By on December 26, 2019

Image: GM

We spend a lot of time discussing pickups on these digital pages, and with good reason. Pickups have quickly become the go-to vehicle for growing families, replacing sedans and wagons in that role, though crossovers and SUVs of varying sizes still garner the greatest market share.

With a proliferation of trim choices leading to ever-higher ATPs and hefty margins for those who build them, pickups remain a cash cow for many companies — at least, those capable of capturing the public’s attention. With data in hand, let’s look at the decade that was.

Thanks to market research figures from JATO Dynamics, we can track the pickup’s progress through the past ten years. It’s no surprise that the Ford F-150 remains the best-selling vehicle to this day, but it’s always interesting to put the model’s popularity into context by contrasting it not with another model, but with entire brands. Were the F-150 a brand unto itself, it would rank 9th in the U.S. market, slotted between Kia and Subaru.

Want more fun facts? U.S. consumers purchased more pickups between 2010 and September of this year, the tally outranks the total vehicles sold in either Russia or Canada. That said, in terms of market share, Canadian pickup popularity outranks American infatuation with the bodystyle. Over the past decade in the U.S., pickups averaged 14.6 percent of the new vehicle market; in Canada, the slice was 18.2 percent.

Your author remains dumbfounded that enough decent-paying jobs exist in the frozen north to support the trend, even taking into consideration low interest rates and the popularity of epoch-spanning loan periods.

On a global scale, pickups remain a minor player, despite increasing efforts to make them a mainstream choice. Worldwide, pickup market share over the past decade amounted to 3.7 percent.

In the U.S., the rising popularity of pickups over the last 10 years speaks to the country’s sustained economic health, as average transaction prices for the bodystyle rose more than 35 percent over the same period ($44,039 at last check). Between 2010 and September of this year, the pickup’s slice of the new-vehicle pie rose from 13.1 percent to 16.8 percent. In contrast, hatchbacks of all forms sank from 7 percent to 4.8 percent of the market.

Sedans, a common topic of conversation here at TTAC, fell from 38.9 percent of new U.S. vehicle sales in 2010 to 22.1 percent in the first nine months of this year. Filling the gap (and replacing that bodystyle in most American driveways) were SUVs and crossovers, which saw their take rise from 27.3 percent in 2010 to 46.8 percent in 2019.

Looking it another way, light trucks of any size or description saw their market share rise from 40.4 percent to 63.6 percent over the past 10 years.

Hungry for more pickup data? Let’s start with content. Plusher pickups are a well-documented trend, as this bodystyle is now more likely to see use as a daily driver or a family’s sole vehicle. As a result, leather upholstery was found in 27.3 percent of MY2019 trucks, up from 17.8 percent for the 2010 model year.

As creature comforts rise along with ATPs, other metrics are trending in positive directions. Among them, fuel economy and payload. Average thirst has seen a modest decrease over the past decade, with MPGs rising from 14.6 mpg to 17.8 mpg. Maximum payload rose from an average of 1,823 pounds to 2,186 in 2019, despite average engine size shrinking from 5.0 to 4.9 liters over the same period. Credit Ford for much of the displacement decrease.

How far can pickups penetrate into the new vehicle market? The coming decade will reveal the answer to that question. Numerous obstacles stand in the segment’s way, among them fuel efficiency mandates, rising sticker prices, and the inevitability of another economic downturn.

[Image: General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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73 Comments on “The 2010s: A Period of Pickups...”


  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Pickups are very versatile for family haulers. Add a tonneau cover and you have a basically secure trunk.

    The only downside is mpg and the transaction price over sedans or slightly smaller CUVs. You can have better millage if you don’t need a bigger motor for towing in a pickup.

    I have an 2018 Silverado Crew Cab 4WD-LTZ.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    With this data in hand, can we finally accept that most pickups are purchased as passenger vehicles and make them subject to the same EPA rules as passenger cars? The distinction is ridiculous at this point and nothing but a windfall to automakers incentivizing them to produce less efficient vehicles. Maybe also a national registration tax based on vehicle weight. I can dream.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Is there a fleet vs individual breakout for the half tons? I am not certain you are correct. The 3/4 ton and up models I am certain break towards fleets, but they are already in a different fuel economy class.

