Pickup trucks have ballooned over the years
What we use our pickups for is changing radically — even as trucks remain bound up in Texas' self-image of rugged independence.
The big picture: Perhaps no vehicle is more associated with Texas than the Ford F-150, consistently our state's top-selling pickup.
Zoom in: In Houston, trucks and SUVs dominate the market, accounting for three out of every four vehicles sold, according to TexAuto Facts.
- The Ford-F Series is the most popular vehicle in Houston, with more than 18,000 new registered vehicles from January 2022 to November 2022, according to S&P Global Mobility.
Between the lines: There's a discrepancy between the myth of the pickup truck and its actual use, one that mirrors the recent history of a fast-suburbanizing Texas.
- As pickups transitioned from farm and ranch workhorses to lifestyle vehicles, their design shifted accordingly: Cabs expanded to accommodate more passengers, while beds shrank, per a new Axios Visuals special project.
What they're saying: "Today, personality and imagery are playing an even more important role in how consumers choose which truck is right for them," Strategic Vision researcher Alexander Edwards tells Axios.
- 40% of F-150 owners describe their vehicle as "powerful," compared to 15% for other car owners, per the firm.
- Traits declining in popularity: "functional," "reliable," "economical."
- Traits increasing in popularity: "modern," "sophisticated," "technologically advanced."
By the numbers: The first generation of F-150s were 36% cab and 64% bed by length.
- By 2021, the ratio had flipped, with 63% cab and 37% bed, as trucks were being used more for carrying people than lumber, rubble or bags of concrete.
- The 2023 F-150’s lower trims cost between $34,000 and $42,000, but high-end models can run up to $85,000.
What's next: The electric truck.
- Tesla is rolling out its Cybertruck, Rivian sells the R1T, and Ford delivered more than 13,000 of its F-150 Lightning trucks in 2022.
- Like some of their conventional counterparts, these vehicles have a luxury sensibility and high price points — the R1T starts at $70,000.
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