The average price of a new car in the United States consistently climbs over the years, but there’s an outlier to the trend: pickup trucks.
The Wall Street Journal cited data from JD Power that shows truck buyers pay 61 percent more for a new pickup compared to costs 10 years ago. The average cost of a new truck today hovers around $44,000, up the 61 percent figure a decade ago. By comparison, the average new car costs $32,500 and rose 28 percent in the past decade.
Part of the pricing pressure likely comes as pickups move from workhorses to luxury vehicles. There are numerous reports from dealers that noted customers have begun to trade in German luxury cars for big, hulking trucks. Today, pickups mean something much different than their blue-collar upbringings—they’re a status symbol.
Unsurprisingly, the high prices have helped pad General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ bottom lines. Although some of the truck models only account for around 10 to 15 percent of worldwide sales, the lofty price tags helped GM achieve a massive 8 percent operating margin in 2018, for example. How good is an 8 percent operating margin, you ask? It’s on par with BMW Group or Daimler, the parent automaker of Mercedes-Benz.
Ram helped FCA boast a 6.1 percent operating margin last year, an incredible feat noting the automaker relies heavily on Jeep and the truck brand to make the bulk of its cash.
It’s part of the reason why GMC has pushed its Denali sub-brand. In 2017, GMC said Denali-branded vehicles made of one-third of its sales. The average transaction price two years ago also jumped to $43,800, up 35 percent from 2007 levels. GM hopes to find similar success with Buick’s crossovers as it introduces the Avenir sub-brand on more models.