Prices on new pickup trucks have been steadily increasing as more people are choosing them as their family vehicle and in turn are wanting more luxury features. But this rise in prices has been making it harder for the average buyer to afford one.
Data from Edmunds shows through September, the average transaction price for a full-size pickup is $48,377; a 48 percent increase when compared to 10 years ago and 19 percent increased when compared to 2013.
"A 48-percent increase in price is the highest price increase for that time period out of all vehicle categories. Even at $45,000, it prices a lot of people out," said Ivan Drury, senior analyst at Edmunds to the Detroit Free Press.
"There are consumers who can afford the bare bones basic vehicles at $30,000, but once you're shown an option like a ventilated seat versus a cloth seat and it's 90 degrees outside, it becomes a very compelling argument to say yes. Ten years ago, comfort packages weren't offered on trucks. People are saying, 'I want those even if those vehicles are used to haul mulch.' "
A very telling sign that truck prices are beginning to push people out is the massive difference between the expected and the actually average transactional price. Cox Automotive reports that buyers of a full-size pickup expected to pay an average of $38,529 through the month August. The actual average transaction price through August was $47,987 according to Cox.
Also seeing a rise is the average income of truck buyers. Alexander Edwards, president of consultancy Strategic Vision tells the Free Press that the median household income of a truck buyer has risen form $76,660 in 2009 to $100,305 in 2018. More telling is that the truck buyer has a higher income than a car buyer ($95,355).
Some are beginning to worry that pickup trucks are becoming a bit too expensive.
"In 1988, I sold my first pickup at $20,000 and I thought, 'Man, who could ever afford this?' Now, they're $60,000, $70,000, $80,000. ... I'm not sure everybody wants all that technology, but we're adding all of it. We're actually in the luxury business at those prices," said Charlie Gilchrist, owner of Gilchrist Automotive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
A survey done by CarGurus correlates Gilchrist's view. Asking 203 current pickup owners from their user panel, CarGurus reports that owners would call paying $35,000 on a truck a good deal. But increase it to the average price of $45,200 and its too much. Respondents also said they would be willing to give up such features as a automatic open-close tailgate and Wi-Fi hotspot for a lower price.
“This survey showed that pickup truck owners believe some of the new technology is nice to have, but not essential and not worth the price. We’re at an interesting time in the pickup truck category where many people are using their pickup trucks for more than just work. Those looking for a truck purely for work purposes don’t need all of the new luxury features, and those looking for a truck for commuting or leisure don’t need all of the new work features,” said Madison Gross, CarGurus' senior manager of customer insights.
Source: Detroit Free Press