QOTD: Priced Out of Pickups?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Twitter — or as I like to call it, the unintellectual dark web — regularly tosses out scorching takes like “too many people drive pickups” and other gold-plated nuggets for the online punditry to seize upon. Maybe there’s some truth to them.

But until government apparatchiks start barring dealership doors, saying, “Hey! You there — you with the cash that you worked hard to earn. Don’t you dare purchase this pricey domestic product for your own (completely legal) use!” we’ll continue buying them. Meanwhile, a good many people will look at the state of their finances, take a gander at rising ATPs in that segment, and decide on something else.

Are you a truck owner with a mind to downsize?

Yes, this has everything to do with last week’s study of existing and former truck owners. In the former camp, 68 percent felt trucks are overpriced for what you get, and 17 percent of this particular crowd claims they’ll look outside the segment come trade-in time.

The thing about trucks is that they can basically be anything you want them to be. Four-door family car. Stripped-down work hauler. Hunting 4×4. Brodude sports wagon. With the new Jeep Gladiator’s appearance, they can even take the form of a fun-in-the-sun convertible.

A sedan, despite its virtues, can never fill all of those shoes.

It’s no wonder that truck sales continue to climb, though at a slower pace — and at lower volumes — than their rampaging SUV/CUV rivals. The average transaction price of a full-size pickup last year was $47,400, up from $39,805 six years earlier — a climb we can partly blame on the myriad of profit-seeking ultra-lux trims. Trims one needn’t choose if their needs fall squarely in the big utility/basic transportation camp.

Ram will happily sell you a stock 1500 Classic Tradesman 4×2 for an after-destination price of $29,090 if roughing it is your bag. Its V8, quad cab new-generation sibling stickers for $34,885 if towing power, a backseat, and boosted refinement is something you demand of your truck.

Still, nicely appointed, reasonably glitzy pickup trims can’t be had for anything close to the $28,920 ATP of a compact crossover. And the burgeoning midsize pickup scene doesn’t seem to offer the buyer much in the way of up-front value (resale value, perhaps).

Everyone’s needs are different, and each of us draws funds from a very different bank balance. If you’re a current pickup owner, do you plan to remain so until your kid (or the state) takes away the keys? If you don’t, does price have anything to do with your decision?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Dan Dan on Apr 02, 2019

    The only story here is the explosion of the Cadillac trims and that's a win all around. Luxury truck profits are keeping the lights on in Detroit. Luxury buyers have better options than they did before. And all of the platform development money that they put in for the banker trims has made the XLTs for working people better too.

  • DIYer DIYer on Apr 04, 2019

    I bought a new 2012 Chevy WT V6 2wd 2dr - "El Strippo" for about $22K including tax. Standard cab, short bed. Crank windows, manual door locks. AM/FM radio, no CD player. An excellent value. No problems with anything. I have 50K miles on it after 7 years, should be reliable until it hits 15 yo or 180K miles, whichever comes first.

  • Doug brockman There will be many many people living in apartments without dedicated charging facilities in future who will need personal vehicles to get to work and school and for whom mass transit will be an annoying inconvenience
  • Jeff Self driving cars are not ready for prime time.
  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.