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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Welcome to the Era of Expensive, Luxury Trucks

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      And automakers don't know where the breaking point is

    The State Fair of Texas began last week and truck manufacturers were out in force with new models to tempt consumers in the largest truck market in the U.S. Both Ford and Ram Trucks rolled out new luxury trims of their pickups - Ford with the Limited and Ram with the Longhorn Southfork. Both trims can easily reach $100,000 which to some is pushing it. But marketers at the truck manufacturers tell Automotive News they don't know where the ceiling is on how much consumers are willing to spend.

    "It's hard to guess how big the market is. I don't think trucks have found a ceiling yet. You get customers who want every bell and whistle," said Todd Eckert, Ford's truck group marketing manager.

    "For us, it is not about the dollar amount. It's about meeting the needs of the customers. We see an opportunity in the marketplace to bring the Limited trim to Super Duty. We know customers will demand it."

    Luxury models are in demand and truck manufacturers are having a difficult time keeping them in stock. For example, more than half of Ford's F-Series Super Duty trucks sold are the high-end models - Lariat, King Ranch, and Limited.

    As there is no ceiling yet, manufacturers are considering going even further. Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet truck marketing director said they have found a group of customers that are willing to pay "for a bigger, more luxurious and more capable truck."

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    And the funny thing is, even the highest of the highest ones are still way behind in tech and features that are now prevalent in luxury cars. 

     

    Take, or instance, the current crop of the half-ton segment afaik- the F-150 Limited. It has no HUD. It doesn't have swiveling/adaptive headlights. It doesn't have sun shades in any of the back windows. It only has dual-zone climate control. Front driver's seat is only 10-way power. It doesn't have a massage function. No heated windshield. Audio systems are nowhere near on the same level as European lux sedans. Materials are vastly inferior. Switchgear is, too. No soft close doors. 

    Those are just things right off the top of my head. I'm sure if I could think of more if I gave it a little thought.

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    1 hour ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Where do HD Denalis top out at?   I assume GM has some action in this area...

    About low $80,000s.

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    5 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

    And the funny thing is, even the highest of the highest ones are still way behind in tech and features that are now prevalent in luxury cars. 

     

    Take, or instance, the current crop of the half-ton segment afaik- the F-150 Limited. It has no HUD. It doesn't have swiveling/adaptive headlights. It doesn't have sun shades in any of the back windows. It only has dual-zone climate control. Front driver's seat is only 10-way power. It doesn't have a massage function. No heated windshield. Audio systems are nowhere near on the same level as European lux sedans. Materials are vastly inferior. Switchgear is, too. No soft close doors. 

    Those are just things right off the top of my head. I'm sure if I could think of more if I gave it a little thought.

    It's still a pickup truck, not a BMW 7 series.  Chances are that Cadillac and (perhaps) Lincoln will do well here, given the parentage of both.

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    Just now, William Maley said:

    About low $80,000s.

    So there is room to go higher with a Cadillac Escalade branded HD pickup.. ;)  

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    1 hour ago, Frisky Dingo said:

    And the funny thing is, even the highest of the highest ones are still way behind in tech and features that are now prevalent in luxury cars. 

     

    Take, or instance, the current crop of the half-ton segment afaik- the F-150 Limited. It has no HUD. It doesn't have swiveling/adaptive headlights. It doesn't have sun shades in any of the back windows. It only has dual-zone climate control. Front driver's seat is only 10-way power. It doesn't have a massage function. No heated windshield. Audio systems are nowhere near on the same level as European lux sedans. Materials are vastly inferior. Switchgear is, too. No soft close doors. 

    Those are just things right off the top of my head. I'm sure if I could think of more if I gave it a little thought.

    Very good point.  And it is because you can only dress up a work truck F150 so much.  The vehicle isn't designed in the first place with all that in mind.  This is one reason the Escalade doesn't have a panoramic glass roof, while Range Rover and Mercedes GLS do.

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    1 hour ago, riviera74 said:

    It's still a pickup truck, not a BMW 7 series.  Chances are that Cadillac and (perhaps) Lincoln will do well here, given the parentage of both.

     

    11 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    Very good point.  And it is because you can only dress up a work truck F150 so much.  The vehicle isn't designed in the first place with all that in mind.  This is one reason the Escalade doesn't have a panoramic glass roof, while Range Rover and Mercedes GLS do.

     

    Hey, I'm not saying there's reasons they don't. I'm simply pointing out there's lots of room for them to continue to climb upmarket. The opportunity for more markup and greater profits is there.

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    In talking about uber-luxury trucks -- don't assume all the same features high end luxury sedans are sought after in a high end truck. These are not the same buyers and these wouldn't be cross-shopped merely because both (potentially) had massaging seats. Different demographic that values different features.

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    Ford should build an F350 Lightning Raptor King Ranch Titanium Platinum Black Label and sell it for $149,999.

    Can't have too many trim levels of the same truck.

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    2 hours ago, balthazar said:

    In talking about uber-luxury trucks -- don't assume all the same features high end luxury sedans are sought after in a high end truck. These are not the same buyers and these wouldn't be cross-shopped merely because both (potentially) had massaging seats. Different demographic that values different features.

    Unless you've been in the automotive business and sold both, don't assume they're not.

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    That's how the F-series outsells everything in the country (besides being a very capable & competitive vehicle) - variations and packages.

    3 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

    Unless you've been in the automotive business and sold both, don't assume they're not.

    Do tell: do high end sedan buyers ask for towing capacities and shift on the fly AWD? How about better ground clearance and different cabin & cargo dimensions/volumes in the same line?

