Are Trucks Becoming the New Family Vehicles???

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PICKUP TRUCK sales are the
hottest they've been in a
decade, and it's no wonder:
Driving one is no longer a
bumpy, jarring experience that
you have to endure.
Truck makers today are
building pickups with broader
appeal, with a softer ride and
more safety, convenience, and
comfort features.
As a result, pickups are
now attracting more buyers,
including those who like the
addition of backseats and more
cab space and don't seem to
imind
sacrificing some truck bed
length for the extra room inside.
Although the pickup market
remains overwhelmingly
dominated by male buyers,
the number of women who
registered full-sized pickups
increased 67 percent from
2008 to 2016 (reaching more
than 470,000 trucks in 2016),
based on data from IHS Markit.
"Family trucks are 40 to 50
percent of our mix," says David
Elshoff, Ram brand spokesman.
In the industry, a family truck
is one with four full-sized doors
in a mid-level or higher trim.
Additional seating has been
a trend over the last 10 years,
and those bigger cabs mean
more space for adults as well
as kids, says Jen Stockburger,
director of operations at
Consumer Reports' Auto Test
Center in Connecticut. "In
our tests, crew-cab pickups
typically offer generous rearseat
room to install child
seats," she says.
But the space needed for
those seats means a trade
off in the size of the pickup
beds. Twenty years ago, the
Ford F-150's most popular
combination was a regular cab
with an 8-foot bed, according
to Mel Yu, CR's automotive
analyst. Today the cabs ate alot
bigger and the beds are smaller.
Consumers donTsemto mind.-
General Motors says the most
popular combo now for the
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a
crew cab with a 5-foot-8-inch
bed, the shortesf available.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY CHANGES
Shoppers who choose a
pickup as a family vehicle
bring different needs to the
segment than traditional
buyers, says CM spokesman
Nick Richards. Core truck
capabilities, such as hauling,
towing, and off-road ability,
are still priorities, he says, but
"exterior appearance, safety,
and technology are now more
important than ever." It also
doesn't hurt that pickups sit
fairly high off the ground, with
acres of glass, giving drivers
a good view of the world
outside, although the long and
tall hoods can make parking
situations a challenge.