Even if you haven’t paid close attention to auto sales lately, it should come as no surprise that pickup trucks are big business. They’re pretty much everywhere. But even if you know trucks are popular, it can still be shocking to see how many get sold each year. Ford alone sold more than 900,000 F-Series pickups in the U.S. last year, and overall the segment accounted for 2,944,395 sales. That’s an increase of about 122,000 trucks compared to last year. Based on those figures, you might think the sky is the limit when it comes to truck sales, but that might not necessarily be the case.
According to a survey conducted by the car-buying website CarGurus, 68 percent of truck owners think their trucks are overpriced. 48 percent of owners also believe trucks aren’t made as well as they used to be, and 17 percent said they will probably move to a different segment next time they buy. Of the owners who don’t plan to buy another truck, 37 percent expect to switch to an SUV or crossover, and 35 percent expect to switch to a sedan.
CarGurus also found that increasing prices are affecting brand loyalty. A full 70 percent of truck owners surveyed said they would buy from a competitor if their favorite brand raised its prices by $10,000. Last year, that figure was only 64 percent. Loyalty also varied wildly between brands. For example, 41 percent of Toyota owners said they wouldn’t consider any other truck, while only 28 percent of Chevrolet and 27 percent of Ford owners said the same.
That said, price isn’t the only reason some of the owners surveyed are considering abandoning the truck segment. A surprising 42 percent said bad fuel economy was their main concern.
With truck sales up year-over-year last year, it’s possible that these results don’t represent the country as a whole. We also would have appreciated CarGurus including data on the number of full-size truck owners considering a switch to midsize trucks. But it certainly makes next week’s release of first-quarter sales figures that much more interesting.