Foursome: America Shuns Non-Crew Cabs Like Never Before

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Once upon a time, crew cab pickups were for logging crews in the Pacific Northwest, not families. That’s obviously changed. Whereas the typical pickup configuration was a regular cab, long-bed setup (efficient!), times change, and with it the take rates of various truck configurations.

In the eventful 2020 model year, it seems the buying public has never had less use for once-common body styles. It’s four doors, or get lost.

According to data posted by JATO Dynamics, the 2020 model year — thus far — has seen the take rate of regular and extended cab trucks sink to new lows. In the U.S., crew cab pickups made up 83.1 percent of 2020MY pickups sold through May of this year. That’s up from 77.8 percent for the 2019 model year, and a significant jump from the 69 percent seen back in the hazy, long-forgotten year of 2016.

In Canada, a full 88.9 percent of 2020 pickup rolling stock has been crew cab in nature, once again showing that, despite their tireless environmental smugness, Canadians like their trucks a lot. Last year’s take was just 80.5 percent, and 2016 shows crew cabs eating up 79 percent of the market. A big gain for 2020, clearly.

Regular cabs, which barely make up more than a drop in the overall glass, have been relegated almost entirely to fleets, with few rugged individualists chalking up some sales in the retail market. You’re most likely to see a white, regular cab F-150 XL bearing the logo of some sort of landscaping company on its doors.

Full disclosure: I dig the vehicle seen above.

For the current model year, regular cab pickups made up only 3 percent of the U.S. mix, down from 6.6 percent in 2016. Extended cabs account for 14 percent of sales in the U.S., down from 18.7 percent in 2019 and 24.4 percent in 2016.

In Canada, extended cabs make up 9.6 percent of the market, meaning that true two-door, backseat-lacking models account for just 1.5 percent of all pickup sales. That’s half that of the United States.

While it’s true that production timing and model changes can account for some of 2020’s decline in sales of unconventional truck bodystyles (General Motors saved its new-generation regular cabs until last, with the Chevrolet Silverado HD regular cab only going on sale last month; Nissan ditched unpopular configurations for 2020, including the Titan and Titan HD regular cab), the public’s growing preference for crew cabs is clear.

[Images: Chris Tonn/TTAC, General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Eng_alvarado90 Eng_alvarado90 on Jun 23, 2020

    Personally I thought extended cab sales would have a comeback now that some automakers like GM and FCA have been building full size trucks with 4 independent doors (B pillars) for at least half a decade. Maybe we need Ford to join the party? I consider the extended cab to be the best trade-off body style nowadays since you still get a standard 6.5' ft bed, an improved structure now that they come with B pillars and a roomy enough cab for most people. I'm 5'9" and I can fit my family good enough on my Ram Quad Cab/Extended Cab. My dad's F150 is also Extended Cab and works good enough (still would be better if the rear doors had their own B pillar)

    • Gtem Gtem on Jun 23, 2020

      The fly in the ointment is child seats. I researched this to death as I tried to justify sticking with a Quad cab Ram or DoubleCab GM (or SuperCab Ford but I knew that was a lost cause from the get-go). There's simply not enough rear seat space (cushion length, or leg room) to accomodate bulky rear-facing seats well. A lot (most?) of people want to buy a truck once and have it work for family needs for years.

  • Longshift Longshift on Jun 23, 2020

    At least one manufacturer will always produce regular cab full-size trucks with the long beds, because they give the best hauling bang-for-the-buck. You get an eight-foot bed for basically the same overall vehicle length as an extended cab with a six-foot bed or a crew cab with a five-foot bed. Where I live the U-Hauls and Lowes rent regular cab long bed trucks. In fact, we rented one, an F-150, last year to make runs to the landfill. It was a very comfortable, quiet, smooth-riding truck, and the price is very reasonable. I would buy a regular cab short bed with the naturally-aspirated V-6 if they were not so big.