      Either way, better than sitting 7500 of my tax dollars on the hood.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        I have to agree with Art on this one. That $7,500 EV tax credit is ludicrous and I really hope it gets completely eliminated in the next year or two.

        I also see the point of subjecting pickup trucks to the same regulations as cars. If you’re not going to do that then relax the regulations on cars.

        Both the EV tax credit and separate light truck fuel economy standards are ridiculous and make no sense in the current market.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      gamper, it’s not just pickups. CUV/SUVs, minivans and such also enjoy the “truck” exemption (to the Gas Guzzler tax), some of which aren’t so “mini”.

      The Toyota Sequoia gets worse fuel economy than the Ford Raptor, except pickups used full-time hauling nothing more than passengers and air can at least hide behind the skirt of “industry” (per the original 1970’s exemption, for pickups and panel vans only), but who would police it?

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Keep dreaming.

      Government has no business dictating what products to produce.

      I pay more annual registration because I drive a 3/4 ton. Based on weight.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I can understand why pickups especially large crew cabs have become a family vehicle. As for trucks becoming subject to the same EPA rules as passenger cars regulators have become more focused on regulating trucks since they have grown so much in popularity. I do believe eventually truck sales will peak as the prices of them continue to rise. I don’t believe trucks will disappear, they will still sell well but eventually their sales will plateau.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It’s huge fun to play with pickup configurators because they are pretty much the only thing in the mass market that’s still more or less buildable to order.

    But ordering a pickup with just the right mix of options would be way more fun than actually owning one where I live. Just in the past five days I’ve stuffed both of our cars into several tiny parking spots that wouldn’t fit even a CCSB. (As it happens, one of those parking spots is my short, steep driveway, where the Bolt fits easily and the Highlander will fit without overhanging the sidewalk, by about 3″, if I jam the back end into the garage doorframe just right.) So I’ll have to stick with playing with configurators unless I ever move somewhere less urban.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The Highlander is no less than 75 inches wide (76 currently) compared the 80 inches F-150, which is no wider than Tahoes and such. What’s that, a couple inches per side?

      Yes the shortest crew cab F-150 is about 3 feet longer, but that’s usually the rear sticking into the isle. The only “problem” I’ve experienced is the truck consuming the entire space width, with the unfolded mirrors into the next space’s airspace, but only in tight big-city parking and coastal communities.

      So parking in those places, next to a Tahoe or similar would be a problem, if most cars in those situations weren’t midsize or compacts, which luckily they are. Except “fullsize” pickups/SUV are still surprisingly popular in big cites and such.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The issue with my driveway isn’t width, but length. The longest vehicle I’ve ever stuffed into it was my old 199″ LS 460, and that had less than an inch on both ends unless I wanted to be That Guy blocking part of the sidewalk (which, on my street, is heavily used).

        In crowded parking lots, both length and width are an issue. I’ll use the garage at one of my local grocery stores as an example. (Entrance visible at https://goo.gl/maps/LfEENXF7meyzS7JA9 ) The last time I took my Highlander there, I had about two inches of clearance between the car and a pillar on the right, and was squeezing out on the left. 4 more inches of vehicle width and I couldn’t have gotten out, not to mention dealing with trailer mirrors. I’d take the Bolt if my wife weren’t using it. The aisles are also narrow enough that a 230″ pickup sticking out might make it impossible for cars to pass.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Another more visible example: one of the parking lots at the clinic where my wife and kids get most of their medical treatment done. Good luck parking a CCSB in here without getting it banged up. https://goo.gl/maps/rjDYi1DQyC74Vcpr7

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          No, losing 3 feet of aisle wouldn’t make passing impossible, or even difficult. It’s your perception, but actual aisles that tight would be a no-go for most drivers, passing through or swinging in to spots. Remembers they’re design for lowest common denominator, and most drivers are fully inept, can’t parallel park, etc, not stunt/pro drivers like us…

          The last thing businesses want is trouble and or law suits. Your links are missing too many characters. Just do gps coordinates.