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    26 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    That's how the F-series outsells everything in the country (besides being a very capable & competitive vehicle) - variations and packages.

    Do tell: do high end sedan buyers ask for towing capacities and shift on the fly AWD? How about better ground clearance and different cabin & cargo dimensions/volumes in the same line?

    The fact that you seem to think most truck buyers are asking those questions says all I need to know, lol!!

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    I didn't say truck buyers WERE asking that... of trucks.
    My question is, are sedan buyers asking those questions. Because your implication was that in order to be 'hi-end', trucks are lacking high end sedan features.

    Aren't sedans lacking truck features?

    Edited by balthazar
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    Wish GM Trucks had some of the Escalade features. Next autos must have HUD, that is one of the best tech ever and every auto should have them for safety. Especially Tesla 3

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    18 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Wish GM Trucks had some of the Escalade features. Next autos must have HUD, that is one of the best tech ever and every auto should have them for safety. Especially Tesla 3

    eh... only if done well..... the bad ones can be distracting

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    I'm fine w/o HUD. It isn't something I would pay extra for. It seems like one of the most gimmicky features on the market. Regardless you're refocusing your eyes on something different for a second or two.  

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    27 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    I'm fine w/o HUD. It isn't something I would pay extra for. It seems like one of the most gimmicky features on the market. Regardless you're refocusing your eyes on something different for a second or two.  

    Totally disagree, test drive an Escalade and you will see how you have your info in your peripheral vision all the time never taking your eyes off the road. Love that I can have all the info I am interested in in that floating window on the screen.

    Cadillac and Corvette HUDs are excellent.

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    6 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Totally disagree, test drive an Escalade and you will see how you have your info in your peripheral vision all the time never taking your eyes off the road. Love that I can have all the info I am interested in in that floating window on the screen.

    Cadillac and Corvette HUDs are excellent.

    He's not saying that is isn't good. He's saying that he wouldn't want to pay for it because he doesn't find it useful.  I kinda agree with him here, but also with the caveat that there are good HUDs and distracting HUDs, so not only would it be something I'm skeptical about paying for, I would also cast a critical eye on if it was a good one or a bad one. 

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    1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    He's not saying that is isn't good. He's saying that he wouldn't want to pay for it because he doesn't find it useful.  I kinda agree with him here, but also with the caveat that there are good HUDs and distracting HUDs, so not only would it be something I'm skeptical about paying for, I would also cast a critical eye on if it was a good one or a bad one. 

    I get your point, I should have also mentioned that after having been in a 2018 Escalade for the last week as my ride was in the shop for maintenance and they did not have a part, so had to wait, I have come to really appreciate the HUD.

    This especially being in thinking of what Tesla has done with the Tesla 3. Single screen would have been fine if a HUD was also incorporated with it so the driver never has to take their eyes off the road. 

    HUD is one of the few safety features I do feel is worth having in all auto's to minimize taking one's eyes off the road.

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    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    Totally disagree, test drive an Escalade and you will see how you have your info in your peripheral vision all the time never taking your eyes off the road. Love that I can have all the info I am interested in in that floating window on the screen.

    Cadillac and Corvette HUDs are excellent.

    But you cannot focus on both the road and something 18 inches in front of you. Regardless your eyes are not paying attention to the road perfectly so if I'm taking my focus of the road for a second I don't see why I should pay that premium.  What's that package cost in an Escalade? I'd assume it is part of a multi-thousand dollar package. But, with that said, I may very well want other things in said package and get it anyway. 

    I haven't used a modern HUD but I just don't find a real value to it. The last HUD I used was my mom's '02 Grand Prix. It's neat, but seems quite gimmicky, if you ask me. 

    After looking at some pictures online they seem to be cramming more and more information into the small display on your windshield and it almost seems cluttered. I mean what they do is cool and all.. but no thank you. 

    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    with the caveat that there are good HUDs and distracting HUDs,

    After looking at some random HUD pictures online some seem much cleaner and simpler than others. I'd assume the clean and simple ones are the least distracting ones. Those ones wouldn't bother me at all. I still don't see the value in paying for that but if it is part of a package, I wouldn't be upset. 

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    13 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    After looking at some random HUD pictures online some seem much cleaner and simpler than others. I'd assume the clean and simple ones are the least distracting ones. Those ones wouldn't bother me at all. I still don't see the value in paying for that but if it is part of a package, I wouldn't be upset. 

    Nearly all of the modern ones, if not absolutely all of them, allow you to customize how much information is on the display.  From experience with the GM ones, you can cut the information down to just speed, or also include fuel and rpm and iPod track or navigation directions.

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    24 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    After looking at some random HUD pictures online some seem much cleaner and simpler than others. I'd assume the clean and simple ones are the least distracting ones. Those ones wouldn't bother me at all. I still don't see the value in paying for that but if it is part of a package, I wouldn't be upset. 

     

    2 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Nearly all of the modern ones, if not absolutely all of them, allow you to customize how much information is on the display.  From experience with the GM ones, you can cut the information down to just speed, or also include fuel and rpm and iPod track or navigation directions.

    Totally understand and get the points being made and agree with Drew. GM allows total customization. For me, speed, range on the fuel tank and the music station info is what I had for my setting on HUD. Wife had other stuff. Love the customization of HUD.

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    Never had a vehicle with a HUD, but I can see the utility.  I have the center info panel between the gauges configured in my Jeep and use it often (things like tire pressure, gas mileage, oil life, compass direction (the most important to me), trip odometer, etc) , but you still have to look down a bit to see it...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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