Full Size pickup trucks

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c107

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This is an interesting thread on Twitter about Full Size pickup trucks in America and how they are used.
In the last five years these have become increasingly popular in Australia too. Generally I agree with the sentiments of this thread.


Content for those not on Twitter:
Pick-up trucks are ridiculous clown cars and 99% of the people who buy them will never have a practical need to own one. Here’s why:

First off, pick-ups have for years consistently been among the most popular, best selling vehicles in America. But we know from consumer surveys that almost no one who buys one uses them for anything more than daily commuting.

A Strategic Visions survey from a few years ago found that 75% of pick-up owners towed something with their vehicle one time a year or less. 70% went off-road one time a year or less. More than a third didn’t even use the bed of the truck more than once a year or less.

So the vast majority of people who buy them don’t use them for their primary design function. Which shouldn’t be surprising as the most popular models don’t really have a useful design function that can’t be fulfilled by other, smaller, cheaper vehicles.

When you think of pick-ups at the very least you’re thinking hauling lumber in the back. But most pick-ups sold are crew-cab models, which means a second row of seats in the back in exchange for less bed space. Trucks with full 8ft beds are actually remarkably unpopular.

What that means though is your average Ram 2500 Megacab is no better for hauling plywood than a base-model Toyota Sienna minivan with the seats folded down.

People don’t want to admit though that they’re driving a four-ton family sedan though. So we talk about towing capacity. Except most truck owners don’t tow with them, and those that do can’t tow as much as they think or don’t need that truck to tow what they have.

Each truck model has a fixed towing capacity. But once you start customizing the truck (as most truck owners do and they’re sold to just have endless add-one) the vehicle itself weighs more. More feature, less you can tow.

Outside of a few fifth-wheel campers, most trailers people would use can be hauled by smaller vehicles. People don’t NEED the large stuff, they get it because the truck can haul more. The bigger vehicle creates its own need.

But let’s look at the people who ostensibly use them for work: contractors, remodelers, construction workers, etc. Trucks represent a fair portion of what they drive for work, but not as much as you think. I’ve seen surveys that show only a third of remodelers drive pick-ups

The actual work-horse of American contractors and tradesmen is something closer to a Ford Transit Connect, i.e. a tall van. Enclosed storage area, infinitely customizable, 24 mpg for city driving as opposed to a Ford F-150 Supercab’s paltry 16.

Even farmers don’t for the most part drive modern pick-ups, because they’re basically useless for most farm work. Too tall, too heavy. The used trade for 90s models among agricultural workers is huge, because that was the last time trucks were made they could practically use.

And the problem with trucks getting bigger and bigger doesn’t end with them being impractical. Taller front-ends mean lower sight-lines. You become both less likely to see a pedestrian AND more likely to kill them.

I’ve seen some different stats on this but I’d say conservative estimate is that larger pick-ups and SUVs on the road has caused pedestrian fatalities increase by about a quarter since the mid 1980s. Basically all gains made in auto safety features erased over the last 40 years.

They are also ridiculously expensive vehicles. The MSRP on a base model Ford F-150 is about $29,000. But I’ll be clear, basically no one buys that. That’s a single-row seating vehicle with an AM/FM radio in it.

The same model fully-loaded, like you go down the features list and check every box, will run you close to $80,000. That’s basically luxury car prices. And most the people buying them are going to finance some or most of that, so just go ahead and add $10-20,000 to that.

I’ve said this before, but car dealerships do not sell cars, they sell debt with a car attached.

Now you can think up a myriad of examples of how you, personally, need a pick-up or the one time that it was useful to have one or whatever. But your experience is stacked against the literal millions of pick-up owners who bought them as engorged status symbols.

The fact is most practical uses of a pick up can be handled just as well 1) in a smaller vehicle 2) are so uncommon that it’s cheaper to occasionally rent something. Owning a truck the size of a WWII Sherman tank serves no practical purpose and makes you look fucking ridiculous

If you like this thread and want to support other things I do there’s
@SynodusPod
which is not a truck but is a history podcast about death.

Gonna reiterate this because it keeps coming up but “you” and “most people” are not the same thing. You personally having a regular use for a large new pick-up is not a counterpoint to the fact the VAST majority of people who buy them are suburbanites buying a status symbol.

Your personal experience isn’t the same as sales figures and consumer surveys. If you think it’s great that a bunch of middle managers are out there buying four tons of steel with the acceleration of a 1990s Ferrari to pick up their kids from school, then whatever.

