US: pickup truck sales soar, hybrids plummet image

It’s very interesting to see how the US auto industry’s revival is once again supported by the segment that was going towards the grave according to many – the hulking full-size pickup trucks.

Back in 2009 after the economic crisis chewed its way through the world’s economy, US automakers were shown the bill – build hybrids, kill trucks. They didn’t do exactly that and they are thoroughly compensated – the pickups and SUVs are selling very well and bring fat earnings to the company vaults.

Meanwhile, the hybrids are going the opposite way – with many buyers skipping the eco-conscious buy because the technology hasn’t advanced enough yet and the costs remain very high. The segment could get a new life if plug-in hybrids swarm, but so far the carmakers (for the most part) are only planning, not delivering.

According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the national US average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has reached just $3.04 – that means many states are well below the $3 per gallon mark. And not coincidentally, September has shown 18.5% jump for pickup sales, according to Autodata. For the same period, the most popular hybrid out there – Toyota’s Prius – has gone down around 10%. According to analysts at TrueCar, the incentive that a carmaker typically shells for hybrids is now even bigger than for conventionally powered cars.

Via Forbes