This year has been a wild ride for pickup truck enthusiasts. First we saw the 1,000 lb-ft torque barrier broken, then the magic 40mpg mileage rating finally achieved. But if GM gets its way, 2020 may also be the year we see the first $100,000 pickup truck.
Coming just after the release of the 2020 Silverado HD, Chevrolet is reportedly considering a six-figure model. According to the Chevy’s marketing chief for trucks Sandor Piszar, there’s been a trend of customers “wanting to trade up” to higher models or more luxurious trims. And if the market wants a more expensive truck than what’s currently on offer, “We’ll deliver it.”
There’s currently a bull market for pickup trucks. Even as overall vehicle sales dropped 3% during the past two quarters, demand remains strong based on data by market tracker LMC Automotive. The best-selling pickup trucks, Ford’s F-series, sold over 909,000 units in 2018, a 1.5% increase over the previous year. In second-place, the Silverado managed to move over 585,000 units in the same period.
In fact, pickup truck prices soared by 61% over the past decade, compared to the 28% industry average for all vehicles. Today’s brand new full-size pickups cost $44,000 on average, a steep climb from $27,000 back in 2009, and a hefty gap from the $32,500 average sticker cost of other vehicles.
There’s also a higher profit margin to be made. Manufacturers typically make $10,000 profit per truck, much higher than the average margin for other passenger vehicles. In fact, market analysts estimate that GM gets double the gross profit for higher trim levels like the Silverado High Country.
This might explain GM’s bullish investment in pickups. In May, the company injected $24 million to its Fort Wayne plant to boost Silverado and GMC Sierra production. In June, it pledged $150 million and 1,000 new jobs at its Flint factory in a bid to increase production capacity by 40,000 units, even as its closed three other plants in North America.
The most expensive model currently on offer is Ford’s Limited edition line. A fully loaded truck can cost up to $95,000 exclusive of taxes and delivery charges. Its traditional arch-rival, the Silverado, tops out at almost $90,000 for the new High Country trim. Though to be fair, the title of the most expensive mass-produced pickup still belongs to Ford’s F-450 Super Duty Limited, which cost a whopping $100,000 upon its debut in 2017.
Whoever the battle of the price tags though, there is one sure loser: our wallets.