Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Where have all the pickups gone?

I write new vehicle reviews. I live in a town that is full of pickup trucks. Pickup trucks are big business for auto makers, so much so that companies like Honda, Nissan and Toyota have entered the full-size pickup market.

Pickups are a huge profit center for an auto maker. The top best selling three vehicles in the US are the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram Pickup according to Cars.com.

So it is kind of surprising that pickups are a rarity in the Northern California press fleet.

Last year I tested one pickup, a Nissan Titan XD, a truck I liked but it came to me too late for an article in the Tracy Press. (In fact while I was driving a 2016 Titan XD other writers were off getting a preview of the 2017 version.)

This year I've been lucky, I got into a 2017 Toyota Tacoma about a week ago. I enjoyed the truck and submitted an article to the Tracy Press. I'm scheduled for a 2017 Honda Ridgeline soon. But still nothing from the "Big 3".

I've been told that the reason there are no trucks in the Norcal fleet is that writers up here don't want pickups. That may be true, especially in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area. But the SF press fleet supplies vehicles to many more writers than just those on the Peninsula. I try to write for my market and my market is pretty heavy with trucks.

I'm not that choosy about what model trucks I test. Sure I'd love to try a variety but most auto companies send what they want to highlight to the press fleets. Ford has a new Raptor with a 450-hp, EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6. Chevy is always trying to knock the F-150 off the top of the hill, and Ram has some pretty bad pickups. So why not put something in the fleet? Please, I'm begging you.

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