We've said it before, but bears repeating: Pickup trucks are the financial engines of America's automakers. Good thing, then, that the segment is in rude health – in fact, Automotive News is suggesting that pickup truck sales are arguably healthier than they were pre-recession, even though the segment's volume is still significantly down from where it was before the bottom fell out of the US economy. That's because per-unit profits on full-size trucks are skyrocketing, outpacing the industry's average price increases by more than double since 2005. According to data from Edmunds, the average transaction price of a full-size pickup is now $39,915 – a heady increase over the $31,059 average price in 2005 – a gain of over 8 percent after inflation is factored in.

Just how important are trucks to automakers' bottom lines? Automotive News quotes a Morgan Stanley analyst as saying the Ford F-Series is responsible for 90 percent of the company's 2012 profits, and General Motors isn't far behind, with the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra twins chipping in about two-thirds of the automaker's earnings.

Automotive News points out that Detroit's automakers now have the money to invest in modernizing their full-size truck offerings, in part because they don't have the same overhead and legacy costs that pushed General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy. Certainly, the pickup segment has seen a lot of innovations as of late, including turbocharged V6s, coil-spring rear suspensions and active aero. Those improvements in important areas like fuel economy and ride comfort have given existing pickup buyers new reasons to upgrade. In addition, automakers are piling on the tech and luxury goodies, creating more and more high-content, high-profit models like the Ford F-150 King Ranch, Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn and Chevrolet Silverado High Country (shown).

