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Full-size pickup sales growth continues, led by Ford

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

This year through October, Ford sold 658,636 full-size pickups, or about 38 percent of the segment, while 24 percent went to Chevy Silverado, 22 percent to Ram Truck and 9 percent to GMC Sierra.

The first 10 months of 2017 have been the F-Series' best since 2005, when consumers bought 734,610 trucks.

Jeremiah Parker, a retired contractor from Shoreham, Vt., has owned seven F-150 pickups and an F-250 for towing a big camper. His neighbor, Anne DeHaven, has owned three F-150 pickups over the past decade.

"I manage a horse farm, so a truck is just as important as the air I breathe," DeHaven said. "People are funny about their trucks. Some are Chevy people, some are Dodge folks. I'm a Ford gal."

She said she needed a truck that has 4-wheel drive and can pull a 5,000-pound two-horse trailer. She also drives about 100 miles a day doing property inspections, including some that take her into the hills and mountains of Vermont in all kinds of weather.

DeHaven considered switching to an SUV. But after 2010, Ford offered its EcoBoost feature that improved fuel economy, allowing DeHaven to get 17 to 23 mpg, depending on her average speed.

 

F-Series buyers include ranchers, construction workers, small business owners, oil and gas executives and anyone who wants to pull big loads.

"While you may not see many of these trucks on the streets of Manhattan," said Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst for Ford, "they are sold in large numbers in wide-open spaces all across America."

Sales of the Ford F-Series, which include luxury amenities and greater towing capacity with the F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks, grew at 11 percent, nearly twice the 4.8 percent rate of the full-size pickup segment this year through October. That reflects greater availability as production on the current aluminum-body Super Duty began in late summer of 2016.

While Ford sales benefited from vehicle replacement after recent hurricanes, growth appears part of a solid long-term trend.

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