Five years into a remarkable rebound from near-disaster, the Detroit 3 automakers still count on sales of pickup trucks and SUVs in the North American market for the bulk of their global profits, despite efforts to shift buyers into smaller, greener vehicles as part of a broader move to remake the Motor City.
Reuters reported that promotion of green technologies, notably hybrid and electric vehicles, has been a signature policy of the Obama administration, which oversaw the $80 billion taxpayer-funded bailout in 2009 of General Motors and Chrysler.
Those same U.S. taxpayers, however, have shown a marked preference for big trucks such as the best-selling Ford F-150 over cleaner, more economical “electrified” vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt.
Full-size pickups and SUVs remain a pillar of profitability in Detroit, accounting for more than two-thirds of U.S. automakers’ global pre-tax earnings, a Reuters analysis indicates, even though they make up just 16% of North American vehicle production.
“There is no doubt that full-size trucks are still the single largest component” of pre-tax profits at General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group LLC, a unit of Italy’s Fiat SpA, according to Sterne Agee auto analyst Michael Ward.
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