By on February 16, 2018

2018 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate Black Edition

We did it! Thanks to the modern obsession with larger vehicles and opulence, domestic luxury brands are taking off like a rocket. It’s going so well, in fact, that American automakers are starting to steal market share from high-end import manufacturers. Of course, this is only applicable to SUV and crossover sales.

As you know, sedan sales are losing ground to their high-riding counterparts. While this hasn’t resulted in the obliteration of the passenger car market, despite claims to the contrary, those vehicles are being massacred by wayward consumers. Sedans are becoming passé and this has allowed sport utility and crossover vehicles to amass a significant portion of the pie.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the luxury market. The rapid growth of the luxury truck segment has substantially increased the United States’ share of domestic models sold with an average transaction price of $60,000 or more. Apparently, the inarguably phenomenal Mercedes-Benz S-Class doesn’t have jack squat on the GMC Yukon Denali.

Suck it, cars. 

Obviously, we don’t truly believe that. Even with SUV sales blasting off into the stratosphere, sedans are coming off an absolutely massive share of domestic light vehicle sales. Even if they were to decline in popularity at their current rate, it would take many years before they became an insignificant portion of the market. We don’t want to be cocky about this, either. Look what’s happened to the minivan segment.

The fact remains that Americans are abandoning family sedans and small cars for sport utility vehicles and trucks. The New York Times estimates that, last month, two of every three new vehicles sold were classified as trucks — either SUVs, crossovers, pickups, or minivans. The trend isn’t exclusive to mainstream nameplates. Luxury brands have been scrambling to flesh out their lineups to account for the shift in preference and domestic manufacturers have done an incredible job.

GMC accounted for 11.3 percent of domestic sales for models with an average price of $60,000 or more in 2017, according to data from Edmunds. Five years earlier, the brand made up a mere 0.1 percent of those sales. Ford and Chevrolet witnessed similar, albeit more modest, increases driven by ultra-premium truck and SUV sales. However, both started with their feet a little deeper in the market.

Meanwhile, the share of the U.S. over-$60,000 club inhabited by Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Jaguar and Cadillac actually shrank by a considerable margin in the same timeframe. Established luxury brands are now losing ground to mainstream automakers in the premium segments. Hell, Ford will sell you a pickup that costs roughly $100,000 now. What a time to be alive!

“We are seeing it,” said Tom Libby, an industry analyst for IHS Markit. “There is movement from luxury cars to luxury trucks.”

It makes sense for automakers to push SUVs as hard as possible, too. They can charge more for them, and the profit margins are far better than that of sedans. In fact, certain cars even lose automakers money. General Motors reportedly loses around $9,000 on every Chevrolet Bolt it sells. While that’s a pretty extreme example (but weirdly common among electric cars), sedans just aren’t making the kind of fast cash that trucks are.

General Motors outlined its plan to produce even more pricey Denali variants for GMC at a recent investor conference. The company highlighted data indicating that the Denali line had an average sale price of $56,000, which is far more than the average transaction price for any of the German luxury brands that aren’t Porsche.

“This thing is a money machine,” said GM president Dan Ammann.

He’s not wrong. Domestic automakers make tens of thousands of dollars on a single well-optioned truck or SUV, and they’re going to milk them for every dime. Ford only started production on the fourth generation of the Expedition, along with the Lincoln Navigator, in September of last year. It has decided to build 25 percent more this year than originally planned.

At the same time, luxury sedan volume is shrinking. These models held roughly 7.5 percent of the total domestic market in in 2013, but that number slipped to 5.4 in 2017. But manufacturers can load up a fairly basic truck with all the trimmings and it suddenly becomes irresistible. Currently, over half of all F-Series sales come from Lariat, King Ranch and Raptor models. That’s up from one-third just four years ago. Meanwhile, Denali editions now account for 29 percent of all GMC’s sales.

[Image: General Motors]

 

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153 Comments on “Domestic Luxury Trucks Now Usurping Germany’s Market Share of Premium Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    The modern ultra premium large truck market is nothing more than a rehash of a market that has always been there in N. America. People like the full size, Body on Frame, High torque powerplants in smooth riding land yachts.

    These trucks are the Imperials, Caprices, Devilles, Roadmasters, Continentals, New Yorkers, and LTDs for today. The only thing that’s missing is a Ram tungsten Edition with Brougham package and Continental / Opera Light Kit.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    One wonders if this isn’t partially related to the fact that high-$$ cars are fragile and expensive to run, but American SUVs generally aren’t, and have pretty great resale value to boot. Also, in many parts of the country, someone with a $65k BMW or Mercedes is an a-hole but a $75k Yukon Denali is an Everyman.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      There’s no doubt that fragility plays a role in the diminishing demand for luxury sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      S2k Chris,
      I think it’s a combination, of buying a familiar local brand as well as pricing. Bang for you buck so to speak at the expense of some quality.

      The US SUV is a huge money earner for the Big US manufacturers. The US SUV is an extension and platform share with pickups which receive a huge leg up in protection in the US market, so lots of development costs has been removed from the cost of developing the SUVs.

      You can why the Big Three and UAW want to keep things as they are.

      As an aside you can see how GM is trouncing Ford with the large vehicles. The F Series might sell more than the others, but when you add in the platform sharing SUVs GM is having a field day compared to Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      In my part of the world you have to drive 6 hours to get to the closest BMW or Mercedes dealership. GM dealerships dot the landscape. I do believe that sort of presence plays a huge roll in sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Lou,
        The same in Australia, except it’s Toyota that reigns in the Outback.

        Canada, like Australia and to a marginally less degree the US are urban worlds, where most people have access to a lot more than the people in the bush.

        So, the numbers are not as large as we think.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I was looking at Mercedes stuff yesterday and an ordered C43 Coupe with the AMG exhaust, red paint, black seat belts, and nothing else is $59K. It looks like I could get it for around $53.5K.

      I would way rather own that car over a Yukon, but after an 8 year ownership period the C-class will be worth scrap and will have likely have gashed me a few times with high-dollar repairs.

      That’s probably not going to be an issue for someone with a $59K Silverado.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        OTOH, my conversations with friends who buy $70K cars go something like this:

        Friend: What do you think of the Auschwitz A3CP0?

        Me: A customer of mine had a 2009. It would have cost so much to make it pass state inspection with 101K miles that he sold it to the junkyard for $200, and the only reason he got that much was because he put a thousand dollar set of tires on it two weeks earlier.

        Friend: Who cars about old ones? I’ll have something else in no more than three years.

        The force behind luxury trucks is Section 179 of the IRS code. Many people buying $80K Ford pickups couldn’t afford $60K throwaway luxury cars if they wanted them.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The US SUVs are beating the Europeans on pricing and “supersizing” at the expense of quality.

    EU SUVs are generally built ground up to be the vehicle they are, which costs more as the platform aren’t shared.

    The US on the other hand, uses a hugely protected platform as the basis for most of it’s SUVs, the $20 000 pickup. Lots of protected and subsidised developement goes into the large US SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      You can argue about the quality though. Euro SUVs are designed for better handling, but Americans in their wide open spaces generally don’t care. American trucks and BOF SUVs are designed for durability, and the lower costs due to platform sharing are a bonus. Spending a lot of money developing a unique platform that customers don’t care about is not a feather in the Euro cap.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        S2k,
        It’s not just the Europeans. Toyota, Nissan and even Mitsubishi have specific SUV 4×4 (with 4 low) platforms.

        In the US even the new Armada was “cheapened and reduced” to suit the US market because the Patrol we have are too expensive. Look at the Landcruiser wagons, same.

