Exhaust Note #1: It’s Pickup Week at VehicleVoice!

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(editor’s note: VehicleVoice will now kick off each new week with Exhaust Note, a weekly rant or rave of automotive industry insight. Here’s our first…enjoy!)

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Pickups Are At Our Core
Like ‘em or not, big pickups remain a staple of the American automotive industry, representing one of the biggest chunks of the U.S. automotive market in terms of sales. Last year, full-size pickups represented over 2.1 million sales, or just over 13% of all new light vehicles sold, and AutoPacific, VehicleVoice’s parent company, forecasts sales to remain over the 2-million mark through 2013.
What gives? Aren’t all of the green messages getting through to people? Why aren’t people ditching these guzzlers in big numbers? The fact of the matter is that big pickups are core and central to our lives. Just think about all the goods and services that are delivered by pickups, and all the livelihoods they contribute to. Or, think about the way that they enable people’s hobbies and interests. In the auto industry, we often talk about new vehicles’ innovative flexibility and utility features, but when you think about it, the good ol’ pickup is the very definition of those words. Their appeal is democratic in the truest sense of the word; for rich or for poor, for young or for old, for men or for women, for work or for play, the pickup just simply works.


New Thinking Has Been A Pickup Hallmark Over the Last 15 Years
We’re not saying that full-size pickups are perfect as they are nor are we suggesting that these vehicles should be exempt from the environmental discussion. As a matter of fact, for all the perceptions of pickups representing good ol’ boy conservatism at its most extreme, these vehicles have in fact demonstrated some of the most significant product innovations over the past decade and a half. In this relatively short period of time, full-size pickups have given birth to new door and access executions, unheard-of hidden storage solutions, and innovative cargo management ideas – most of which have since made their way to other vehicle types. In comparison, compare a mid-size sedan of 15 years ago with a brand new one from 2008. Hmm…two bucket seats, a floor console and shifter, a 3-across rear bench, folding rear backrest, and a trunk. Yep, not much new thinking there.

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Future Pickups Promise New Heights of Innovation
The point I’m making here is that full-size pickups have been significant bearers of innovation, and there’s no reason to think this will stop. We can expect pickups to become greener, because consumers will demand it. We can expect pickups to become even friendlier to use, because consumers will demand it. With continued evolution, we can probably even expect pickups to become even more relevant to average people’s lives.
That said, we’d like to spend this much of this week focusing on two significant new full-size pickup entries, the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram and 2009 Ford F-150. Both have amazing and compelling new innovations, and both will soon offer greatly enhanced efficiency options as well. Watch this space as we bring you our take on these iconic workhorses throughout the week.

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