The veritable explosion of pickup truck sales during the first quarter this year– with the sale of full-size pickup trucks up 26% to date year-over-year according to Kelly Blue Book’s Automotive Insights – is being driven by a host of factors, according to industry experts, including vastly improved fuel economy and greater electronic “connectivity.”
“Nearly every major pickup truck manufacturer – General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler– introduced a new redesigned pickup in the last year with better fuel economy, driveability, and new interior technologies,” James Bell, head of consumer affairs for GM, told Fleet Owner.
“Better fuel economy is a real driver here: we’re talking about 23 miles per gallon in highway driving,” he added. “That’s the kind of math that can significantly change total cost of operation (TCO) calculations for commercial users.”
Fleet Owner reported that the official fuel economy numbers released by GM for back in April for the 2014 Silverado, based on the use of 87 octane gasoline, are: 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined for its two-wheel drive versions and 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined for four-wheel drive models.
Bell – speaking by phone from a GM event being held at the Knibbe Ranch outside San Antonio TX to introduce the 2014 Silverado “High Country” special edition pickup model – added that as the average age of pickup trucks on the road today now around 12 years old, replacement demand is also adding some extra juice to sales in this segment.
“That high average age means that many customers probably haven’t been to a dealership showroom floor in a while; they haven’t seen the fuel economy nor the capability available with today’s pickups,” he stressed.
Rebecca Lindland, an economic and automotive analyst with Rebel Three Media & Consulting, added that the overall economic climate is changing for the better for many businesses – especially small firms such as landscapers, contractors, electricians, etc. – that rely on pickup trucks.
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