACKAGE” don’t want anything ostentatious or flashy lmao.

    RRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    I guess I’m bucking the trend. Just sold my 2000 Super Duty extended cab V10 4×4 XLT & bought a 2016 Ram 2500 crew cab 6.4L Hemi 4×4 Tradesman. I did not want (or want to PAY FOR) all the extra trimmings. My 2013 Ford Edge Limited had every bell & whistle available… I found most of it an annoyance, rather than an asset.

    Did I NEED a 3/4 ton pickup? No… I originally bought one for trailering my Cobra (Shelby replica). When it came time to replace the super duty, I found I could get a better deal on the 3/4 tons than the 1/2 tons, as most of the 1/2 tons were VERY heavily optioned. the discounts were better on the 3/4 tons as well. I got the base trim level with a few well-chosen options… and kept the sales price just a hair over $35k. Yes… the (unloaded) ride is a bit on the stiff side… but I don’t mind. If I want that “boulevard ride”, I’ll drive the Grand Marquis. No, it’s not a Prius… but I’ve gotten 18-19 mpg on the highway… pretty darned good for a truck weighing north of 7000 lbs… and my 100 lb dog likes the added room of the crew cab.

    It may look like a contractor’s truck… I’m fine with that… I don’t let others dictate my vehicle choices. To each his own…

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree so what if it looks like a fleet vehicle it is a truck after all and as long as it does the job you want it to then that is all that matters.

      Personally my pickup is almost as base of an XL as you can get it just has cruise control and AC. I must admit I would be happy if it had the power windows and door locks, it is a long reach from the driver’s seat to unlock the passenger side.

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