QOTD: How Do You/Would You Use Your Truck?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Axios, the news source for people who like bullet points, has a post out today examining how the pickup truck market has changed over the years, with an emphasis on the shift in consumer preferences from smaller trucks to big, honkin' full-size rigs.

Axios tapped a research firm for data and analysis, and the firm found something that shouldn't be a surprise to readers of this blog -- most full-size truck buyers don't much use their trucks for truck things like hauling or towing.

From the piece: "Survey data from vehicle research firm Strategic Vision shows a third of today’s pickup owners rarely or never use their truck for hauling, while two-thirds rarely or never use it for towing."

No shit.

Automakers have spent decades marketing the rugged image of trucks. If you're a certain age and you hear "Like a Rock" you think of Chevy ads. Trucks have an image of being tough, reliable, and having the ability to get you anywhere you want to go.

One might think that marketing only works on a certain demographic, but even a sports-car-loving urbanite like me isn't immune to the effect -- I sometimes swoon over a pickup just because it looks badass. Never mind that owning a full-size truck would be a pain in my neighborhood. Or that I don't tow. Or that I don't often have use for a pickup bed to haul stuff. Every time I test a truck, I understand why the image sells.

Maybe it's a family thing -- both my parents have owned several trucks, at least three of which were full-size. And while they certainly did make use of the bed, it was still empty most of the time. My parents bought the trucks because they liked them, not because they needed their utility.

That's the point Axios is making here -- lots of truck buyers are just normal suburbanites who don't tow, don't use their trucks for work, and usually leave the bed unladen. Sure, maybe they use it for the odd Home Depot run or tailgate at a college-football game once a year. Maybe.

This, of course, is also why so many trucks have high-zoot interiors now -- and their popularity is a big part of what has pushed MSRPs into the stratosphere.

But you knew that. My question to you is, if you have a truck, do you use the bed? If so, what for? Do you tow? Same question for those of you who aren't truck owners, but are thinking of purchasing one.

As for me, I am about as handy as Tim Taylor, so I don't foresee myself ever owning a truck for trips to Menard's. And while life can certainly change, I don't see frequent towing in the near future. Finally, if I wanted to off-road on weekends, smaller 'utes like a Bronco or Wrangler are better suited to that purpose.

Outside of the image, the only reason I'd buy a truck for utility purposes is to tailgate. Nothing like preparing to watch your favorite team lose while you swill cheap beer and grill up encased meats.

What about you? Sound off below.

[Image: Ford]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 60 comments
  • UncleAL UncleAL on Jun 02, 2023

    I use my truck to go get haircuts....go to the stupidmarket for expensive eggs...go to the library to read car magazines...drive through my Condo complex to piss off the neighbors...drive to the local railroad station to pick up my daughter if she decides to visit (without her husband)...go to the Home Depot to pick up those TWO bags of fertilizer...drop my wife off at the local nail salon...drive to the Dollar Store for those cheap bags of Chitos and Pretzel Nuggets....drive to the local liquor store for my cheap bottle of Bourbon...drive the Exxon or Mobil for all the gas I'm using, when I could be filling up a Dodge Challenger Scat Pack....

  • UncleAL UncleAL on Jun 02, 2023

    ...Oh, did I forget ? My Dodge Challenger gets 50% more gas mileage and 200% more fun !

  • Lou_BC Blows me away that the cars pictured are just 2 door vehicles. How much space do you need to fully open them?
  • Daniel J Isn't this sort of a bait and switch? I mean, many of these auto plants went to the south due to the lack of unions. I'd also be curious as how, at least in my own state, unions would work since the state is a right to work state, meaning employees can still work without being apart of the union.
  • EBFlex No they shouldn’t. It would be signing their death warrant. The UAW is steadfast in moving as much production out of this country as possible
  • Groza George The South is one of the few places in the U.S. where we still build cars. Unionizing Southern factories will speed up the move to Mexico.
  • FreedMike I'd say that question is up to the southern auto workers. If I were in their shoes, I probably wouldn't if the wages/benefits were at at some kind of parity with unionized shops. But let's be clear here: the only thing keeping those wages/benefits at par IS the threat of unionization.