The United States is known for its fondness for pickup trucks. You can find an extensive quantity of pickup trucks in the country, both old and new. While there are sedans, SUVs, vans, and other cars available, American roads are dominated by these big, brute vehicles.
The first pickup truck in the U.S. can be traced back to when Henry Ford introduced the Ford Model T Runabout in 1925. The rest was history as Americans fell in love with pickup trucks. Fast forward to the current time, the shakeup brought by the pandemic rattled many industries and the lives of many people around the world, especially in the United States. But is it true that America’s love for pickup trucks seems to be fading?
Supply chain woes
The issues in the supply chain have triggered the plummeting sales of pickup trucks for 2022. Aside from the shortage of semiconductor chips crucial for the manufacturing of vehicles, supply chain problems have affected the production of truck parts and accessories.
The volatility in rubber and steel prices greatly impacted the availability of certain automotive parts and accessories. Without rubber materials, the production of off-road tires and different tire types, as well as other rubber-made parts have been affected. Steel materials are crucial in creating forged parts like housings, blocks, truck wheels, etc. With the difficulty brought upon by the supply chain woes, the lead times for these parts used to be done in a few days can drag on for long weeks.
As supply chain chaos reduced the production of vehicles in America, auto sales will continue to fall to their lowest level in a decade, including pickup trucks. Last year, automakers could only make a limited number of vehicles for consumers to buy. They had to implement shutdowns of the assembly plants or cut the work shifts.
Truck sales are likely to remain lax but not entirely because of supply chain disasters. Another huge reason for that is the weakening demand.
Downward sales trend
Pickup truck sales are descending but it did not only happen in 2022. The sales seem to have been dropping for the past few years. Full-size trucks have declined big time in the U.S., especially in the Q1 of 2022. It has been an extremely tough time for the manufacturers of pickup trucks as sales continue to fall off across the board.
Ford had the toughest time among truck manufacturers but it managed to still gain the top spot with more than 1.9 million vehicles in 2022. The sales were off 2.7 percent through November but regained a bit when a sudden surge happened in December. The F-Series had a 17 percent drop most of the year but it kind of bounced back in the last month of the year — from 17 to 10 percent. December has been the best month for Ford since more than 75,000 units of F-Series pickups were sold, giving a 20.1 percent increase compared with a year earlier.
The sales for Ram trucks are still behind the F-Series, while Chevy Silverado is in third place. Ram 1500 also declined almost 18 percent. Although Ford’s 2022 sales outpaced its competitors, General Motors managed to eke out a 2.5 percent gain in sales for 2022. For GM, the heavy-duty pickup truck sales are separated from their half-tons. The heavy-duty trucks have more sales growth, which helps offsets the declining sales of their light-duty full-size pickups.
Aside from pickup trucks, one of the popular vehicles in the U.S. is SUVs. There are many impressive new models, especially those with three-row seating. SUVs can take a bite out of pickup trucks because they’re an ideal family vehicle. They can also pull a good-sized travel trailer.
Changes in pickup trucks
According to analysts, the downward trend will possibly continue as the year changes for popular truck brands Chevrolet, Ford, Ram, and Toyota. The downward trend is even worse for the sales record of midsize pickups.
Now that it is 2023, the age of Ram 1500 is five years old. Even though it has received updates over the years, the truck will need to do something new to stimulate sales. General Motors plans to increase its EV presence so it has created the Ram Revolution EV.
Since EVs are emerging, buyers are divided — some want to try the more modern electric, while others prefer to drive vehicles with internal combustion engines. Many truck buyers even prefer to wait before deciding to purchase because of the electric trucks from EV manufacturers like Rivian and Tesla.
The development budgets are shifting to favor electric vehicles. Automakers have to transition from fuel-powered trucks to EVs, especially now that the government has implemented the phase-out of vehicles powered by fossil fuels. Internal combustion engines will be discontinued by 2040, so all brand-new cars will run on cleaner energy (specifically hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, and electric) starting in 2030.
The startup Rivian has over 100,000 reservations for its R1T truck. The famous EV company, Tesla, says that it has received 1.5 million orders for its Cybertruck. But despite the hype of the Cybertruck, the production has been delayed a few times.
There is plenty of news surrounding compact pickups, spurred by the success of the Ford Maverick. Both Ram and Chevrolet offer compact trucks in other markets. However, it is surprising that they have not yet released one for the American market. Aside from the electrified Silverado, Chevrolet is developing a small electric truck. Toyota and Nissan are also eyeing the compact truck segment.
Ford’s electric F-150 has received some minor modifications but the largest change is the pricing for the new model year. For the base trim, the 2023 F-150 Lightning is up by $12,000, while the high-end trim range has gone up by $6,000.
Expect to see more Ford F-150 Lightning, Ram 1500 EV, Chevy Silverado EV, and other conventional truck models turned into electric versions in the coming years.
America’s favorite automobile
Pickup trucks remain a favorable vehicle for a lot of American consumers, may it be for personal or commercial use. It provides the flexibility to haul people, equipment, and other stuff. It is also preferred by those who live in rural locations, as trucks are a great vehicle for outdoor activities. Pickup trucks aren’t going anywhere as they will remain popular even if it seems that sales are descending.