          A driveway as short as yours wouldn’t be legal. That’s except for condos, they can do what they want. Either way, it sounds like a personal problem not experienced by most Americans. Automakers are very aware of parking limitations.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            We’ve had a variation of this discussion about 10 times, and each time I conclude that you’re not familiar with conditions in older cities. Most of the houses in my neighborhood were built before WWI, and most of those in the entire city built before WWII. All of those predate current codes. Small parking lots and nonstandard garages and driveways are the rule, not tne exception. And lots of people from the suburbs won’t drive into town because “the parking lots are too small and it’s too hard to park,” which cracks me up.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Do you live in a colonial village? I love those! But most Americans don’t live in one, and can manage vehicles bigger than Model T’s. But it sounds like some of your neighbors can’t even park a Smart 4Two in their “driveways”.

            Again, personal problems. Do you want know about my frustration parking and getting around in my ’91 F-350 dually crew cab 4X4 stretch-limo? Doesn’t everyone own one or similar??

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I can think of cities off the top of my head where similar conditions to mine apply and where 20 million or more Americans live. Hardly a “colonial village.”

            Drive that CCLB dually into any inner Seattle neighborhood and take a YouTube video each time you try to park. I promise I’ll click on every ad in the video, because it’ll be fun to watch.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Name any of those 20 million pop cities. It’s similar to driving a tour bus, even though I’m not 40 to 45 feet. It’s close to 30′ but not much overhang like the buses. Except there’s an unsettling feeling when turning the wheel enough to get into the next lane and nothing happens right away. It’s a blast though.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Basically, anywhere that developed around prewar streetcars (or earlier).

            New York: ~8m
            Boston + similarly old suburbs: ~2m
            Philly + similarly old suburbs: ~2m
            Baltimore: ~1m
            Washington DC: ~1m
            San Francisco: ~1m
            Portland: ~1m
            Seattle: ~1m
            Various smaller East Coast cities make up the rest.

            As it happens, I’ve lived for all but two years of my life in one of the cities on the above list. I’ve lived in five of them, total.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Oh, and one other thing to mention: I have a nearby neighbor who lives on a nearby street with no street parking. Their driveway is about one normal car length. They have two Smart fortwos so they can have two cars.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Did those places decide around the late 1800s/turn of the century that they would only allow for Toyota Highlanders and smaller, but that’s it, no F-150s, Tahoes or greater?

            It’s just silly. It’s not as if some spots aren’t just too small for anything what so ever, except for bikes (or horses at the time).

            No, parking lots and spots have been striped for the maximum number of cars and minimal dimension, across the US in (ancient or newer) big cities. And stripes are as fairly recent invention.

            It’s the same thing in coastal communities, whether new outcroppings or ancient.

            When open areas (past the sidewalk, up to the building) are too small for Highlanders (for example) to fit easily, or F-150s/Tahoes snugly, they just don’t become “parking” for (any) vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @DenverMike

            You really are hilarious with this nonsense. My place in FL was built in 1985. It has a one car garage that is exactly 6″ longer than a Volvo 940. I know this because I own a Volvo 940. There is a brand-new house a couple lots down that was built last year – the garage is a bit bigger, but it isn’t deep enough to fit a full-size pickup in. I know this because the owner has a crew-cab F-150 and he can’t put it in the garage of his new house! A garage deep enough for a truck is an “oversized” garage and is an expensive extra when you build a house here (which I will be doing in a couple years). The standard size will about fit a mid-size car.

            Most cities on the East Coast have gone to Pay-and-Display for street parking AND downtown parking lots. No more meters, no more lined spaces on streets. You can park wherever you fit that isn’t a no parking zone. Pay and display lots are lined, but since the more cars, the more money collected, the aisles and spaces are basically sized for compact cars, not brodozers. It’s a very different environment than the wide open south and west. People still buy trucks as passenger vehicles, but they B!TCH about it incessantly and it gets really old.

            @Dal20402 – a guy I work with and his wife did the same 2X Smart car solution for their house in Boston. Same thing – fit two cars into the one car driveway, so never have to deal with the street parking BS. They CAN street park, but in Boston that is a nightmare.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Early garages and parking lots were sized for carriages or primitive cars, which were taller but had a smaller footprint than today’s stuff. Modern car footprints weren’t established until after World War II.