The near-term picture for pickup sales looks rosy, too – much of the segment's recent gains have come without a commensurate boost in new housing increases, traditionally one of the key indicators for pickup sales. With the economy's slow but upward trajectory, analysts are predicting a rebound in the housing market that could drive pickup sales levels to volumes unseen since 2004 and 2005.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 91 Comments
      masteraq
      • 1 Year Ago
      The 90% is probably a bit deceptive. The gross margins on the F-series is equal to about 90% of the net profits, but is much less than 90% of the total gross margin, about a third. So if Ford dropped everything but pickups, they'd actually retain much less than 90% of their profits.
      rex
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lot of neg comments on truck buyers. People here are free to buy what they want. That bothers a lot of the we know what is good for you crowd.
      SLR722GT
      • 1 Year Ago
      It makes sense to raise their prices because lot of customers and companies demand trucks, but you'll be fine with a slightly used truck.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        EXP Jawa
        • 1 Year Ago
        I would contend that your credibility continues to erode every time you rehash the very tired "Government Motors" schtick. That, and the other silly names, such as Silverdodo. Really? That was the best you could come up with to back your arguments? I say this all as a Ford guy, BTW, so no GM fanboy bias here. I'm just tired of the immature name calling...
          Basil Exposition
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          Exactly. "Government Motors" = automatic downvote. Same goes for "Toyoduh" and the like.
          superchan7
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EXP Jawa
          Government Motors, Toyoturd, Obozo, name calling is getting old and usually comes from people who can't form a fact-based argument.
        foamypirate
        • 1 Year Ago
        Kind of like that \"$14,000 off MSRP on F150s!!!!!!!!\" radio ad I heard on the way to work today.
        Brewman15
        • 1 Year Ago
        It's not just GM trucks. It's not ALWAYS GM's fault. Just glancing at Dodge's website shows discounts from $2k-$4k, and Ford's website shows 0% financing for 60 months and discounts left and right for model, features, engine, loyalty bonus, competitor bonus, because the day ends in y, the color of your shirt, etc... and all that is before even walking into a dealership to haggle. All the truck manufacturers jack up the prices then offer 'discounts'...it's not just Chevy and GMC.
        FuelToTheFire
        • 1 Year Ago
        Feed not the troll.
      Tom
      • 1 Year Ago
      I read that 15% of republicans drive pickup trucks while 3% of democrats drive pickup trucks. My theory is, the manufacturers realized that if the republicans are stupid enough to put up the candidates they've been putting up the last few years, they're stupid enough to pay an absurd amount for a pickup truck. Apparently it's working.
        Ashton
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tom
        Tom: "I read that 15% of republicans drive pickup trucks while 3% of democrats drive pickup trucks." That's because Republicans use their trucks for work, while Democrats just collect welfare.
        dovegraybird
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tom
        So in other words you believe that 82% of truck owners are independents or don't vote
        clquake
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tom
        Funny how the states that dish out the most welfare are Republican states.
        appalled_patriot
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tom
        actually, I will agree with your data, but your off as to the reason. Us republican work for4 a living. We need the trucks to buy and haul our tools, groceries, etc. The Dems dont have trucks because Obammy handouts keep them at home, watching daytime TV and talking to each other on the Obammy phone. Work is a foreign concept to them, Work, is to be performed by others so they can lie back and do nothing but complain and vote for the next one that will give them whatever they want. That clarify things for you now Tom?
      Hazdaz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Mullally should be fired for allowing Ford to have 90% of the company's 2012 profits come from ONE vehicle. And not just that, but its ONE vehicle that, for the most part, is only sold in ONE car market. That's the kind of irresponsible management that doomed the Detroit car makers in the past. GM at least is getting "only" 66% of its profits from their full size pickups. Still too much dependance on one vehicle, but no where nearly as dangerous as what Ford is doing.
        El Sunbird
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hazdaz
        Fire the guy that made several car models successful and their truck models even MORE successful. You're a real genius.
      vizcarmb
      • 1 Year Ago
      As pick up sales increase penis size have been decreasing
        Rich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @vizcarmb
        Really? Your dick gets bigger or smaller depending on what you drive? See a doctor son!
          Rob
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rich
          Mine does, often interfering when attempting to heel/toe something fun. On the other hand, cars with an "eco" light on the dash tend to leave me feeling a bit flaccid.
        SLR722GT
        • 1 Year Ago
        @vizcarmb
        Well Jermy Clarkson did say that the displacement of your engine is inversely proportional to your penis size.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @vizcarmb
        [blocked]
      carboy55
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fools and their money are soon parted. Gas prices drop a nickel and manly men who use a truck for commuting and grocery duty flood in to overpay for their rolling man sausages. Then when prices inevitably go up, they squeal like little girls. It\'s comical, and it goes on and on, predictable as clockwork.
        Hazdaz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carboy55
        That's what happens in a country that can't see past tomorrow, let alone weeks, months or even years into the future.
        The Other Bob
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carboy55
        I drive 8 miles to work - round trip. I bougt my truck used with low miles. I spend less than a compact car-owner with an average commute. I use my truck as a truck often. I enjoy driving a truck and made it work economically.
          clquake
          • 1 Year Ago
          @The Other Bob
          So...It's like saying I drive a Hummer one mile round trip and use less gas than the guy who drives 200 miles a day in a Prius, and I get to park on top of other cars when I feel like it. The comparison is completely invalid.
      Bill
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not to veer too far off topic, but was a neice's h.s. graduation party last weekend. I'm originally from a rural area, but city boy now. I was kind of surprised that all the young, h.s. age guys had ginourmous quad cab Dodges and Fords, diesels, 4x4's, etc., and loaded with custom stuff. Ok some of them had well-off daddies, but I know those things aren't cheap. Definitely not the scene when I was in h.s.
        dukeisduke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bill
        Nope. I knew a couple of kids that got new cars for graduation (like the guy whose grandmother gave him a brand new '78 Celica GT Liftback), but nothing like that.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      And yet so many truck beds are empty... If you want to drive a full size pick-up like a "daily compact commuter", then hush up and pay the costs.
      paqza
      • 1 Year Ago
      And I still can't get a decent mid-sized work truck with small-diesel motor like I can in Mexico...
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Most America brands create "false value". I've seen (with high frequency) American cars heavily discounted. You really don't have to pay full MSRP on an American car anywhere. Trucks are especially included. They are almost always up to $10,000.00 off MSRP. I think the higher MSRP just creates a false sense of "value" so when your buying a truck for $38,000 on a lot, that may price out to $46,000 on the makers website, you feel more secure about your purchase. Its similar to JCPenny's game of asking manufacturers to print higher MSRPs on the labels so when they sell it for 1/3 less, it appears to be a wonderful discount.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        Agreed. Toyota and Honda have a different kind of false value -- they rely on people to remember that 25 years ago, their cars used to be well-built and cheap.
    • Load More Comments