The sales numbers are in, and it looks like pickup trucks, crossovers, and SUVs are pretty much kicking the crap out of standard passenger cars. Despite the fact that five years ago, the segments were pretty much equally split in terms of sales volumes, cars are now being outsold by trucks by a ratio of 2-to-1. All signs point to this trend continuing and the disparity increasing even more. The likelihood that you may own a pickup truck is on the rise. Don't be too alarmed since they're better than ever, along with the huge selection of crossovers and SUVs.
If you thought a pickup truck would never be in the cards for you because of their lack of refinement and practicality, think again. Not only are they easier to drive, their interiors and technology are on par with some of the best passenger cars out there. Even fuel efficiency numbers have improved, unless you get a RAM Power Wagon, that is. Gas prices may have risen recently, but they remain on the low side.
The trend is directly reflected not just in terms of sales but also in terms of what automakers are choosing to invest in. Ford has dropped once very important passenger cars (Taurus, Fusion, Focus), focusing more on crossovers (Focus Active), pickup trucks (Ranger, Ranger Raptor) and SUVs. Mitsubishi killed off its Lancer and Lancer Evo, now pushing sales of the Eclipse Cross crossover. Chevy is close to burying the Impala and possibly even the plug-in hybrid Volt sedan.
"There's definitely further growth ahead," Jeff Schuster, president of LMC Automotive's Americas operation. Schuster estimates that sales of trucks could actually account for 75 to 80 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales by the year 2025. That means manufacturers will have to seriously consider whether or not it's even worth pursuing more car models or eliminating most of them in response to the significant changes in the market.
The kind of new vehicles being introduced should be a strong indicator of the expected market segment splits. Bank of America Merrill Lynch actually forecasts that 71 percent of vehicle introductions in the 2019 through 2022 model years will be light trucks. That's essentially a paradigm shift for automakers, and points to American tastes making a major shift away from cars like Accords, Camrys, Sonatas, and the like.
It seems that manufacturers have done a fine job of appealing to our sensibilities for taller riding vehicles by infusing them with the latest technology and the best comfort levels. Look down the street where you live, or just look around you on your commute. It seems that trucks are permeating the landscape more than ever before. See? Kinda makes you want to start shopping for a full-sized, luxurious crew cab pickup, doesn't it?