        The reality is the US market is large SUVs. As Lou pointed out above this is driven largely by CAFE, Chicken Tax and differing standards. This protects the US large vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          To be fair, the LandCruiser 200 in the US is most definitely not a “cheapened” one, conversely it’s one with all the gingerbread and the big 3UR (5.7L “iForce” V8) gas motor. Elsewhere smaller displacement gas (1UZ, 2UR) and diesels are the norm, with only the LX570 getting the 5.7L gas engine.

          It is a shame that we don’t get an Armada with the optional rear locking diff, with the independent rear suspension it really needs it IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      shane_the_ee

      What do you mean by “quality”? I’ve got a deposit down on an Expedition Max order. MSRP is ~$70k. I cross shopped the Discovery and the GLS. Sure, the materials in the GLS is light years ahead of the Expedition. But I have every expectation that I can get the Expedition to 20 years and 200k miles. I had every expectation that getting the GLS and/or the Discovery to the 20 year/200k mile mark was going to be an expensive undertaking. And this is coming from a guy who’s cheapest (and best!) car ever was a Jaguar XJ X308 purchased as a 12 year old used car. Now the Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser Prado are a different story. But you said “European” not “Toyota”.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Expedition? WTF?

        It’s Chinese inside looking at the quality of materials and standard of the fit and finish. It handle like a piece of sh!t on anything but a smooth road.

        I had a 2016-17 model for over 6 months and I’m hoping the new Expedition is far, far better to even consider as a daily driver.

        • 0 avatar
          shane_the_ee

          You seem to be defining quality as “does it look like money? And how’s it handle?” And if that’s your definition, then, sure, the big American SUVs are crap and the Europeans are awesome. And I’m ok with that. But I think of “quality” as “how well is this thing going to hold up over the next 20 years? Is all sorts of expensive stuff just going to break because the manufacturer expected it to be used by some soccer mom over a 36mo lease and I’m trying to use it like a truck?”

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            “But I think of “quality” as “how well is this thing going to hold up over the next 20 years?”

            In that case you may as well buy a Corolla. I see plenty of ’90s-era Corollas rolling around. Not so many ’98 Navigators, though.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            His definitions change every time someone pokes holes in his ridiculous ramblings.

            “Oh I didn’t mean THAT, despite that its exactly what I said. I meant this other, totally different thing and so I’m still right and if you don’t think so, I’ll change it again until I am.”

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            ” I see plenty of ’90s-era Corollas rolling around. Not so many ’98 Navigators, though.”

            Since they sold *exactly* the same amount of each, that is a very reliable metric from which to judge. Excellent reasoning, sir.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          The new one is far, far better. It’s not even close. At least by driving dynamics, comfort, “tech” and contempt bling standards.

          Not so sure about ultimate longevity and cost of ownership. But the guys who make the luxobadge peddlers money, aren’t the 20/200, haggle-’till-they’re-blue-in-the-face-then-walk-out crew.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I was going to say, the new Expedition and the old one are worlds apart. I agree that the old ones had really ghastly interiors for the class. It was very much a “buy by the pound” sort of truck. A lot of room and capability as far as people and cargo carrying goes for the real world transaction prices that they went for.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      High quality SUVs like Ranger Rovers, MLs, VWs? LOL

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Just one oil shock away from oblivion, and their manufacturers haven’t been in any rush to provide an electric option.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Whatnext,
      I had a 3.5 EcoThirst for half a year and it sucked some fuel. I do believe the US manufacturers will get burnt ….. again like they did in the 70s. The US manufacturers are way to reliant on large vehicle manufacture.

      But, they are not as competitive at anything else overall. So, they are stuck with current controls and regulations propping a Jurassic Park.

      I can see the day when imports again will flood the US market.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      Not so sure high gas prices will kill the market.
      F150 with the 2.7T? 23 MPG.

      And if you have $65,000 for a truck, the diff between $2.50 /gallon and 3.50 wont kill you. If you think back, you ll find, it does stay above 3.25 or so for long. (prices in flyover country)

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        redapple,
        They don’t get those miles per gallon.

        Be real.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I don’t get this. I have right at 40k on my 2015 and I’m sitting right at 23 mpg over the lifetime. I was around 22 but having moved my commute got a little easier fuel economy wise. I rarely see the 26 or whatever the EPA claim was but 23 is solid for these. I’ve spent some time with the 3.5 and yes, it is thirstier. Also, if you work them hard often yes, mpg will suffer. I don’t mean mulch in the bed or anything like that, but when I pull my 30 foot travel trailer I’m around 8-12. It does it and I never feel the truck is overmatched, but if I did it often I’d have gone with more motor but it works if you don’t want to buy a dedicated tow rig. Multiple vehicles don’t work for me right now so it is a great compromise and it is really comfy to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Nobody is getting 23mpg out of those trucks in the real world, unless all they do is slow highway-only driving. And 23mpg is still TERRIBLE. I don’t consider my cars to be particularly economical, but the worst of them gets 30 in my real world driving. Yeah, my truck gets 18, but I don’t commute in it.

        Though I don’t disagree that those who can afford the $65K versions will care. I feel for the dopes stretching the budget to buy the heavily discounted $40K version though. Those are the people who cry when gas doubles in price.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I commute in a pair of vehicles that get between 18 and 21 mpg, and pay about $200/month in gas between commuting and other driving. If gas literally doubled in cost certainly I wouldn’t like that, but it wouldn’t at all be ruinous or “hurt” me in any way. Both are older vehicles that don’t need comprehensive insurance coverage, were bought for less than $10k in sum, and are at the bottom of their depreciation curves. My cost of ownership is so low in other respects that the fuel bill really doesn’t sting. I used to really care about MPG, and it’s kind of a good feeling to fill up and crunch the numbers and see you got a good tank, especially in a high-MPG car, but practically speaking it’s only one part of ownership costs, and on a newer high-depreciating vehicle, not that big of one anyways.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      We can’t live our daily lives constantly worrying about the next oil-shock.

      Besides, the US is now pumping more the 10million barrels of crude a day, much of it exported.

      In many parts of America electric is not an option because of range anxiety and charging stations being few and far between. If electric works for someone, great! If not, let them buy whatever works for them.

      Millions of Americans will never be a candidate for electric, but they still need/want a pickup truck or Suburban-sized vehicle. I say, go head-on!

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        The domestics didn’t live their lives constantly worrying about the next oil shock before the last oil shock, either. When that oil shock coincided with a market downturn, one of the domestics went bankrupt, one only avoided bankruptcy thanks to hefty government subsidy, and the other ended up being a subsidiary of a company that makes bug-eyed microcars that break every mile and a half. As I recall, Honda and Toyota didn’t suffer the same fate.

        BTW, oil is a global commodity. If oil spikes to $180 a gallon around the world, ExxonMobil isn’t going to keep selling it for $70 in the US just because it came from Texas.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        HDC,
        It isn’t about YOU. You seem to write every comment about you.

        This is about the industry.

        The most popular vehicles in the US are not popular elsewhere (in general). If someone outside of the US buys a large vehicle they expect something a bit better than an average product.

        As interiors go I do give credit to FCA. I do believe the Ram and even my sister’s JGC have half decent interior equivalent to the Korean stuff we have (from Korea).

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Who cares if the most popular vehicles in the US are not popular elsewhere (in general)?

          It should be crystal clear to even the most ignorant among us that in the US the only thing that matters to the buyers is that they obtain the vehicles that match their wants and needs.

          Who gives a schit about the industry? As long as the industry accommodates the buyers by offering whatever the buyers want.

