American love affair with trucks seems to be waning

The days of Americans migrating from cars to ever larger pickup trucks and SUVs may finally be behind us as a perfect storm seems to be hitting the big truck segment. The combination of high fuel prices and the implosion of the real estate bubble has led to full-size pickups dropping to an 11.7 percent market share. Even mighty Toyota is offering $5,000 rebates on the year-old Tundra. Unlike the SUV market, a much larger percentage of pickup sales are destined for commercial rather than personal use. With new home construction coming to a screeching halt in many areas, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other contractors have stopped buying new trucks. Not only is that hurting the manufacturers, it's also hitting the second hand market. The depreciation on a three year old pickup has gone from $2,650 in 2006 to $4,200 this year. While GM and Dodge are both introducing hybrid versions of their pickup trucks in the next couple of years, they will likely do little to reverse this trend as they will be expensive and likely relatively low volume. The introduction of new light-duty diesel engines in 2009 may help, but if the price of diesel doesn't get closer to gasoline, any savings in efficiency could be lost to more expensive fuel.

[Source: BusinessWeek]

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