Editorial: Truckin’ to oblivion?
It’s hard to make much sense of one month’s data, but there are at least 30 days worth of evidence that America’s car-buying habits are changing.
In May, for the first time since the early 1990s, the Ford F150 pickup wasn’t the best-selling vehicle in America. In fact, the truck fell to fifth place on the monthly sales charts, behind cars from Honda and Toyota.
Not many people are buying cars and trucks these days ” the industry is on pace for its slowest sales year since 1994 ” but the fall of Ford’s bread-and-butter vehicle may be a sign that the price of gas is more broadly affecting what Americans want in a new set of wheels.
Ford and General Motors are both shutting down truck plants and pouring resources into smaller cars.
Again, one month of sales isn’t evidence of a trend, and Ford still sold nearly 50,000 F150s in May, about half the number of Toyota Prius hybrids sold in all of 2007. But we may seee truck sales going back to the place they were as recently as the 1970s ” when pickups were primarily the vehicle of choice for farmers, contractors and others who pulled and hauled things for profit.
Over the last 30 years, though, full-sized pickups have been the two or three top-selling vehicles of any kind in this country, meaning a lot of folks have been buying them as fashion statements.
There’s still a future for trucks in America, both as work vehicles and atoy haulers. But don’t be surprised to see a lot of folks park their trucks until it’s hauling time, and use more efficient vehicles for the daily chores of commuting, kid-toting and the like.
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