Europe is starting to develop a case of pickup truck fever. According to data from JATO Dynamics, 80,300 trucks were sold in Europe in the first half of this year. This pales in comparison to the 1.1 million full-size and 216,194 midsize trucks sold in the U.S. in the same timeframe. But sales in Europe are climbing. LMC Automotive says sales of trucks in Europe are up 19 percent and they predict sales will crest 200,000 next year.
Why this steady rise in pickups? According to Automotive News Europe, it comes down to the lack of alternatives and government regulations.
"One of the reasons is usage. Previously people used large, body-on-frame SUVs to tow boats or horse trailers. Nowadays, with high regulations and pressure [to move to] small engines with dual-clutch automatic gearboxes, it's not really possible to use SUVs to tow. People with these hobbies need to have a truck," said Renault's product director of pickups, Anton Lysyy.
Take for example the Land Rover Defender. When production of this off-road icon ended last year, many buyers switched to the likes of the Ford Ranger as it offered the off-road capability of the Defender.
Truck manufacturers have taken notice of this increase in sales and are starting to offer more extras. That includes new infotainment systems, active safety equipment, and a long list of accessories such as hardtops. New manufacturers are wanting to take a slice of this growing market as well. Mercedes-Benz will soon be launching their X-Class, while Renault announced their Alaskan truck (both models based on the Nissan Navara). PSA Group revealed earlier this year that it would be working with Chinese automaker Changan Automobile on developing a new truck that would be sold in China and Europe in 2020.
Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)