Stepping into a pickup today is like stepping into a luxury home with even more technology…

Years ago, we would see a pickup truck at an Auto Show (a rare find) and think this would be perfect on the farm; it has a bench seat that would fit all three of us!

My how things have changed, stepping into a pickup today is like stepping into a luxury home with even more technology. Trucks are now outselling cars, so manufacturers must keep looking for innovative designs to entice the consumer into selecting their vehicle over the competition. There are many trucks on the road today but let’s look at the three domestic brands, all of which will be represented at the Vancouver International Auto Show.

Ram introduced the EcoDiesel V6 engine in its 2014 1500 model and the consumer frenzy was on. A half-ton pickup with 420 lb ft of torque and 4182kg (9200 lbs) max towing capabilities, great!

Better fuel economy, where do I sign?

Ford announces the 2015 F-150 with an aluminum body and a completely new design, this had Ford customers holding off on their new purchase until this comes out, which I do not think was Ford’s intention.

GM changes not only the design of their truck but much of their drivetrain. So much so, that it was named North American Truck of the year.

Consumers are demanding these changes, they want better fuel economy but still are able to tow just as much. They want more comfort but still have a practical interior. They want comfortable suspension but still perform off-road if necessary.

Manufacturers have to consider all this when designing a new truck. They set up focus groups all around the country asking how they can improve and what features consumers want in a truck.

So what’s driving sales, what do pickups have over cars and why are they so popular? Versatility, you can transport large items, haul your favorite ‘toy’, take your family in comfort to the cabin, get out and play in the mud. I am not saying you can’t do this in a car but with a truck there are no limitations and that’s what intrigues people into this type of vehicle.

You can do so much more with a truck, the possibilities are endless. The truck is just the beginning, the customization then begins. Research shows that on average a truck owner spends between $5,000 and $7,000 in aftermarket accessories within the first six months of ownership. Truck owners want to personalize their vehicles for practical reasons and some artistic reasons, but rest assured, if you can dream it there is somebody out there building it.

Ten years ago, I would have said things are slowing down and there might be a change coming, but it didn’t happen and things picked up and it keeps picking up. I now think it will continue and in another ten years, we will see even more choices, enabling us to take the time to enjoy life on and off road.

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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