            Today, most people in the city who have cars at all drive cars that fall roughly in the range between a Yaris and a Highlander, and parking spots created by private businesses are sized accordingly. The three-row CUV is to a city parking spot as a CCLB truck is to a parking spot elsewhere. You’d lose a lot of spots for no reason if everything had to be able to fit a pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Dal is lucky to have a driveway at all. So many of the homes in his area do not have a driveway. Yeah many of those are 100+ year old homes, but many of those are brand new and there are more under construction.

            Here is a recent build where a single family home with two car garage and two off street parking places was replaced with 4 townhomes sans any off street parking or yard. https://www.google.com/maps/@47.5883795,-122.3028896,3a,75y,6.42h,81.35t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPQiptQTLl5W_U92ATa6QlA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656 Note in the earlier street views you can see how the compact and midsize cars are hanging into the sidewalk.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Take a look at 1748 23rd ave, Seattle. It is another recent build where they did put in garages, but you aren’t getting anything bigger than a compact car in them and that is going to take several maneuvers to get in unless you are the one person who bought the one that the garage lines up with the entry drive.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6176148,-122.3026424,3a,66.4y,108.51h,84.09t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFRXnTnR_jbneQktvVTsyFQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Anyone can talk, but no one can show any of these mythical tiny parking spaces. Nor show newer construction housing with subcompact parking only. Yeah if it’s a 150 year old house/remodel or maybe a “condo” legally.

            It’s hard for some to distinguish the differences, and they do build freestanding condos within a complex (no shared walls) and they can shortchange on “driveways”, and foot traffic can walk in the “street” (easement/alley) anyway.

            Yeah there’s a lot of improvised parking in old/ancient houses, pavers instead of lawns (who needs the maintenance?), and it’s illegal to park on lawns in some cities. But spots can be oversize just the same. Oversize enough and it’s two spots in front of the house. Or too small for CUVs just the same as F-150s.

            It may appear that a CCSB won’t fit, but you do become stunt drivers in a way. Subcompact drivers feel like they need more space around them than they actually need and I can see them cringe when I’m swinging my SCLB (same footprint as CCSBs) around their personal space or comfort zone.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yeah I’m aware of stand alone condos, they are rampant in this area since so many places were zoned for multi-family/condo yet demand was for stand alone homes. That however doesn’t affect the parking and set back requirements.

            Here are houses built in 2012 and the only reason that this CCSB isn’t blocking the sidewalk is because there is only a sidewalk on the other side of the road.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@47.3564541,-122.0549627,3a,75y,278.1h,71.8t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szGN10fxuy9awdWcaPQJusA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en-US

            And there are lots of developments out here that are very similar, and these aren’t Condos, though there are lots of similar developments that are considered Condos.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Methinks DenverMike hasn’t traveled much, any of the colonial cities or any large city mostly predating WWII does not have the best infrastructure for any sort of vehicle or vehicle parking. Much of those cities grew up before automobiles were even invented, thus the layout and parking availability isn’t the best. Now add in the cost of demolition of older structures and fantastic land valuations in many of those places and you have a recipe for parking at a premium.

            I’ll add another point, I can recall around the time I started driving in 1997 seeing public parking spaces which I recall were very “long” if that makes any sense to you. Much longer than the cars I was driving at the time (Mom’s 96 van, 92 Subbie, 88 Dodge). A few years later the street was either repaved or the lines were painted over with much shorter ones. Now I understand the parking lines were designed for 70s/80s boats and by the early 00s those were long gone so the munis made the parking lines shorter in order to cram in more of them. At one time it seems parking spaces/parking lots could have handled the crew cabs much better than they can now. The attitude today seems to be cram them in like sardines, not do we have enough space for our customers.

            “A garage deep enough for a truck is an “oversized” garage and is an expensive extra when you build a house here”

            I can confirm this, and its funny how that works. Pay out the wazoo in general and by the way here’s a closet for your car. Oh and I have it on good authority, build cost for the non-oversize garage in this region is about $5,000 but the up charge is $30K. Go figure.

