Going customized to capture more pickup truck dollars

Going customized to capture more pickup truck dollars

In order to fully capitalize on the still-strong demand for pickup trucks in the U.S., OEMs continue to roll out more “customized” models that feature specialized trim packages.

For example, debuted today at the Denver Auto Show this week General Motors unveiled what it calls a new “monochromatic look” for the Custom Sport HD iterations of its Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD heavy-duty pickups rolled out in February.

Silverado Custom Sport HD models with the “monochromatic look” will feature body-colored front and rear bumpers, a body-colored grille with chrome-accent bars, chrome door handles and body-side moldings, along with polished aluminum wheels.

Available in LT or LTZ trim levels in either Summit White or Black colors, GM said pricing for Chevrolet’s new “monochromatic” package will vary from $700 to $1,695, depending on the model.

The Ram Truck division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) also recently rolled out another new customized offering for its pickup line at the recent Dallas Auto Show: a “Texas Ranger” concept truck.

Although the Ram Texas Ranger edition is a “one-of-a-kind concept,” Bob Hegbloom, Ram’s president and CEO, did not rule out a possible production run, though no timing or pricing for a possible future Texas Ranger edition was announced.

“The Ram team developed this commemorative concept truck in order to further highlight our relationship with the Texas Rangers and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum,” he noted in a statement.

This follows the debut of the Ram Laramie Edition luxury at the Chicago Auto Show back in February.

Some of the features on the new Texas Ranger concept pickup include:

  • Special Texas Ranger badging on the interior and exterior of the vehicle, designed to represent the Mexican five-peso coins from which Ranger badges are tooled;
  • A vault underneath the console lid with a combination lock to hold items of value;
  • New center stack, center console, door spears and seat trim bezels with simulated galvanized metal decorative finish;
  • New Canyon Brown-stained open-pore walnut wood trim pieces throughout the cabin, including the all-new console tambour door.

The reason for offering more such “customized” pickup models is that the sell extremely well, Hegbloom pointed out – especially in select states such as Texas

“More Texans drive pickup trucks than drivers in any other state [making up] 20% of motor vehicle registrations versus 12% national average,” he said. “In fact, Ram sells nearly two-and-a-half times as many pickup trucks in Texas as it does in the next-highest volume state.”

Hegbloom added that Ram’s Lone Star edition is by far its best-selling model in Texas, accounting for nearly 40% of the half-ton mix. Since the Lone Star’s debut in 2002, Ram has sold more than 230,000 of those Texas-only models.

The Detroit News noted in February that the increasing number of “custom” pickup truck packages being sold has driven up average prices for those models over the last decade by 37.4% to $42,103 last year.

Without adjusting for inflation, the newspaper said that is nearly $10,000 more than the industry average in 2014, some $16,500 more than a mid-size car and the highest growth of any mainstream segment in the U.S. since 2004.

“Today’s high-end pickups have more features than select luxury sedans,” added Ram’s Hegbloom. “That’s why we will continue to strive for the highest levels of sophistication, while keeping the core needs of a truck owner top of mind.”

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