          And people outside of the US really don’t matter to people inside the US. Different needs for different people.

          People buy what they can afford, trim wise, interior wise.

          People who buy these trucks and luxury SUVs don’t give a rat’s @ss about the price of gas. Oil is plentyful. Bountiful. And will be so for at least the next two hundred years.

          I do hope that President Trump will relax FE and mpg mandates so we can see those big V8s make a comeback, maybe even with twin blowers on them.

          What a match! Big trucks and luxury BIG SUVs with engines to match.

          When I spend MY money, you’re damn right it is all about ME! And I bet most Americans feel that way too. Else they wouldn’t be buying trucks and Escalades like there is no tomorrow.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            “Who cares if the most popular vehicles in the US are not popular elsewhere (in general)?”

            If they’re smart, the companies that make those vehicles. If you’re curious why, just ask (Fiat) Chrysler.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Astigmatism, read BAFO’s comment where he posed the question in different context than you understood my reply.

            My philosophy is different markets, different vehicles. Like different strokes for different folks.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @HDC

            It’s all fine and good until the music stops. And the music ALWAYS stops. The economy is cyclical. Keeping a balanced portfolio is important. Just 10 years ago you couldn’t give these things away.

            In general, today it just costs too much to do completely different vehicles for different markets. Right now, full-size pickups are the exception to that rule – because people are dumb enough to pay $60K+ for $30K vehicles with some shiny tinsel. But I would not put all my bets on that staying the case forever.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            krhodes1, I agree that nothing is forever so my philosophy is to enjoy it while we can.

            Economy-wise, during the past administration America was forced to live a life of false austerity and self-denial.

            And if We, The People didn’t self-deny ourselves, that administration would redistribute America’s wealth for us, taking from the people who worked for it, and give it to the free-loaders and perpetual gov’t teat suckers who never worked a day in their lives from cradle to grave.

            This current over-indulgence in materialism is a natural knee-jerk reaction to experiencing sudden freedom to be able to buy outrageously expensive and over-the-top things because they can.

            Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, Free at last to spend our money the way we want to and not have Uncle Sam give it to some libby lefty economic parasite.

            As for myself, I cringe at the fact that our 2016 Sequoia had an MSRP over $67K. Clearly the most expensive vehicle we’ve ever owned.

            I would never pay that much for a rapidly depreciating asset like a vehicle. Not even my work-a-day Tundra pickup truck.

            Fortunately, I didn’t have to pay for the Sequoia.

            And if the music stops and the economy collapses, we each have to deal with that on our own terms.

            One thing though. People with money rarely are affected by economic downturn. They were living Large while most Americans were feeling the constrictions of the previous inept administration.

            Joe Sixpack and Sally Homemaker will be the ones hurting. But then, they are forced to buy within their means anyway. Even now.

            And that usually does not include gas-hog luxury SUVs and over-the-top pickup trucks.

            But things have changed in America since Nov 8, 2016. Lord have mercy, how things have changed!

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @KRH – It’s the same thing with a BMW. In the $30K’s for vinyl, 16″ wheels, CD/AMFM but then double that for the same unibody car on “the other end”, just with upgrade gadgetry and stuff snapped, screwed or bolted in place.

            The “luxury” pickup also added Hi/Lo 4wd and crew cab, over the basic truck. Not huge deal but base crew cab 4X4s starts around $40K before rebates. While a decent value to start, there’s also nearly unmatched “resale”.

            Try that with a BMW, Mercedes, etc. With medium to high miles? Can you say scrap value?

            So who’s the real dummies?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            DenverMike, Domestic Luxury Trucks differ only in trim and gadgetry from their lower sibs.

            Case in point, the eternal (or infernal) Suburban. Dress it up, call it by some fancy schmancy name, and painlessly make another 20-30 grand in extra profit.

            It’s obscene. And only important to buyers who need to make a social statement for their appearance and image they wish to project.

            I was never attracted to German Luxury brands but that was primarily because I didn’t have the money back then to afford them. For some buyers, image was all that matters. And if they had the money, why not?

            Now that I do have the money to spend on expensive vehicles, I find that my tastes still run toward practicality in my wants and needs.

            So, today my wants and needs are satisfied with a 2016 Sequoia and a 1989 Camry V6.

            But I have to confess that another Tundra 4-dr 4X4 is not repulsive. Maybe even one of those Luxo-barge versions priced well over $50K. Nice!

            No plans to buy one though. We may go to Baja, Old Mexico for a few months in the Spring, and then that new truck would just be sitting in the desert, baking in the sun, like my 2016 Tundra did.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @HighDesertCat – Why won’t you be taking the new Turdra to old Mexico with you to show off? I’ll bet the locals would be really impressed… Just kidding!

            Funny what a different world old Mexico is. But the Suburban used to be a Silverado byproduct just a couple decades ago. And now? Bring lots more cash to buy, forget about 20 to 25% in rebates like what you expect for Silverado/Sierras, and take a huge hit in depreciation, vs its pickup brothers.

            Although Big 3, fullsize pickups take a lot of heat in the public eye for their obscene total profitability, especially on the high end, while German luxury cars quietly rake in just as much capital (per high end “line” of cars, 3-series, S-class, etc.) while only having to put out a tiny fraction of total (unibody) units, vs American fullsize pickup makers having to put in long hours assembling BOF trucks, with virtually endless combinations of engine, body, frame, trim, options, packages, etc, etc.

            Then ask for up to 25% off sticker on a new BMW/Merc/Audi/Lexus and watch them giggle their A$$ OFF!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            DenverMike, I know you’re kiddin’. But it is a very good question that I have been asked before, both on ttac and in real life.

            The short answer is that we have or rent transportation at the destination we go to. In Ensenada my two brothers who live there now full-time, have a driver and a Suburban at their disposal 24/7 as part of the Villa complex they own (bought into).

            When we went to Vancouver, BC, my brother-in-law had his Canadian-registered vehicles there, plus my wife and I traveled in my 2016 Tundra to Fallbrook, CA, where the Motorhome was parked we used to drive up to my sister’s house in Seattle, WA.

            Of course, that trip with the Tundra resulted in me losing my 2016 Tundra since my grandson fell in love with it, and is paying me $500 a month until the entire $39K is paid for, interest-free.

            He hasn’t missed a payment yet.

            But yes, we always keep transportation at our destination in mind. While in Israel we had my other sister’s M-Class to use, although we never went anywhere by ourselves.

            And while in Germany, Holland, and Portugal, we rented an Opel Safira from a used car dealer in Zeist who was related through marriage to my German side of the family.

            So transportation at our destination is always considered before we go. And at most places we go Taxi service and Public transporation, like light rail, busses is also excellent, and we don’t have to worry about finding a parking place.

    • 0 avatar
      shane_the_ee

      What oil shock do you envision that would be deeper/longer than the frackers here in the US would be able to keep up with? Iran nuking the Saudi Arabian oil fields, is about the only thing I can think of… This isn’t the 1970s awhere our only response to OPEC cuts is to go begging, cash in hand…

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      People dropping eight or a hundred large on a vehicle don’t care much about gas prices.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Freedmike,
        You are forgetting these are pickup truck derivatives. If pickups are affected so are these.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Most Americans don’t care about the price of gas. They just keep buying it no matter what it costs. It’s like an addiction. Can’t do without it.

        And why not? An American envisions a lifestyle they want to maintain, and adjust their income to it. Some people like cars and trucks. Others like airplanes. Others like boats, Some can afford all of them.

        Most of these toys have gasoline in common, to make them go. And America has the resources. Why not use them?