            “People still buy trucks as passenger vehicles, but they B!TCH about it incessantly and it gets really old.”

            The availability of a truck that wasn’t gigantic would be advantageous in this circumstance.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I have a new home. My F150 supercrew fits fine in the garage Bay and my air compressor and welder are at the top of that Bay. I don’t park it in there because it’s a freaking truck and I have more cars than bays, but I service it in there and it fits just fine.

            If you have an old house, I get it…it won’t fit but if it won’t fit in your new house then your builder is garbage.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            My friend built a townhouse 3 years ago, his MY11 Subbie Legacy fits with maybe two foot to spare (nose in). He doesn’t own a second car but maybe with nothing on the side he could fit two side by side but it wouldn’t be comfortable and I doubt the doors could open much if at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “At one time it seems parking spaces/parking lots could have handled the crew cabs much better than they can now. The attitude today seems to be cram them in like sardines, not do we have enough space for our customers.”

            That’s pretty well everywhere that’s crowded enough for the underlying land to be stupid expensive, another foot of retail with bad parking still makes the developer more money than another foot of parking would. Nearly all of these suburbs have zoning on the books specifying reasonable parking, feeder road improvements, etc., and the sale of variances against those requirements gets the politicians their piece of the action too.

            A big part of the price of politicians these days is making the correct gestures of submission to the green cult, you should see the new developments popping up in the expensive suburbs with bike lanes that don’t connect to anything instead of parking, a 60 sf solar panel and a row of empty EV chargers prominently displayed at the turn in, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Thanks, yeah those “houses” are condos. You can spot the multi-family loopholes, not allowed in normal developments, to fire codes and whatnot.

            Fire can easily jump from structure to structure, and the aisles don’t allow for ladder trucks, since the exemptions. It gets lots more families (and taxes) in tight, crowded urban spaces. It’s not like you see condos pop up surrounded by open deserts or prairies.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “you should see the new developments popping up in the expensive suburbs with bike lanes that don’t connect to anything instead of parking”

            Oh now I’m triggered. I want to skywrite: “children ride bikes” (as a regular mode of transit at least).

            “Nearly all of these suburbs have zoning on the books specifying reasonable parking”

            Like most things in government, I suspect these are divorced from reality.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @28 – He built his own condo? Isn’t that like building your own apartment? Yeah I’m very aware of historic colonial areas. Except the tiny parking spots that structures allow don’t exactly single out F-150s, Tahoes and such.

            The minimum garage is 12X24. It’s easy to remember by contractors/architects/etc, not some funky 197″ or something. And it allows easy exit from the house, down the stairs, past the car to the outside. In case of a fire or something.

            There’s very specific reasons for code minimums, and most haven’t changed for almost 100 years.

            A two car garage can be slightly smaller (relative to 2 cars) since you can have the aisle/exit/stairs between the 2 cars, like 22X22, but most are the popular 24X24.

            Developers do go “oversize” or 3+ car garages, because they know pickup/Tahoes/Expeditions/etc are very popular and inside parking is even more important to women. It’s a huge sale advantage.

            And can anyone show a garage only physically allowing compacts or midsize?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            He built a townhouse or a carriage home or whatever the F it is actually called. 3BR/4BA, maybe 1800-2000 sq-ft, its attached to other units so I assumed it was a townhouse but it is not a condominium. I parked my Auris in there this past spring for a weekend and although my car is smaller I could see where he was coming from on it being tight. Now if you cleared out the thing completely, you could fit two Corollas in there side by side but even then I’m not sure on door opening space. I have a 70s period two car garage which today would def be “oversize”, and its a little tight with the Grand Prix and the Auris in terms of door opening space, but not overall space by any means. I’ve still got two or three foot from the door and prob three or four foot in the front, but my house basically doesn’t exist here. It was built by an old school contractor for himself in the 70s and as I am finding out during renovations this guy *did not* skimp on anything.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            OK I believe you. But FYI, legally “Town Homes” and condos are the same thing. It just sounds less like converted apartments. I’d still like to see pictures or video of the tiny garage though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I thought a condominium was effectively an apartment in a building. Live and learn.

