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US Truck Sales Surpass Passenger Car Sales for the First Time

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2020 GMC Sierra
More U.S. consumers are rallying to full-size trucks like the GMC Sierra, according to the latest research
Photo: GM

If you’ve been monitoring U.S. vehicle sales trends the past couple of years, you’re likely aware that SUV and truck sales have been gradually increasing while passenger car sales have decreased. Now, American truck sales have officially surpassed passenger car sales for the first time in history, according to new research from Autodata Corporation.

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The stats

Per Bloomberg, customers bought 17,000 more pickup trucks than passenger cars during April. This would’ve been hard to imagine five years ago when passenger car sales beat pickup sales by more than half a million units in one month. In particular, full-size truck models are thriving. They comprised more than 40 percent of GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford sales last month.

Potential reasons for the truck sales surge

A few key factors that have contributed to the booming surge of pickup truck sales: zero-percent financing offers, low gas prices, and the timing of coronavirus-related shutdowns across America. Some dealerships have been offering zero-percent financing offers with seven-year loan terms. “Even in a pandemic, there are some offers too good to pass up,” Cox Automotive’s senior economist Charlie Chesbrough articulated.

With the current trend of low gas prices, consumers can bring home larger vehicles without caring as much about mileage. The fact that states in the middle of the U.S. implemented stay-at-home orders later than coastal states also helped truck sales peak. That’s especially true with Midwest-based automakers like GM.

Predicting the future of truck sales

Truck sales are doing so well here in America that, if this trend continues, some automakers might have a significant shortage of truck models. Production plants shut down back in March due to the pandemic. So, there’s a lack of supply which contrasts with the surge in demand.

Yet, if manufacturers are able to start up vehicle production in the near future, perhaps it’ll be an opportunity of economic growth. It could be the jumpstart that the auto industry needs in the wake of pandemic-related financial challenges.

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