For any auto manufacturing company, the United States’ pickup truck market is a very lucrative one.
This auto segment accounted for about 33 per cent of the total sale of Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler in the second quarter alone. That was a rise from the 30 per cent in the same quarter previous year. There is also growth in the segment of full-size trucks such as the F-150, Silverado and RAM even though the average price of these vehicles are touching $47,255 per unit.
The US car industry’s interest in pickup trucks continues to be strong, said Tyson Jominy, an analyst at research firm J.D. Power, in an interview to The Wall Street Journal. “Trucks are the one sure bet for all three. They’re trying to take every cent off the table and use it to fund their research and development,” he said.
However, many analysts also believe that dedicated all-electric vehicle is also set to disrupt the pickup truck segment just like the events in the passenger car sector.
Tesla would be unveiling its all electric pick up truck later this year, company founder and CEO Elon Musk has announced. The US based electric vehicle maker has said that there would be so much of technology loaded in that vehicle that it would not look out of place in the Blade Runner franchise.
A Tesla rival Rivian, another Detroit-based company, is also about to begin commercial production of its all electric R1T pickup truck in the near future. There has been critical appreciation of the R1T as being a true off-roader that exudes luxury.
Both the Rivian’s R1T and Tesla’s pickup truck are expected to be available for sale to customers as soon as the companies are able to bring them to the market. This is because, analysts feel, that the pickup market is just in the right condition for an electric disruption and the first company to breach the segment with electric vehicles – that can compete with conventional ones in terms of capability and price, is likely to reap the fruits of being the early bird for years. However, conventional auto companies, including Ford and GM, are apparently not in any hurry to breach the segment with their own electric vehicles.
And considering the fact that both the companies have immense experience in truck building, this reluctance has surprised many analysts of the market. Both the companies however have announced that they would be unveiling their own electric trucks. Last June, a glimpse of its F-150 EV was given by Ford and the company made an impressive demonstration where3in the truck easily hauled a cargo of over a million pounds.
General Motors will be releasing a “complete range of EVs, including full-size pickups”, GM CEO Mary Barra had stated this April.
A battery based electric variant that is similar to the unit used in the 1-million-pound demonstration is still “a couple years out,” explained Ford Chief Product Development Officer Hau Thai-Tang in an interview with Yahoo Finance, while saying that a hybrid F-150 will be introduced next year. Statements from GM have been similarly vague. And FCA has been very non-committal and has not even confirmed whether it has any plans for developing an all electric or even a hybrid pickup truck.
And considering that startups like Tesla and Rivian, which are hungry for success and aggressive at the same time, are set to provide tough competition to the established auto makers, the decision of to go slow by Ford and GM in relation to development and manufacturing of electric pickup trucks can prove to be a faulty one.
(Adapted from Teslarati.com)