CarGurus study shows brand loyalty of pickup trucks

Traditional brand loyalty among pickup truck owners appears to be eroding while interest in battery-powered pickup trucks is on the rise according to new research by vehicle shopping and research site CarGurus.com.

Brand loyalty has long been the hallmark of pickup truck owners. A Ford guy wouldn’t get caught in the cabin of a Ram or a Chevy and vice versa. But the 2021 Pickup Truck Sentiment Study out of 1,026 truck owners caught in the fourth quarter of 2021 by CarGurus revealed that a good number of them are willing not to defend their brand.

Of those surveyed, 78% said they would consider a different brand of truck than the one they own for future purchases.

The crack in brand devotion appears to be a combination of buyers seeking deals and selection in the face of rising prices and low inventory and the appearance of smaller, so-called “car-style” pickup trucks. life,” such as the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz that appeal to younger truck buyers.

“People are just open in a lot of ways,” Madison Edwards, director of CarGurus Consumer Insights told Forbes.com. “They care about the utility of the truck the most, especially the size and they want to stay in their size class.”

Pricing and availability also enter into the thought process of many truck buyers. According to the study, 78% of those polled between May and October thought the prices seemed “higher than average”, while 67% said the selection was “worse than average”.

That’s in line with average transaction prices hitting record highs this year, while production disruptions caused by the global semiconductor shortage have left dealer lots little to sell.

“As automakers gain access to more chips, they’re going to start building a wider selection of vehicles and trims instead of prioritizing the most profitable ones, so we’ll likely see some reduction in new average listing price throughout the year,” wrote Kevin Roberts, director of CarGurus Insights & Analytics in a blog post.

According to the CarGurus January Vehicle Availability Index and Information Reportwhile new vehicle inventories on dealer lots remain low – down 69.7% year-over-year in January, used vehicle inventories rose 3.9% last month compared to December and were down only 0.08% year-over-year.

At the same time, prices for new and used vehicles are heading in different directions. According to the CarGurus report, the average new vehicle listing price fell 0.5% in January from December, but rose 0.9% for used cars and trucks.

This does not dampen demand. According to the survey of truck owners, 42% said the Covid-19 pandemic had made them more interested in buying a vehicle “right now”, while 45% said the pandemic had made them more interested to buy a truck “instead of a different type”. vehicle”, such as an SUV or a passenger car.

Part of this increase is new enthusiasm for electric vans, with Edwards pointing out: “We are certainly seeing growing interest in electric vans. This is behind the interest we see in electric cars. It’s Millennials and compact truck owners in particular who want to go electric on their next truck purchase. »

Indeed, 50% of Millennials surveyed said they intended to buy an electric van in the next decade, with 52% preferring a compact or lifestyle model.

Some things don’t change, however. Of the perennial bestsellers surveyed, the Ford F-150 was the most popular full-size pickup truck (38%), ahead of the Chevrolet Silverado (33%) and Ram 1500 (22%). The Toyota Tacoma was the preferred midsize pickup, with 47% saying they preferred the Ford Ranger (32%), while 21% said they didn’t like either truck.

The Ford Maverick with 38% was the clear favorite over the Hyundai Santa Cruz (25%) as the preferred lifestyle pickup. However, 37% said they liked neither the Maverick nor the Santa Cruz.

In the ‘tech trucks’ category, the Tesla Cybertruck, which isn’t even on the roads yet, edged out the Rivian R1T by 45% to 19%, with 36% shunning both.

Ultimately, despite high costs and low inventory, consumers still have high hopes of making a pickup truck their next vehicle purchase.

“People are just looking for fun and adventure and trucks are just a great category,” Edwards said.

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