This is an interesting phenomenon…
We see all kinds of interesting data analysis coming from S&P Global Mobility all the time. However, one published back on January 18 immediately made us do a double-take. What the firm claims is Ford, Chevy, and Ram pickup truck owners are on the decline as they switch to buying SUVs at an increasing rate.
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Depending on the circles you run inside, either you’re going to say “this makes a lot of sense” or you’re going to wonder what S&P is smoking. If you’re in a blue collar job, especially something construction related, likely you fall into the latter group. Meanwhile, if you work a white collar job in an office, you’re probably more of the former ilk.
What S&P found in its analysis of market data is that the share of half-ton truck retail sales has been on the slide for over 2 years now. In fact, the Q3 2022 and October 2022 retail shares, which were 7.8% and 7.5% respectively, were lower than any other quarter since Q3 2012.
However, S&P admits the retail market shares for three-quarter and one-ton heavy-duty pickups has been steady during the same time period. The conclusion made is people aren’t trading up for bigger trucks. However, this does point out such HD pickups are used for qualities you can’t get in another type of vehicle, which we think is why the numbers have stayed consistent. After all, if you need to tow heavy machinery or a big horse trailer regularly, there are few consumer vehicles up to the task.
Back to the half-ton market, S&P says loyalty to Ford, Chevy, and Ram models has slid at the same time households are acquiring more SUVs. Thus, the conclusion is people are ditching their F-150 or Ram 1500 for an Expedition or Sequoia. The firm concluded this trend is most pronounced for Ram 1500 owners with a 6% increase in migration to SUVs.
There are certain things you can do with a truck you can’t do with an SUV and vice versa, so that might help explain the shift. With these half-ton trucks, towing capability can be similar to many full-size SUVs, so that’s a wash. However, with a pickup you can throw dirt, rocks, bales of hay, a motorcycle, or whatever gross, dingy stuff you need to in the bed, then hose it out afterward. There’s an advantage to that.
However, as families grow having a third row of seats might become a thing of necessity. It would be helpful if we could see demographic information about the families who own half-ton trucks and especially about those who migrate to SUVs. We’d be willing to bet a fair number of them have 3 or more children. In other words, a deeper dig into the households moving away from these pickups could shed some light on exactly what’s going on here.
Source: S&P Global Mobility
Images via Stellantis, GM, Ford