        Why do some looney lefty libby green weenies think they can force their warped and obscene agenda on the rest of American society?

        Dudes and dudettes, you only pass this way once. Don’t deny yourselves the pleasure of the luxuries of life you can afford. Ain’t never seen a Hearse with a U-Haul behind it.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          highdesertcat,
          I call your comment regarding the price of fuel and the impact on vehicle choice in the US, pure BS.

          It is proven vehicle choice alters according to the price of fuel, not just in the US, but any country.

          As for the vehicle bought. It isn’t just an “American” thing to own pickups and SUVs/CUVs.

          It seems to be a human thing. Just look at data outside of the US and you will see a huge increase in pickups and SUV sales.

          The biggest influence is affluence, regulations and controls (government interference) that has a large influence on vehicle makeup. Then supporting infrastructure.

          The US vehicle market would look different if market altering regulations, tariffs, subsidies, handouts, energy protection, and on and on existed.

          The problem is I now see the US vehicle market/manufacture of large vehicles moving closer to a large reduction. And nothing is in place to accommodate this change.

          At the moment the US manufacturers to their credit are making a great profit from large SUVs and pickups. But, be real and look at the direct and indirect government support there is for these products.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            You can call it what you want.

            Americans choose to live their lives their way, because they can, and without consideration whether you approve or not.

            I sure hope that the current administration seizes this opportunity to change a bunch of things and push the green-weenie fruitcakes to the sides.

            All too soon these current good times will end and the loonies will be in charge again.

            Making money is what it is all about in the real world! And I am ecstatic that the OEMs are making money.

            So, if people choose to buy these extravagant vehicles, I wish them well.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Highdesertcat, if you think these are good times you need to have your meds adjusted.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            krhodes1, I respect the fact that these are not good times for all, just like during the last administration many like me were really hurting, and seeing benefits we pay for, like Medicare and Military Pharmacy services, erode.

            I didn’t vote for Trump but I can see for myself the miraculous transformation for the better that has taken place in America since his election.

            More people working, Stock Market/annuities thriving, cut in tax withholding, wages rising, investment by more foreigners in America creating new jobs for Americans, money held overseas returning to the US, stricter immigration control with people actually being declared persona non-grata and deported….

            Hell, the list is long and goes on, and there will be more to come as long as Trump remains in office.

            But nothing lasts forever, so at some point all this will be reversed and revert back to the lawlessness and malaise that preceded the Trump administration.

            One of the top accomplishments in MY mind for Trump has got to be the energy generation and utilization of resources. America is right up there as a producer, xporting much of it in oil and oil products.

            Kaaaaahccchhhhhingggggg!

    • 0 avatar
      shane_the_ee

      And I’ll also add, that it’s pretty shocking how good the gas mileage has gotten on these things. I’m replacing an XJ Cherokee with an Expedition Max. The Expedition has ~twice the horsepower and torque of my old Jeep, weighs 1500lbs more, has 3000lbs more towing capacity and more room behind the third row than the Jeep has behind its 2nd row. And, yet, the Max is going to use *less* fuel than my old Jeep. (16/21/18 vs 14/18/15).

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Now imagine how much better the Expedition would be without being saddled with that extra 1500 pounds of blubber.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          The Yank Tanks of the sixties and seventies had those wonderful Land Yacht rides precisely because of all that heft, that blubber you refer to.

          They weren’t much for handling like todays tin cans, but for an Interstate Cruiser nothing beats weight displacement.

          The only vehicle that comes close to our ‘92 Towncar for Interstate cruising is our 2016 Sequoia.

          Don’t believe it? Rent a Sequoia and take it on a 5000 mile trip!

          We rented a 2016 Expedition EL Limited last year for an extended trip, and put over 3500 miles on it. Great ride. Came close to our Sequoia in ride and handling characteristics.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ya, GM only has the Spark, Sonic, Cruze, Bolt, Volt, Malibu hybrid. Unlike in 2007 they could pivot very quickly to meet a new demand in the market.

      The one automaker that has their @$$ swinging in the wind if there was an oil shock is FCA.

      Oh, and short of World War III, there is nothing, zero, zilch, that would cause an oil shock. Prices are already back in decline because US producers are turning on those 3000 wellheads that were off. US will likely be back to the largest oil producer in the world by the end of this year because it is profitable to pump fracked oil again.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Keep wishing. Maybe everyone will be as smart as you and drive boring ugly little cars instead of something they actually like. Yay communism!

  • avatar
    thelaine

    This is good news. The domestics are feeding demand with the right product at the right time. Consumers want size and power, as they always have. North America is awash in oil, gas is cheap and CAFE is biased against sedans. Let the good times roll.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Who needs the douchey Euro brands anymore when common automakers can provide similar or better “luxury”, gadgetry and to a great degree, prestige?

    A Limited, Platinum, Titanium, Uranium etc labeled domestic (brand) pickup or SUV easily can provide the dramatic wow factor, the “They Paid $$$$$$$!” class of automobile and owner tax bracket.

    The dramatically increased durability, reliability and resale value of these is just a bonus.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d say the top-level SUVs are just as “douchey”…just in a different way.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        FreedMike,
        US prestige is very “Vegas” compared to EU prestige. I think EU prestige starts from the drawing board, where the US prestige is more a veneer, ie, a pickup done up as a SUV.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          BAFO – you seem very hung up on the fact that there is a lot of sharing of structural components and drivetrains with the domestic SUVs. If those components can do the job -and the market says they do – what is the problem? As long as fit and finish is good and the material choice is appropriate for the price class, I don’t see why it matters much. Frankly, the more some components become “commodity” items the more likely that replacements will be available for a long time and will be reasonably priced. Vehicles like a Range Rover that have little shared with anything else is not going to get the aftermarket support that makes vehicles like a Denali affordable to keep running.

          BTW, there is a lot more shared design in the Euro and Japanese offerings that you hold in such high regard than you might think.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            goldenshower.
            BAFO? Only DiM addresses me that way.
            Hung up? No.

            I’m telling it how it is.

            The large US SUVs are like our cheap midsize pickup SUVs.

            Cheap. You can dress them up as much as you like.

            Globally people like gadgets, bling and leather, and you can add this crap to a Mitsubishi Mirage like a pickup/SUV, does this miraculously turn a Mirage into a Mercedes or Audi?

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I’d hardly let Mike go it alone, BAFO.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      DiM,
      I own what is considered a “luxury” vehicle by many commenters on this site. But it ain’t. It’s a pickup with leather and bling. It’s still based on a $20 000 vehicle.

      It’s a façade. It offers me what I want, but I don’t view it as prestigious.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Even BAFO gets the douchbaggery benefit of the doubt. With Euro “luxury”, your A$$ ain’t talking your way out of it, Bud. You went out of your way specifically to get it.

        First you have to look close to spot the Denali emblems and or know what you’re looking for from 100′, vs an LTZ or whatever. But actually you didn’t go there for the Denali or Platinum, but the added rebates and wider availability spoke to you.

        It’s better to live with a little extra douchbaggery when you know the highest trim level on a truck will bring in extra resale value and appeal vs a “regular” everyday (BORING!) Lariat or King Ranch. In a few years your “Limited” may not even be the highest trim level offered.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          I was only saving keystrokes by the initials. No need to be a douche. And it’s ok for an Audi to be loaded with VW but not ok for GM to do the same. Spare me. VW has zero cred with the snot brand crowd yet I don’t hear you bitching about that.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            The problem is I do personally believe a VW from and engineering perspective is far better than a cheap full chassis pickup.

