Now there's an attention-grabbing headline, eh? Although the answer to the riddle - pickup trucks and SUVs - might be somehow deflating, the numbers involved deserve a going over. According to TrueCar's figures (click on the table to enlarge), six of the year's ten best-selling vehicles in the US that sell for a transaction price above $50,000 are body-on-frame, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the only foreigner to crack the top five.

Every enthusiast knows that pickup trucks are 'Murica's most popular vehicle by a colossal margin, and there have been plenty of reports about the popularity of luxuriously appointed trucks and SUVs, but compare these figures from TrueCar: 70 percent of Chevrolet Tahoe sales have a transaction price above $50K, and The Bowtie is expected to make $3.9 billion in revenue on 66,945 predicted high-dollar sales; 95.1 percent of E-Class sales break $50K, so the German company will make $4.0 billion on 67,006 predicted sales in that pricing sphere. It's about the only time you'll see the Tahoe ranked right next to Mercedes' bread-and-butter sedan. Ram is ahead of those two with $4.2B coming from $50K-plus sales. The Ford F-Series does almost as much revenue as the next three combined, with an expected $10.8 billion coming from sales of trucks over $50K - more than a quarter of the model's total sales, when a base F-150 can be had for about $26,000.

Yes, the Germans make a lot more money on fewer sales, but considering the comparison, the bottom line isn't too troubled by such facts. Weighing like-for-like, the full-size Ford walks it in every category; elsewhere, the Chevrolet Silverado outsells the Ram, but the Ram outsells the Chevy by 6.7 percent above $50K. And for all the flak GMC takes over swapping out grilles, the Sierra also outsells the Chevy in the well-appointed segment, 16.1 percent of sales versus 11 percent – the Professional Grade brand is a huge profit center for The General. You'll find more info in the TrueCar press release below.
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TrueCar finds pickup trucks far outsell premium brands among top 10 vehicles over $50,000
Ford F-Series pickup sales over $50,000 surpass combined BMW 3, 5, 7 Series luxury car sales


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (December 10, 2014) - TrueCar, Inc., the negotiation-free car buying and selling platform, finds mainstream pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles dominate U.S. vehicle sales with transaction prices exceeding $50,000, accounting for six of the 10 best sellers in that portion of the market.

Ford Motor Co.'s F-Series pickup trucks lead the industry in sales of vehicles with transaction prices over $50,000 by a wide margin, with projected volume of 189,776 units this year, based on TrueCar forecasts. That will likely surpass total U.S. volume of luxury car benchmarks including BMW's combined 3, 5 and 7 Series sales or total deliveries for the Audi brand this year.

"Conventional wisdom says German premium brands would dominate the list of top-selling vehicles over $50,000," said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. "The reality is that this price segment of the market is dominated by American pickups and SUVs sold through non-premium brand dealers."

Continued improvements in the U.S. economy, including recovering housing and construction starts and relatively inexpensive fuel, have buoyed demand for trucks and luxury vehicles this year. TrueCar projects total sales of high-priced models to far exceed 1 million units this year.

Some 8.1 percent of total industry volume this year will be cars and trucks transacting for more than $50,000, up from 6.6 percent of total sales in 2013, based on TrueCar data. By comparison, through November the average transaction price for all new vehicles is $31,831 this year with overall auto sales growing 5.4 percent.

Ford's revenue from F-Series transacting at prices over $50,000 will be approximately $10.8 billion, representing about a third of total revenue for the pickup line, which TrueCar estimates at $32.2 billion. F-Series is the best-selling and highest-revenue model line in the U.S. auto industry.

Fiat Chrysler's Ram pickups rank second in the over-$50,000 price segment with estimated sales of 76,266 this year. Mercedes-Benz's E-Class sedan-a luxury benchmark-is third in the over-$50,000 group with estimated sales of 67,006.

"It wasn't so long ago that $30,000 was considered an important pricing threshold and the province of premium brands only," Krafcik said. "A better economy, cheaper gasoline and improving vehicle quality have changed that. Now, with over a million new vehicle sales transacting over $50,000, it's fair to say '50 is the new 30.'"

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