GM Pickups Join Texas Battle for Supremacy


Bloomberg News

Almost everybody in Texas drives a pickup, Mark Reuss, GM North Americas president, discovered while visiting the State Fair of Texas last week.

Find out more about what’s at stake as GM works on improving its truck lines.

As Mark Reuss, General Motors Co.’s North America president, entered his first State Fair of Texas yesterday, he could see what GM is up against in a crucial battleground state for full-size pickup sales. [Read story on GM struggling to keep up with truck demand]

“Everybody drives pickups and loves pickups here,” Reuss said in an interview at the fair in Dallas, where GM revealed its new heavy-duty trucks. The regular half-ton pickups, all-new this year, began arriving in showrooms in May. “It feels bigger than life, and it is.”

GM, which hadn’t redesigned its pickups since 2006, has seen its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra combined market share slip to 33 percent in the Texas half-ton truck market last year from 36 percent in 2008, according to researcher Polk. That puts it behind Ford’s F-Series, which is the national leader and top-seller in Texas last year with 38 percent of the state’s market. Reuss said GM can overtake Ford in Texas.

“We’ve got the newest truck in the market; it’s been a long time since General Motors had the newest truck,” Reuss said. “The opinion and recognition of the how good the truck is starts in Texas. If we can win here with a great truck, there are ripple effects here across the whole country.”

Texas is the largest market for new pickups in the U.S., representing one in five vehicles sold in the state last year, according to Polk. It’s about one in eight nationally. More large pickups were purchased in Texas last year than the total for the next three largest truck markets: California, Oklahoma and Florida.

“There’s more at stake in Texas in terms of volume and opportunities,” said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with, a Santa Monica, California-based website that tracks auto sales. “It’s looking like it’s shaping up to be quite the battle between the players.”