Some people have brought up snow and ice conditions, which, fuckin’ lol. First off if you’re regularly driving in snow deep enough to justify a pick-up and you don’t have a plow attached to the front then you 1) work on a farm or for the Forest Service or 2) are a fucking moron

If you’re talking about icy roads then you’re talking about just adding weight and momentum to a situation where stopping isn’t happening easily. Consistently best-rated winter drivers are almost always AWD sedans.

If you personally can think of situations on ice where a truck is better than a Subaru Outback and ISN’T just going to fishtail your ass into a curb, then good for you but I guarantee your insurance company begs to differ, and they have a bigger dataset than you.
 

Michel

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Pick up trucks in Australia have replaced the Ute.
I recall back in the 80s and 90s that to be a real bloke, you had to drive a Ute.
In the US, as you probably know Bryce, since you've lived there, bigger is always better; even for no reason except to keep up and exceed the Joneses! :rolleyes:
I used to have a C20 Chevy pickup when I had the American Car Center in Marrickville, but I use to haul lots of stuff including engines and panels in the 8 foot bed as well as a Suburban when I went on long interstate drives and I needed to sleep in.
 

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c107

c107

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Yes, having lived in America, there is a small contingent who really use the capability of their pickup. Generally not F150 owners though, normally owners of the F250 or F350 or equivalent. The author is right though, most use it to commute to the office.

I had a ranger as a rental once. It was probably 2002, and the thing was an unbelievable heap of junk. This was before it was a big pickup, back then it was a more reasonable size. There was a problem though. Where to put my suitcase? I was there for two weeks so I had a full size suitcase, and given it was snowing, and it was a soft case, I didn't want to put it in the bed. I had to put it on the passengers seat and it kept sliding into me.

I needed to be in the suburbs of Milwaukee. Those of you who know the USA will now it has a small airport with few flight options. So the easiest approach from here is to fly into Chicago O'Hare and drive the 90 minutes it takes to get to Milwaukee. During that drive, the ride was like a cattle grid and I used half a tank of gas, the mileage was so bad. It was a rear drive pickup with no weight over the rear axle, so naturally it was terrible in the snow.
 

Michel

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Bryce, you remind me of a trip I did to Atlanta via Houston with United.
I had a conference i Atlanta and decided to rent a car in Houston and drive to my brother's place in San Antonio, a three an a half hour drive.
I checked the rental car companies before I left and wanted to book a small sedan for that drive.
Guess what was the cheapest to book? An F150 crew cab!!! :oops:
So I did. It was reasonnably comfortable as most of my driving was on the I-10 and the face on my bro when I turned up in that.
But, amazingly, it was not out of place in Texas. Actually I was constantly dwarfed by much bigger rigs on the road.
 

sean sherry

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Yes, having lived in America, there is a small contingent who really use the capability of their pickup. Generally not F150 owners though, normally owners of the F250 or F350 or equivalent. The author is right though, most use it to commute to the office.

I had a ranger as a rental once. It was probably 2002, and the thing was an unbelievable heap of junk. This was before it was a big pickup, back then it was a more reasonable size. There was a problem though. Where to put my suitcase? I was there for two weeks so I had a full size suitcase, and given it was snowing, and it was a soft case, I didn't want to put it in the bed. I had to put it on the passengers seat and it kept sliding into me.

I needed to be in the suburbs of Milwaukee. Those of you who know the USA will now it has a small airport with few flight options. So the easiest approach from here is to fly into Chicago O'Hare and drive the 90 minutes it takes to get to Milwaukee. During that drive, the ride was like a cattle grid and I used half a tank of gas, the mileage was so bad. It was a rear drive pickup with no weight over the rear axle, so naturally it was terrible in the snow.

Bryce, you remind me of a trip I did to Atlanta via Houston with United.
I had a conference i Atlanta and decided to rent a car in Houston and drive to my brother's place in San Antonio, a three an a half hour drive.
I checked the rental car companies before I left and wanted to book a small sedan for that drive.
Guess what was the cheapest to book? An F150 crew cab!!! :oops:
So I did. It was reasonnably comfortable as most of my driving was on the I-10 and the face on my bro when I turned up in that.
But, amazingly, it was not out of place in Texas. Actually I was constantly dwarfed by much bigger rigs on the road.
A most pertinent observation that Car Dealers sell Finance with a vehicle attached..... recalling a Ford Dealer in Suburban NY trying to sell me a Torino in the early eighties...His knowledge ..It hugs the curves......Now you can afford $80 a month can't you ! ? ............... Then comes the upsell.....
No i will pay Cash ... his face drops...
 

sean sherry

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A most pertinent observation that Car Dealers sell Finance with a vehicle attached..... recalling a Ford Dealer in Suburban NY trying to sell me a Torino in the early eighties...His knowledge ..It hugs the curves......Now you can afford $80 a month can't you ! ? ............... Then comes the upsell.....
No i will pay Cash ... his face drops...
P.S. a neighbour with a Car Yard on Parramatta Rd once told me that he makes more money selling Finance and Insurance than from selling a Car ...
 