            Have a look at the basis for even a Porsche Cayenne.

            A pickup is built on the cheapest possible platfrom as a commercial vehicle. You can never remove all of that commercialness (if there is such a word) out of the vehicle.

            Pickups and their derivative SUV cousins are all based on the cheapest possible platform for their size.

            European and Asian SUVs are not. That’s why you don’t see a Nissan Titan or a Tundra platform in the US based on a Patrol or Landcruiser platform. It’s just to expensive for the US market.

            Don’t get me wrong, they are hugely flexible vehicles. That’s why they are popular. They are not popular because they set lap records at any track against even a Camry.

            What I find amazing is how many in the US consider the pickup a “US” thing when their has been many comparable products outside of the US for as long as there has been pickups and SUVs. Now as the globe is becoming more affluent the world is turning to pickups and SUVs. So, it’s a human trait to want vehicles of this nature, even if it cost a little more to maintain.

            The SUV is a large, cheap station wagon alternative. They do their job well and they are cheap.

            It the same in Australia, we have multitudes of Colorado 7s, Fortuna’s, Everests, Pajero Sport/Outlander. These seem to be more common place than Rav 4s, Klugers(US Highlander), etc.

            For the larger SUVs we only have US grey imports, but these are few and far between as they don’t offer the same value as Lexus/Landcruisers, Patrols, LR and Range Rovers, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            No BAFO, the “cheapest possible platform” is a unibody auto.

            Existing pickups could be reconfigured for ride comfort and superb handling, at the expense of cargo handling/capacity, towing, etc, but what would be the point or that? Base something like that on a car, no?

            They’re a little to big for that anyway. Certainly you can call luxury big pickups and their SUV cousins “hybrids”, best of both world, or similar. An Escalade, Navigator, Sequoia, Armanda, etc, along with ultra high-luxury pickups can perform work in a pinch, (or exclusively, by their 2nd/3rd/etc owners), get down-n-dirty without altering anything.

            There’s no real “after-life” for Euro luxury autos except the boneyard or ghetto/BHPH sadness.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            ……A pickup is built on the cheapest possible platfrom as a commercial vehicle. You can never remove all of that commercialness (if there is such a word) out of the vehicle.

            Pickups and their derivative SUV cousins are all based on the cheapest possible platform for their size.

            European and Asian SUVs are not. That’s why you don’t see a Nissan Titan or a Tundra platform in the US based on a Patrol or Landcruiser platform. It’s just to expensive for the US market…..

            If your ultimate argument is that you can’t make bona-fide “S Class” luxury out of truck platform that was designed to carry weights that would crush a S Class or two, well you are correct. No surprise there. But if your comment about the “cheapest possible platform” is to denigrate the engineering that went into designing it, and are damning it for being too pedestrian to provide a platform for a luxury truck well that is nonsense. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Mercedes abandoned the “Engineered like no other car in the world” design philosophy in the late 90s. And judging by many of the 2000s era Mercedes, they were downright cheap in many regards and had horrific reliability to boot. Today’s Mercedes have moved past that decade of mistakes but face it: they have built in what is deemed to be necessary to meet the need and nothing more. Just like every other mass market vehicle.

            The case you made about the VW being used by Porsche has some merit, but we are taking about a platform that was designed from the ground up with far less load carrying and was expanded for use in a high end vehicle. The reach from a good basic vehicle to a luxurious performance one is much less of an engineering lift than what is expected from a work vehicle to a luxury one – so fair enough.

            Now lets look at the Land Cruiser, an Australian favorite. I’ll skip over the J40 and J70 lifespans exceeding that 20 year threshold you mentioned in another post – if it works well then change for change’s sake is silly. A BOF design that certainly is more in line with a pickup than an S Class. I’ve been in Land Cruisers and they are fantastic, but a real luxury vehicle? No. Ok, how about the luxury variant here in the States, the Lexus LX. My friend’s parents owned one and I have driven it as well as been in a road trip in it. As you would expect, the interior materials were excellent, certainly better than a Denali. Fit was superb, and it made a great highway machine on the smooth Florida roads but when back on NY roads, there was plenty of that pogo ride that seems inherent in truck based platforms. Certainly less so than in a Tahoe, but not nearly S Class by any means.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Dim,
        Try using the same chassis in a car for years..

        You use the same chassis in a truck for 20 years.

        So I say the truck is cheaper, like fast food, churn out the same sh!t and you can sell a burger for peanuts. Go to a restaurant that isn’t a production line a look at the burger price. Vehicles are no different.

        US SUVs built on a cheap (protected and subsidised) already developed platform will be cheaper than the average EU SUV due to the lenght of time manufacturers use the BOF platform.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Whether C-class, E-class, 3-series, 5-series, or Audi, their “unibodies” get stamped, spot welded and spit out, no different than for your everyday, disposable Kia/Hyundai-class, Sonic/Fiesta-series, etc. There isn’t a cheaper way to build/sell a car.

          Of course it is “cheap” for a luxury SUVs to biggyback on existing pickup truck platforms, vs starting/selling from “scratch”. But it’s not cheap for pickup trucks to provide the basis and lend the assembly line. Ask yourself what it takes to get there…

          While no pickup has made it to the 20 year mark on a single platform, the previous Super Duty came close. Except the ’99 and 2016 Super Dutys are wildly different animals, even if their frames share the same lineage.

          Either way, it takes millions of pickups sold on a single platform before their SUV cousins can cash-in on the “savings”.

          As far as “protected/subsidized” goes, how do you figure? You still can’t provide the name of a single truck found anywhere in the world (possibly kept secret in the jungles of Africa?), that could potentially cripple Big 3 pickup’s hold on the American market (especially 3/4 ton and up, which are a huge part of Big 3 pickup profits), let alone dent/harm fragile “protected/subsidized” Tundra/Titan sales, not to mention the “weak”, barely hanging on, midsize group.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          The Domestics most definitely cheap out on R&D on some of their products, but full sized trucks are not among those. They know where their bread is buttered and they allocate resources accordingly. Aren’t you routinely on here decrying how much Ford spent developing the F series?

          People value different things. I could give a rats kiester about soft touch materials in my truck. As such I have a cloth clad XLT but if you want a soft dash pad and to feel like you are sitting in a baseball glove my buddies King Ranch fits the bill. You talk about lack of choice in this market but I see 5 makers building trucks in various sizes and a near infinite number of trim levels. Yes, there was 70k trucks on the lot when I got mine. Mine wasn’t. Choice is great.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Am I the only person here who wouldn’t be caught dead in an Escalade but would have zero issues rolling in a S-class Benz?

    I guess it’s all a matter of priorities.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Good luck with that S class when it is out of warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Hence, the magic of leasing, which is the way most folks buy any high-dollar vehicle to begin with.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          And when your company is making the lease payments and you get all the tax breaks for owning your own business, you bet leasing a depreciation machine is the way to go.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            This.

            And, frankly, I have no idea why someone who has enough money to spend upwards of a hundred thou wants to liquidate his capital on a heavily depreciating asset when it could invested elsewhere.

            Thus, someone with money who wants a fancy ride just leases it. Less upfront investment + lower monthly payments = the way to go.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        Then extend the warranty or make sure you maintain the car correctly.

        I have been driving German cars for most of my life and I have had none of these expensive repair and dependability nightmares that seem to be popular with the crowd which wants everything cheap and is therefore not prepared to service their car in the correct fashion. When you own a luxury vehicle, or any car for that matter, it also makes sense to have a budget for maintenance and/or repairs.

