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Nearly One in Eight New Vehicles Sold in April Was a Large Pickup

5/6/2013
Large pickup sales in April 2013 outpaced the industry's increase nearly fourfold. The Detroit-based automakers along with Toyota and Nissan groups delivered 22.3% more large pickups in April than in the same month a year ago--based on a selling rate that has been adjusted for one more selling day this year.* Nearly one of every eight new vehicles purchased or leased in April was a large pickup, according to J.D. Power & Associates' data and analysis.

Higher demand for these larger trucks may be due to an improvement in housing and construction industries. New-home construction in the United States climbed in March to the highest level in almost five years, with starts increasing 7%, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. In addition, pent-up demand with an aging vehicle fleet likely contributed to the sales increase. (The average age of a vehicle in the United States in 2012 was 11 years old, according to R. L. Polk & Co. data). Also, a number of large pickup offerings, such as the F-Series with Ford EcoBoost engines, now offer improved fuel economy, which may also have enticed buyers to purchase a truck.

Large pickups accounted for 11.93% of the industry's sales in April, up 1.74 percentage points from 10.19% a year ago. More than 153,452 large pickups were delivered in April vs. 120,491 units a year ago. Nearly 33,000 more large pickups were sold last month than in April 2012.

Year-to-date large pickup sales were up by more than one-fifth (+20.3%) from the same four-month period in 2012. Through the first 4 months of the year, 585,840 large pickups have been delivered, which means dealers sold or leased 98,600 more pickups than they did in the same period a year ago (486,880 units sold in 2012).

After a 36-year run as the most popular vehicle in the U.S. market, the Ford F-Series (including light-duty (LD) and heavy-duty (HD) models) remained the best-selling model overall in April. Ford said it was the strongest April for F-Series since 2006. F-Series sales accounted for 37.3% of large pickup truck deliveries, which was slightly less than its 37.8% share of large pickup deliveries a year ago. The F-Series was followed by the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram large pickups and the Toyota Tundra.

General Motors and Toyota are hoping that the renewed interest in full-size pickups continues into the summer and beyond. GM's redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups will reach dealer showrooms this month, and Toyota Group's new Tundra will reach showrooms in the fall.

*There were 25 selling days in April 2013 and 24 in April 2012. The percentage of change has been adjusted for one more selling day this year.

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