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c107

c107

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Bryce, you remind me of a trip I did to Atlanta via Houston with United.
I had a conference i Atlanta and decided to rent a car in Houston and drive to my brother's place in San Antonio, a three an a half hour drive.
I checked the rental car companies before I left and wanted to book a small sedan for that drive.
Guess what was the cheapest to book? An F150 crew cab!!! :oops:
So I did. It was reasonnably comfortable as most of my driving was on the I-10 and the face on my bro when I turned up in that.
But, amazingly, it was not out of place in Texas. Actually I was constantly dwarfed by much bigger rigs on the road.
No, you wouldn't have been out of place in Texas. But you might have been, had you rented the small sedan! Not many of those seen outside some of the technology parks in Dallas and Austin where IT types drive their camry to work!
 

Nab

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It’s a funny one, people here are towing big caravans with their ranger/hilux/dmax etc and there are complaints/worries about operating these utes at their maximum tow rating. If the owners upgrade to a bigger sized Ute they are deemed wankers or similar haha!!!!

Much the same can be said about our dual cab utes. I’m on a ranger forum and I would say 75% + own them because they like them, they have no off-road, towing or load carrying needs!!! I can think of a few cars that would be much more enjoyable on the daily commute…

Needs and wants are easily confused with some!!!
 

Patrick_R

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Gents,
I’ve never seen a type of family vehicle (which is what the author is bitching about, not the commercial merit) that has caused so much controversy in all my life.
Some people are SO against them, I’ve never seen any vehicle do this before.
Is he jealous?
Can he not afford one of his own?
What happened years ago when the big Chev’s or Cadillacs hit the road, or the first ever big Fairlane?
Did they cause so much drama compared to Austin A40’s & Vauxhall Viva’s? No.
Why do these (and previously SUV’S) polarise people so much?


My niece and her husband have a wonderfully successful business in Moruya on the south coast called All 4 Mechanical.
My nieces new company car is a 2019 Ford Super Duty Loreado F350, and it’s also sign written so like a giant billboard.
It’s an amazing vehicle, they drive it everyday, and every time they travel anywhere in the country.
When my niece drives it she gets around 10L/100k. When her hubby drives it she tells me he gets around 18L/100k.
Engine is a 6.7L Navistar Powerstroke turbo diesel and 10 speed auto.
This model also has autonomous braking, and pedestrian detection, so the chance of killing someone is very low.
I’d have one in my driveway tomorrow if I could afford the $170,000AUD :oops:
Yep, $170k holy crap!
Here are some pics.
Note my X Trail next to it.
Also if you look close to the left of the fold out step from the tail gate, there is also a grab handle that pulls out and up.
It’s a massive step up into the back.
Oh, and for them it’s a tax deduction :cool:

The below pics were taken the week they took delivery, so no sign writing at this point.
9D790F0F-D653-4C5D-9AD0-B04441BBCFA2.jpeg0417BB9F-FC94-48B6-921B-82AA5ACEF781.jpeg5E9A2983-9D67-423C-A4BF-BC54ED365164.jpeg39DE217C-F1AB-4EA0-B0D9-6B6FDF06EDDC.jpeg
 
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abl567

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A big reason for dual cab ute, including the RAM's and F150's, here is the FBT exemption distorting the market.
A ute with a MRSP of $70k attracts no FBT, provides 5 seats, 4 doors, plenty of luggage space with a canopy and pretty swish interiors.
A sedan, wagon or SUV of the same price attracts $14k in FBT. $14k buys a lot of tolerance to a harsh ride and awkward parking.
 
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c107

c107

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A big reason for dual cab ute, including the RAM's and F150's, here is the FBT exemption distorting the market.
A ute with a MRSP of $70k attracts no FBT, provides 5 seats, 4 doors, plenty of luggage space with a canopy and pretty swish interiors.
A sedan, wagon or SUV of the same price attracts $14k in FBT. $14k buys a lot of tolerance to a harsh ride and awkward parking.
As usual misguided government policies are distorting the market!
A bit like those first homebuyers grants that just drove up prices and lined the pockets of the sellers!
 

Patrick_R

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A comfy happy dog = a happy Brian.

The ride on my nieces F350 is quite good.
However it brings a whole new meaning to awkward parking.
I can park a prime mover easier than this big prick!
 

Patrick_R

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Oh yeah.
I’ll ask her as they get classic cars all the time to work on.
They have the only dyno between Sydney & Melbourne, so all the nice cars come to them.
 

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