        My last car, a humble Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TDI, made it to 650,000 km before it finally got to expensive to keep running. I replaced it with a used 2007 Mercedes GL320 CDI 4Matic in December last year whose mileage was 237,000 km (now has 242,000 km+). The car is out of warranty but the maintenance records are flawless and show that the car was dealer maintained and had no mechanical or electrical issues. I had no qualms about purchasing it, and I do not see a point in purchasing an extra warranty as the car has served its first owner very well. The maintained it well and in return the car treated them well. I plan on continuing this ‘relationship.’

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          “Maintain the car correctly” by buying a car with a maintenance package, following it, and having a $9,000 transmission take a dump at 65k miles.

          Oh but this one time, at band camp, I saw someone with a German car and it had 67k miles and NO PROBLEMS! Ergo, all evidence to the contrary is bunk.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            If your transmission fails at 65,000 then you must be doing something wrong. I would think such a scenario is the exception rather than the rule.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            …If your transmission fails at 65,000 then you must be doing something wrong. I would think such a scenario is the exception rather than the rule…

            Only one statistical point but my brother’s CLK lunched it transmission a 53K due to an electronic controller failure (or so the transmission shop said)…$4,500 for the transmission, $500 for the controller…

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “If your transmission fails at 65,000 then you must be doing something wrong.”

            I see you’ve interacted with my VW dealer…that was more or less how they treated me.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Think it depends on region. Around here, I’d have a much easier time rolling a Denali than an Escalade. (Although my wife vetoed any GM SUV during our recent shopping process. Before that I was looking seriously at GMT900 Yukon and Tahoe Hybrids.)

      Get inland even a bit, though, and things change. In SE Idaho where we have a family reunion every year the S-Class would look horrendously out of place (as did our LS460) while no one would even notice a Slade.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      No, not the only one here. An Escalade to me is an airport limo, nothing more – and an uncomfortable one at that.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Here in Chicagoland anything goes, but a Yukon Denali looks less like you’re walking down the street with your junk hanging out than an S Class does. I agree the Caddy just looks gauche as heck.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Am I the only person here who wouldn’t be caught dead in an Escalade”

      If one considers what the typical funeral home uses as a hearse, eventually we will all be “caught dead” in an Escalade ;)

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      You are not alone.

      I had an Uber ride in a Denali Yukon XL a couple weeks ago, and if that is someone’s idea of luxury they very obviously have never actually been in an actual luxurious vehicle. It’s a truck with leather. Big whoop. Still rides like a truck and has crappy seats.

      And why is it shocking that a line of trucks that averages $56K is outselling an S-class that STARTS at $97K, and ascends like a Falcon 9 from there? You can almost buy two for the price of a *base* S-class.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I can’t see “Denali” as anything other than Crayola-levels of prestige. Mercedes needs to step up and ditch the 15-year-old interior of the GLS.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      But that’s half the appeal. I don’t think anyone buys a Denali for snob appeal, they buy it for luxury and capability and durability and because it DOESNT scream “I’m trying to look rich!”

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I see more Denali’s than Suburban/Tahoes because you can get the 6.2 in the Denali.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Excellent observation, Chris. Buying a loaded Expedition, Yukon or similar is just buying a nice vehicle for the sake of having a nice vehicle, not because you’re necessarily trying to impress everyone who sees you.

        Now, some might want it just for that reason, and you can spot them by the tacked on chrome trim and 28″ wheels. Rolling a stock Expy Platinum is no more snobbish than driving a 300C or Taurus SHO, even though it does cost considerably more. Can’t say the same for a Mercedes. Even the cheaper cars, you’re buying the badge and they threw the rest in for free.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Since the SUV is now the vehicle to have, this plays right in to GM’s sandbox.

    The MB of yore and perhaps even the BMW of the 80’s and 90’s were the choice for the wealthy as part of the panache was value. Yes, you paid a premium for your MB 300e or 5 series etc, you also got a long lasting safe car.

    I recall mentioning on a thread awhile back, which would you rather have a 4 year old X5 with 90k or a 4 year old Yukon Denali with 90k? Hands down, the Yukon wins.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Something like this actually factored into our recent purchase, although in favor of Toyota rather than the domestics.

      Right around the same high-30s price point, which do you expect to have the longer and more trouble-free useful life?

      (a) 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited with 20k miles

      (b) 2015 Acura MDX Advance with 50k miles

      (c) 2011 Lexus LX570 with 70k miles

      Our answer was (c), (b), (a).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Another variable: dealer serviced?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Assuming good service history (whether dealer or indy), which all of the vehicles in question had.

          As FCA tumbles further and further in whatever quality ranking you care to mention I just couldn’t convince myself that I’d be happy with even a low-mile version of a first-year, all-new FCA vehicle.

          The MDX is much more confidence-inspiring… but the LX trumps it by being a blinged-up Land Cruiser.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The LX is the highest quality vehicle any amount of money will buy. They make Bugattis look like Chinese children made them while wading in raw sewage. That being said, the 6-speed MDX would almost certainly cost less to own up to 300K miles, at which point the LX will have far more life left.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Enjoy gassing up that LX. Land cruiser will run forever but you’ll pay at the pump.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’d rather own a 7yo 3-series wagon than either one.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        For how long? The 3er drives better, but tell me how much oil pan, power steering reservoir and other gasket failures cost you and I to keep the 3 wagon going? I’m at 98k and the 1st of 4 window regulator failures is beginning.

        German cars are fun, but their incessant need for non-routine maintenance is tiring.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Nothing so far. If a gasket fails, it will get fixed, and I will go on enjoying a car that I enjoy driving very much. I plan to be buried in this car, since I can’t really replace it.

          If you can’t afford one, and “afford” means more than just the up front cost, then buy something else. Sure, I wish BMW bought their gaskets from Toyota or whoever, but extra maintenance cost is a small price to pay for a nearly infinitely superior driving experience. I could afford to buy the thing new, I can afford to fix it *forever*.

          And having said that, I have owned a pile of European cars, only a bare few with less than 100K miles on them. All (but one Porsche and one beat Volvo) gave superb service without expensive dilemmas. I have no doubt that one I bought new and have maintained properly from day 1 will provide even better service.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            …If you can’t afford one, and “afford” means more than just the up front cost, then buy something else. Sure, I wish BMW bought their gaskets from Toyota…

            The big question is why does BMW have such an issue with these basic items. Gaskets, water pumps, exploding expansion tanks, power control modules, window regulators… – yeah, two of my friends have 3 Series so I get the info first hand. These are items that no car maker should experience failures on a widespread basis yet BMWs seem to be prone to such stuff. I strongly suspect the engineers know about the lifespan problems but are overridden by the bean counters….just like GM’s old days…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am waiting for the Uranium edition since it will glow in the dark. Mercedes and BMW are more status and less quality. At one time both had an image of quality but now both are more of a statement. I don’t really need or want a big Yukon or Suburban but both have a lot more comfort and luxury to offer for the price than a German status symbol. I would choose Japanese or South Korean brand vehicles over European since they are more reliable and less costly to maintain.

  • avatar
    ernest

    I don’t know why this article surprises anyone- I’ve commented on this trend before. Consider the numbers- last month, 6538 luxury sedans were sold in the US (2800 Tesla S’s make it the largest seller). In the same month, GM sold 19,474 large SUV’s, and I can all but guarantee the lion’s share of them had a MSRP of over $60,000. In the same month, Ford sold 4727 Expeditions and Navigators, and their production is just ramping up. GM not only outsold all luxury cars combined by a significant margin, but they also damn near outsold all import luxury SUV’s… combined.

