Pickup trucks still do the tough work, but more and more they are becoming a favorite means of transportation, and auto dealers must make themselves aware of the selling benefits.
Find out what has been added to pickups to create buyer attraction.
Pickup trucks, the workhorses of the auto market, are becoming more domesticated.
Auto makers are adopting new technologies to smooth off the rough edges for customers who typically spend hours behind the wheel of a big pickup both for work and play. Pickups can do tough work, but they can be tough on drivers with their noisy cabins, bouncy rides and clumsy handling.
Some of the upgrades are easy to spot, such as more power outlets in the cabins, including standard plugs for laptops, and features that make it easier to get at stuff in the bed. Other changes are out of sight, such as new hardware designed to tune out the freeway vibration that could make a long drive in a truck a fatiguing experience.
The big brands in the pickup business—Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Ram, Toyota and Nissan—have big incentives to make their models more appealing. Pickup buyers are becoming more demanding, auto makers say. And they earn above-average incomes—Ram says its average buyer earns about $66,654 a year while Ford owners average $70,419 a year.
Truck brands advertise the dirty work their trucks can do. But most real truck owners also use their vehicles as family haulers and grocery getters. About a third of big pickup owners say they use their vehicles daily for shopping errands, and about 85% will take their trucks on a family vacation at least once a year, says Alexander Edwards of Strategic Vision Inc., a San Diego company that studies consumer car-buying decisions.