DETROIT – Despite the coronavirus pandemic, automakers are holding their own as pickup truck sales remain strong.
“They do make a big difference on profitability. That’s particularly important as we are in a situation where vehicle sales are down, expenses are up and the need to invest in future technology that’s not going to pay off in the immediate term is also really heavy on automakers," said Stephanie Brinley, IHS Global auto analyst.
Automakers can charge much more than the cost for a pickup truck. Supplies are low and each automaker is building them as fast as they can.
“Even though they’re going flat out, and even though they are running three shifts and they’re going as fast as they can, that was two months of production that you cannot go back and make it up," Brinley said.
There’s another factor helping Ford and Fiat Chrysler -- hot new sellers.
“This year, we have the Gladiator and the Ford Ranger for the full year. In 2019, they were only available part of the year. So that has made a difference with new players in the segment," Brinley said.
In generations past, the industry has been seen leaning away from the Domestic Three. However, they have been fortunate lately to pull major profit to keep them afloat.
“General Motors and Ford, and FCA are so good at what they do in this segment, they know it and they depend on it, and they’re always going to bring it. The more competitive it gets, the more they’re going to bring it," Brinley said.
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