Pickup trucks outsold passenger cars by more than 17,000 units last month, marking the first time ever that trucks have outsold cars in monthly sales in the United States.
The numbers, which come from market research firm Autodata Corp. and were cited by The Detroit News in a report published Tuesday, are staggering when sales results from previous years are taken into account. The newspaper notes that in 2015, cars outsold pickup trucks by more than half a million units in a single month. The rising popularity of large pickup trucks also sits in direct contrast to some automakers’ focus on greener plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles and growing environmental sentiments in North America and abroad.
One analyst cited by The Detroit News, Joseph Spak, noted that the strong pickup truck sales were driven in part by steep incentives offered on the vehicles during the coronavirus pandemic. Some automakers, including General Motors, are offering zero-percent financing for up to 84 months on certain models in a bid to drive sales during the lockdown. Additionally, the majority of pickup truck sales were concentrated in middle America rather than coastal states, where smaller passenger cars may be more popular due to their relative practicality in urban environments.
There’s no denying the rising popularity of pickup trucks, however. The Detroit Big Three have begun to rely on pickup trucks to drive much of their profit margins and have essentially turned their backs on passenger car segments where the margins are typically not as strong. Bigger vehicles such as crossovers and SUVs have also risen in popularity in recent years alongside full-size and mid-size pickup trucks.
Some GM dealers have expressed concern over the automaker’s shrinking Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra inventory in recent weeks. While GM dealerships remain open for online sales and other limited operations, the automaker’s plants are still offline, causing demand to outstrip supply at a rapid rate. GM is in a particularly difficult situation compared to Fiat Chrysler and Ford, as it was already running short on pickup supply in the months leading up to the pandemic due to the 2019 UAW strike, which forced it to shut down its U.S. plants for 40-days.
Source: The Detroit News