            This is the plan he lives in, his is closer to the first one in terms of look/layout than the second:

            https://www.coldwellbanker.com/property/129-Steeplechase-Ct-Pittsburgh-PA-15236/92352381/detail?src=list

            https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/117-Steeplechase-Ct_Pittsburgh_PA_15236_M47309-68336#photo25

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Denver Mike, no a Town Home and a Condo are not the same thing legally. In a Condo you own the “air space” while the land is common space. A Town Home on the other hand you own the dirt even if the walls are shared.

            No matter which is it the rules for parking per unit, or prohibiting on site parking, if you are in the city of Seattle, are the same, as are the rules for emergency vehicle access.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @28 cars, that could be either a Condo, Townhome, or zero lot line home. With the Condo designation the building and land is owned by the association and that driveway would be a limited common element, it limited to the use of the owner of a particular unit. As a Townhome or zero lot line home you own the land and the driveway is yours to both use and maintain.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ Denver Mike, The reason that so many municipalities have zoned places for condos that actually have detached single family homes is not for greater density, it is so that the association owns the roads and is responsible for maintaining them. Yes the ruse was that it is done to meet the urban growth boundary rules. However around here you have the same lot sizes for both traditional detached single family homes that are considered condos and those that are considered traditional single family. It just depends on what the municipality wants, freedom from being responsible for roads, or a reason to raise taxes.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Additionally, while you can usually squeeze in and out of the truck with the door open to the first detent it’s a royal pain to load groceries and such in the back seat (ie. your trunk) without opening the door most of the way.

          8/10 scale urban lots just don’t work with trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The bulky/heavy stuff (or all of it), I put in the bed of the truck. That’s what the bed is for, then put it inside if need be, once I back out or get to a “clearing”.

            Yeah it’s not “ideal” ideal, but is challenge I welcome. And it’s totally worth it if you ask me. Ask anyone in a Tahoe or similar in big city. In anything comparable and “midsize”, the couple or three inches saved (on each side) aren’t worth the other things sacrificed.

        • 0 avatar
          Lokki

          I hate, hate, hate the guys who are parking their 230 inch long pickups in parking lots with narrow aisles and wish them and extra decade in Hell for every time they do it with the trailer hitch attached.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “… hate the guys who are parking their 230 inch long pickups in parking lots with narrow aisles and wish them and extra decade in Hell for every time they do it with the trailer hitch attached.”

            I agree that leaving the hitch in is up there on the inconsiderate list, and if I were king would be impoundable, but of all the places that this is obnoxious, narrow aisles? How did they get the ball sticking out in the first place? You can nose in park if you back and fill enough but once you’re there you literally can’t egress. Back in as you should have and the ball is, for once, somewhere that it can’t bust shins and radiators.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Mike, to your “couple inches per side” point, I’ve got a baby still in a car seat, and the person with the spot beside mine at my condo drives a Toyota Highlander. I borrow cars from work occationally, and in the past month, have brought a new Camry and Mercedes GLE at home (approx 72″ and 76″ wide respectively). I had no problem getting the car seat into the back of the Camry, but the GLE, with the door nearly resting on my neighbour’s car, nearly had no room to fit the car seat in. When those inches matter, they absolutely matter. For perspective, my building is about 5 years old, and in Toronto’s outer suburbs (an area that was first really built up mid-century). Several of my fellow residents do drive late-model CCSB trucks, which requires them to have their rear bumper on the garage’s outer wall to not spill out into the aisle. They fit, but it’s not the right tool for the surroundings if you don’t need it.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          Totally agreed on this one – and several folks are just plain wrong in this thread. Owning a pickup truck in an urban area can be incredibly painful – its not just width of the truck (most urban parking garages and lots do not have Costco size spaces), it is also height.

          At least around me, most parking garages have 6’6″ height limits. Every 1/2 ton truck exceeds this height restriction. So, either the one or two garages that can accommodate them get clogged with half-tons, or Id need to park much further from my destination.

          In addition, urban spaces are not standardized in most cases. One garage may have 74″ wide spacing, another may be 80″. One garage may have 16′ deep spots, the other 20′.

