Less than a decade ago, Americans traded trucks and SUVs for more fuel-efficient cars, sacrificing utility to save money at the gas pump. What a difference a few years make.
The Detroit News reported that last year, sales of pickups, SUVs and crossovers accounted for nearly 60% of all sales in the United States, an uptick of almost 4 percentage points from the year before. Any automaker without a strong lineup of those profitable vehicles is feeling the pinch. To that end, carmakers rolled out new and updated trucks and SUVs this week at the Chicago Auto Show. Big-cab options and expensive trim packages enhanced existing lineups.
“Trucks are now becoming more the main family vehicle,” said Fred Diaz, who oversees trucks and light commercial vehicles for Nissan Motor Co. in North America. “The second the recession was over, trucks continued to rise.”
Nissan on Thursday rolled out the final two models in a five-model overhaul the company began just over a year ago when it introduced the new Titan and Titan XD pickups. In Chicago this week, it pulled the covers off the King Cab versions of the trucks. It’s an attempt to expand sales of the pickups into the commercial area.
Diaz said the remake of the Titan was well-timed. Trucks are becoming more fuel-efficient even as gas prices have significantly declined since a peak in the summer 2014. And carmakers are helping drive the move to pickups and SUVs by giving them the plush interiors and advanced technology treatments once reserved for cars.
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