    This is a trend that’s been building for over a decade. I’m sure we could discuss ad nauseum all the reasons why, but the fact remains that Americans are plunking down big bucks again for high end American Brands.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    Funny even though the Europeans are seeing through the ripoff “luxury” sedans, we have preppies in denial out in full force over here

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Get rid of GMC they said.
    There is no reason to have it they said.
    No need for it they said.
    Denali trim was mocked for being just bling they said.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” H.L. Mencken

      “When the reviews are bad I tell my staff that they can join me as I cry all the way to the bank.” Liberace

      Charging $60K+ for a $30K pickup + leather seats is a license to print money, and the more expensive they become the more Americans love them.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Get rid of Chevy trucks then. Sell them all as GMCs. Completely pointless to have two virtually identical lines of trucks, just like it was pointless to have both Buick and Oldsmobile.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “Get rid of Chevy trucks then. Sell them all as GMCs. Completely pointless to have two virtually identical lines of trucks, just like it was pointless to have both Buick and Oldsmobile.”

        Too bad someone with your smarts isn’t running GM, then you could change that!……LOL

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “Get rid of GMC they said.”

      Hey thank god for GMC when i bought my new 2004 Sierra HD because the Avalanche front end on the Chevy HD’s was hideous.

      And thanks for Chevy in 2007 when I bought my new Tahoe because the Yukon’s were absolutely homely!….LOL

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Is it time to bring back the Hummer? An H3 based on the new Colorado would look cool, compete with Jeep, and not even have to drink that much.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Throw in awful road surfaces. Sporty suspension + lower clearance + potholes-uneven pavement? Gets old after a while.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    We own a 2016 Yukon XL Denali. Can confirm. We cross-shopped all the Euro stuff and still came back to the Yukon XL Denali. I wish we would have gotten one sooner. We’re very happy with our purchase. All the same features as the Euro vehicles, 2nd row Captain’s chairs (Can’t get those in the Euro SUVs), V8 power, and after 200k miles, it won’t require us to mortgage our house to maintain it.

    A Yukon Denali is what people buy to get power, features, style and reliability. These things last forever and they’re cheap to run.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      My limo driver has an Escalade that presently sits with 540K miles. Third transmission. Funny when they get old like this odd stuff happens. Like when the transmission shift linkage broke. I was at the airport when he tried to put the car in park and the shift lever went limp. I told him don’t shut it off or you won’t be able to get it to start. Force of habit he shut it off and sure enough no-start.

  • avatar
    ernest

    I’m going to throw out a few thoughts on this. First off, I don’t think the overall cost of maintenance and repair is the be all/end all of the buying decision. If it was, everyone would be driving a Corolla or a Camry. Maybe a Lexus if they were feeling really flush. Second, if superior roadholding, braking, and performance were the top priority, we wouldn’t see so many models targeted at enthusiasts being pushed into niche segments instead of the mainstream.

    Back when Cadillac still ruled the luxury car landscape, Mercedes was considered a thinking man’s alternative. Mercedes’s were expensive, but the story was value- “yeah it costs a lot, but look what you get.” Somewhere in the early 70’s, two things happened. One, the US dollar crashed. And two, the overall quality level of all domestic brands went south at the same time, ushering in the “malaise era” of American cars. Mercedes made an interesting discovery- as the prices of their cars took a rocketship trajectory, their sales went up right along with them. Price wasn’t the real deciding factor to luxury car buyers at the time- it was still perceived value. Americans never really disliked the concept of big, comfortable, V8 powered luxury car, but they were sorely annoyed with the lack of premium materials and build quality. While there was little to distinguish a ’70’s deVille from a Caprice, other than the sticker price, Mercedes (and later BMW and Audi) offered a real alternative. A few oil shocks hammered this message home.

    The arrival of Lexus scrambled the German “you get what you pay for” marketing philosophy. And the Germans responded, by becoming more efficient manufacturers. That’s code for “cost cutting.” CAFE dictated some fundamental changes in car design, notably centered around fuel efficiency. At the same time, the Germans started reaching downwards in market segments to increase volume. Two things happened. First, when you feed different computers the same parameters for aerodynamic efficiency, the predictable result is a group of designs that look strikingly similar. Secondly, it was getting increasingly difficult to differentiate the various luxury brands. And many of the more pedestrian brands were mimicking them, both in styling and in features/technology.

    While all this was going on, domestic Pickup and SUV sales kept gaining market share. And, interestingly enough, as plusher, more powerful, and more expensive models appeared, they were snapped up by a willing group of buyers. A growing, willing group of buyers. The return to sane pricing at the fuel pumps opened up the floodgates. Now, it’s the owners of Denali’s, Escalades, and F150 Platinum’s that are saying “yeah it costs a lot, but look what you get.” Just like their parents did, 40 years ago. Different times, different options, but the basic thinking is the same. It’s all about perceived value

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I agree with you 99% here. My issue is I personally don’t see the perceived value of an $80K version of what is fundamentally a $30K vehicle (plus I absolutely detest how these arks drive). Leather, chrome, and a touchscreen do not a $50K increase in value make, other than for the shareholders. An S-class is not based on something that costs 1/3rd as much.

      I’ll actually give some credit to Ford for putting some actual advanced engineering into their trucks and SUVs (IRS on the SUVs, what a concept), GM is just the same old dinosaurs refined a bit.

      I’m looking forward to the next big gas spike, I have the popcorn stocked up and waiting. Not that it is really going to affect the owners of $80K trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        ernest

        Back in ’61, my dad drove a Mercedes 220S fintail. 6 banger, 4 on the column, manual everything. My mom drove a ’61 T-Bird with every power option known (except Air Conditioning). If you had told my 4 yr old self back then that the Mercedes was the more expensive car of the two… I would’ve thought you were nutz. All in perception.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          And yet the Mercedes was by far the better engineered and built car. Toys do not a better car make.

          • 0 avatar
            Spartan

            How can you call a Mercedes a better engineered car considering they routinely cost an enormous amount of money to run after the warranty is up?

            That’s another reason why people are buying the Yukon Denali, Escalade and now the Lincoln Navigator again. You get all the European features and they don’t cost a lot of money to run.

            This engineering excuse is nonsense. Mercedes uses a unibody while GM uses body on frame for their luxury high end SUVs. That’s the difference. With that comes different rides and different capabilities, but for the average person, they can’t really tell the difference and now, they don’t care to pay the German premium when you can get a Yukon Denali, for example, for less money.

            A better car is relative. Go find a 10 year old GMT900 and a 10 year old Mercedes Benz GL. Fancy materials that wear out and inefficient over engineering does not a better car make.

          • 0 avatar
            ernest

            True. But my folks (German immigrants) had a completely different idea of what a well engineered car was. Dad drove Mercedes’s for over 20 years, and loved them. He appreciated the quality and engineering, and tolerated the downsides (notably, less comfort and more frequent visits to the shop). Mom had a thing for big, heavy, comfortable American cars. She tolerated dad’s love for small, uncomfortable European cars (to her, that’s all they were). As long as she didn’t have to drive one. Dad wisely let her have her way. At least I understand how they stayed married for well over 50 years.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Spartan,
            I had a fly swatter that lasted decades, I then bought fly spray, it lasted a week. Which is better engineered?

            Vehicle dynamics is also engineering. Just because my diesel will 1 million km and F1 engine a race, which is better engineered?

            Your view also could translate to; “Chinese cars are better becsuse it will last 5 years and is half the price”. So I will have 50% less on vehicle payments.