          As a result, I cant easily own a half ton pickup, even though I really want one.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I’ve never seen a public parking garage “minimum” (for pipes) under 7 feet, and I’m sure a couple exist somewhere, but it has to be very rare, even in Boston and such, and you can find another garage that works.

            You’ll notice automakers come close to 7′, but they respect it. Stuff like tow trucks and smaller fire trucks have to make it to the top (or bottom) of the parking facility.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s not that I can’t believe 74 inch wide spaces, but they would compromise the parking of regular cars or CUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Most of the office building garages in Seattle are 6’6″. There’s one (under the tallest building in the city, no less) that’s 6’0″. I made the mistake of driving my old LX570 to a weekend event in that building and had to find street parking.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The 6’0″ restriction is above the third level, otherwise it’s 6’8″ which is enough to fit a Super Duty 4X4, but it sounds like it’s best to avoid that garage, from the reviews.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yeah there are lots of garages in Seattle, under new high rise buildings that have 6’6″ clearance, and a few generous ones at 6’8″ some skimp at 6’4″ while 7′ is only in older buildings.

            https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6080352,-122.3316697,3a,47.6y,223.11h,83.36t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sNrSUB5TX6D4mWi_g3ZUEGw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

            https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6107886,-122.3341571,3a,41.4y,261.24h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sahlGKjudBo3cP0EFttWkQQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

            https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6128303,-122.3360067,3a,54.7y,57.19h,94.21t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_8hLSfrev1ntgCFec-gKNQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

            Just a few blocks of one street and it keeps going and going with the vast majority at 6’8″ or under.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          There’s no question its a tighter fit, but is it worth the extra “trouble”? I say it is.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    It’s just the twenty-teen’s version of the Electra 225. If you’re feeling flush and the fuel bills aren’t an issue, this is what you buy to befit your status.

    source: mom had a deuce-and-a-quarter when I was 8.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Regardless, sedans will not take up much slack when pickups decline. The sedan era is over. They make little sense over a small hatchback, wagon, CUV or whatever.

    Pickups are popular among those who don’t “need” one because they are big, comfortable and powerful. Americans have always loved those qualities in a vehicle. Thank you CAFE, the gift that keeps delivering beneficent unintended consequences.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Pickups used strictly as sedans (and coupes) are a relatively small problem, to the ecology.

      Luckily the vast majority of Americans would never in a million years drive anything that big or that thirsty, including midsize pickups.

      What really hurts sedan sales more that anything (and the ecology) is when CAFE relaxed “the standard” so basically everything EXCEPT sedans/coupes would enjoy the “truck” exemption, early in the ’90s.

      Look around. Pickups (not used for industry/commerce/ag/etc purposes, or partly) are but a small fraction of what’s on the road that could stand to be much smaller and or way more efficient.

      Remember when minivans were actually “mini”. Yeah that’s what I’m talking about.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Half tons have been the best cars on the market for a decade now. The only thing holding them back from eating the rest of the market was the bumpkin image and making them too expensive for bumpkins has pretty well shed that. Once white collar people were willing to be seen in them there was nowhere to go but up.

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    I’ve had a pickup in my fleet since 1981. I currently have two. A 94 Silverado ext cab and a 16 Silverado crew with hard tonneau. I also have a sedan 17 LaCrosse. Each one serves a purpose. If I had to downsize to only one vehicle it would be the crew cab pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Exactly. Complainers forget that historically if you owned a pickup, it was normal to own a sedan too. At least. And since 4wd was more of an exception than the rule, you also owned a Jeep CJ or other. Plus they can displace muscle cars too.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As a 4-time minivan owner, I’ve never understood the draw of a pickup. The minivan is much more versatile for the everyday use that most pickups see.

  • avatar

    Pickups are very usable cars

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    “Your author remains dumbfounded that enough decent-paying jobs exist in the frozen north to support the trend, even taking into consideration low interest rates and the popularity of epoch-spanning loan periods.”

    You are not alone, and this is why the U.S. auto industry is going to be in big trouble starting, I’m guessing here, around 5 years from now. Could be a little sooner. Could be a little later. They’ve put all of their eggs in this lucrative basket. Superfically understandable, I guess, but Millennials and the generation behind them are not going to buy into this long term though, so I hope Ford, GM, and FCA enjoy it while it lasts.

    No, they won’t start Jonesing for a brown manual wagon or a good 10Best sports sedan. Their economic circumstances and less materialistic mentality will, however, cause them to demand vehicles that are cheap to buy on normal payment terms, easy to park, and light on fuel use (or electricity).

    Hyundai, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota seem to get this and, while still capitalizing on the lucrative spendy truck trend, are keeping their small cars around and quietly building brand equity and making these models better. Our automakers? Not so much. This will backfire on them, virtually guaranteed.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    To the point of fuel economy, the rise from 14.6 to 17.8 on average is nearly an 18% improvement. I hate the trend of full-size pickups as suburban daily drivers, but that is by no means modest, and works out to saving nearly $500/year in gas (assuming 15k a year and $2.50/gal).

    On the other hand, I saw a couple clean GMT400’s (90’s GM full-sized trucks) on the road recently, and was astounded at how they were barely taller than a typical crossover. I’d probably be a little less intolerant of modern pickups if they went back to those older dimensions.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      The point frequently made that in terms of fleet consumption, a 3MPG improvement in 15-20 mpg vehicles conserves far more fossil fuel than a 3 mpg improvement in the fleet of 35-40 mpg vehicles looks to me to be a sound concept, so yes, 14.6 to 17.8 improvement is very encouraging. Some recent pickups achieving near 30 mpg highway mileage is rather astounding. OTOH, this may well facilitate sales since fuel costs become less of a factor for prospective buyers.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    The parking issue is always amusing. In my work in property management at a Colorado ski resort, it was always fun to witness the monster size pickups wedged into the less than ample spaces in the heated garages in the basements of the condo buildings. Pickup trucks often stuck out into the lane sometimes as much at 4 feet more than other vehicles. The most fun example was a Texas plate H-1 Hummer Diesel that could not fit through the garage door in our most premium, next to the ski lifts building. It was parked out in the severe cold with a very long extension cord running to it, presumably powering a block heater.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    While touring around the country-we went to visit the USS Constitution. I parked my (at the time) 2012 Silverado crew cab pickup in the parking structure right across the street from the pier. While the sign in the structure indicated it would clear-over the years they did updates to the electrical in the parking structure. So there was conduit running along the ceiling. The truck literally cleared by 1″.

    It was scary.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    I’ll make the case Trucks are better for the economy and improving Individual quality of life than any vehicle known to mankind. My 3/4 ton is the most versatile cost effective vehicle I own. With truck camper serves as a mobile sales office, add 20 foot trailer, haul equipment I install, Return from a build pull a travel trailer for camping. One could pull a boat, glider, plane, haul dirt, rock, gravel, decking, anything to improve the value of your home.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I doubt sedans will entirely die but I also doubt they will stage a come back where they have the largest share of the market. Pickups will start to decline in popularity but that will be at the expensive of crossovers of all different sizes. Crossovers have more functionality than sedans. Prices of trucks will continue to climb and many will look for vehicles that are less expensive but still have useable space and practicality. Regulators will direct more focus on increasing regulations on trucks because of their increased popularity. Larger cities could also put more regulations limiting the size of vehicles

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Crap expands to fill the available space. If you live somewhere land is valuable, then living and parking spaces are small, and dwellings and vehicles stick to their primary purpose: housing or moving people, respectively. If you live somewhere land is cheap, then people who would do fine in a condo suddenly think they need a ranchette, and then they think they need a pickup truck to haul hay for their two pet horses–and to look less like posers (they imagine) to their neighbors who actually need a truck to run a farm or build stuff. It may be dumb as hell, but it’s “fun.”

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t have anything against pickups since I still own one, but I do see them as a target for regulators whether they be Federal, State, or local. As metropolitan areas get larger there is pressure to add more regulations. I liked it better when pickups were not as popular because regulators were less interested in them and the cost of a new truck for the most part was considerably less expensive than a car but those days are long gone. In rural areas there is more space and the land is less expensive and less chance of trucks becoming regulated except for Federal emission, efficiency, and safety.

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