            A piece of wood is reliable, but a piece of stronger mild steel is stronger, but lasts half as long as the piece of wood.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            Scientists believe that the earliest fly swatters were sticks with a flat striking surface on one end.

    • 0 avatar
      DownUnder2014

      This. Exactly this.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Great post.

  • avatar
    ernest

    Big Al from Oz:

    There is such a thing as over engineered too. Two of my neighbors have had Mercedes GL450’s. Both experienced air suspension failures. There’s now a Sequoia in one driveway, a Denali in the other. Next street down, neighbor “downsized” to a Range Rover for his wife. They kept the 11 yr old Suburban for the kids to use. Thing’s been bombproof so far, no reason to sell it. My BIL is on his 3rd 5-Series. Leased (to quote him, “who the hell would want to own one when it rolls out of warranty?”) It shares garage space with his wife’s Lexus ES and the ’97 Suburban they bought new. Over 200K miles on that one, and still does ski bus/kayak/marathon duty reliably. He calls it his sports car.

    My experience with German Engineering is that often they’ll use the complicated solution to a simple problem, if only to prove they can. Whether that actually benefits the ultimate user is another question entirely.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      My view on German engineering is the dynamics of the vehicle ie, chassis, suspension (geometry incld), drivetrain. Then quality of materials and ergonomics.

      I have a 3.75hp flathead Briggs lawn mower. Ot lasted nearly 30 years. Is a Honda OHV lawn mower better or worse engineered.

      I see more and more computer aided designs closing the gap with EU and Japanese vehicles vs US. But as US vehicles improve the competition is still one step in front.

      Lesser quality materials and the cheapening of US vehicles to suit the market is the downfall. I don’t see the US catching other large vehicle manufacturers for quality.

      I also read others making statements on the improved FE position of US vehicles, mainly by those who consider imports taking US jobs. But do these people realise the same power and FE improvements are one step ahead of the US overseas
      .
      As for your neighbours, price would play a role, with size. I don’t own EU vehicles, my view is I’d buy a Landcruiser (diesel) or Patrol V8 gas (US Infiniti) before I would even consider a large US SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        ernest

        You’d barely recognize a US Landcruiser or Infiniti QX80. They’re both gas V8 powered luxury SUV’s. “Luxury” as in the American idiom. SUV’s with terrible space utilization, I might add. The Infiniti QX80 (Patrol) adds some really questionable aesthetics to the mix. Saying it’s… looks-challenged is being kind. Net result- Toyota sell a couple hundred Land Cruisers a month in the entire US, Infiniti sells a couple thousand QX80’s. For what they’re used for here, and the roads they’re driven on, they’re severely compromised designs. Given the price structure we’re in, the poor sales sure aren’t because of $$$’s.

        Which bring us to the Germans. Superior roadholding and chassis dynamics- yes. Appreciated by the typical upscale US Suburban buyer (or more likely, his wife) in daily use? Probably not. They’re more likely to notice how underpowered they are, compared to the domestic offerings. Especially when pulling that boat over the Coast Range. Quality of materials? Given the price range they sell in, and the numbers in which they sell, it obviously isn’t a problem on the part of the consumer.

        My definition of a successful product is one that’s designed with the wants and needs of the end user in mind. It’s pretty damned obvious that American hi-end consumers are seeing the value in the big domestic SUV’s. The numbers don’t lie- GM owns that segment, and Ford wants in on that action. On the other hand, if I lived in Europe, or down under, I could see that other choices would be better suited to local conditions.

        *I did find one downside to the Landcruiser. About 10 years ago, a neighbor got his stuck on glare ice. He couldn’t turn the traction control off… so it literally prevented him from moving. I pulled him out with my Ford pickup (grins).

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Look at the high end trucks and SUVs. Then look and see which ones have bumper hitches. Used for hauling their boats or horse trailers. Big hint: very few European makes have them. Lots of GM,Ford, Toyota, and yes, Lexus GX’s do. Trucks/SUVs used to haul your play toys. That is is the ultimate in luxury.
    English saddles BTW. No Hans, we’re not going to Sprockets right now. The boat has been in salt water and needs hosed down. Also, we’re not gonna go club to death a didgerfudwhizzple and say it’s as good grass fed Angus.

  • avatar

    I’m just amazed by the sheer size of the things. We have a second gen MDX, which we bought for three rows, drive the kids soccer team around, go to the Home Store, and pull trailers, all of which it does well.
    Recently saw a neighbor who had a new Suburban, and later, parked next to the most current Infiniti truck. Suddenly, my MDX is small. On what planet is my MDX “small” ? OK, in some areas around me, the suburban mom doing the school run in a new Escalade, with the expensive black leather boots and the Canada Geese jacket is a stereotype, but the overall motor pool has changed, and now I have a “small truck”. I guess if you are approaching six figures, the truck being huge is a bonus, not a problem, even if mama weighs 135 pounds and is only going to pick up the kid (fits in one car seat).

    Driving an old school style sedan around, I have watched our motor pool in my area turn over, and everyone drives a truck now. I see this as endless anonymous boxes on the highway, all trying to kill me, cell phone to ear. You see a lot of BMW, MB, etc trucks…there is a reason they build them here. I recall in Germany seeing ONE Q7 and three X5, in two weeks of driving….the euro environment would preclude driving one of these parade floats, never mind an Escalade/Suburban

    I don’t see myself buying anything that large, even though I have the driveway for it….it just seems too much vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Try fitting multiple kids in car seats, 2 larger dogs and their crates, plus bags and Christmas gifts for a road trip to in-laws. That’s our situation minus the kids right now and we already use up all of the available interior space in my older 4Runner. All of a sudden a fullsize SUV or minivan starts to make sense. I’m glad our market has options to fit just about everyone’s needs.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      We regularly fill our suburban when we go camping and or skiing.

      I dd it now as my wife really likes the lacrosse i bought last year so we swapped. I like big cars or trucks so for me the size is fine.

      115k and it drives like new.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Pick up trucks are pretty rare in my neck of the (overly priced suburban) woods – but BOF SUVs are another matter. The neighbors across the street have two of them – Yukon and a Caddy, along with a Ford Fusion (that never seems to leave its parking spot).

    Audi and BMWs and Volvo (!) are still legion, along with the Honda Odyssey, but the Suburban and Tahoe are very popular.

  • avatar
    bd2

    This is hardly surprising as it has been happening for some time now.

    More and more buyers are eschewing luxury brands for fully optioned mainstream or premium branded crossovers, SUVs and pick-ups.

    Many buyers these days want all the safety and convenience tech such as AEB, 360 degree camera, etc. and those things can send the price of a luxury model (esp. German) skyrocketing.

    Also, the domestics offer numerous options when it comes to large or supersized CUVs or SUVs, and the Germans really only have the GLS (aside from the niche G-wagon) until the X7 arrives and if Audi goes ahead with the Q9.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    People just love the utility that trucks provide and it becoming a statue symbol. I am looking at either a Bronco, G550, Passport or possibly a new black label Navigator! Just depend which one of them I like the most! Just sort of wild that trucks would be so popular!

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    My area has quite a few utes (actual and what’d you call light pickup trucks). CUVs are also very popular (especially older Territories and Klugers). They really are more multi-purpose than they used to be.

    SUVs in my area tend to be either Prados, older Patrols (GQ), older Land Cruisers (80 and 100) and a few 1990s Pajeros…

    It’s still mostly a sedan/hatchback area. It just really depends where you are…

    There’s not too many true luxury SUVs here, but high-spec Prados and higher-spec LC200s I see often enough, other than that, I do see the occasional Y62 Patrol…


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