Truck enthusiasts Ernest Johnson and Mike Herron couldn’t be more different.
Johnson, 80, lives in Pontiac, Mich. He retired from General Motors in 1999, where he drove a tractor-trailer delivery truck for 35 years. Meanwhile, Herron, 65, lives in Durant, Okla., owns four businesses and is a real estate investor who has driven BMWs for the past decade.
Yet each paid an amount equal to that of a small house to buy new 2019 GM pickups.
“The price is a little high, but with all the technology on it, I guess it’s worth it,” Johnson said. “But, in the future, it’s something a lot of people won’t be able to afford.”
Johnson paid nearly $60,000 for his 2019 Chevrolet Silverado Z71, he said. For that price, he will keep it a long time.
The prices people are paying for pickups have steadily risen in the past decade, pushing the trucks further out of reach for average consumers. Some full-size pickups can cost more than $100,000.
Edmunds’ data show, through September, the average transaction price for a full-size pickup is $48,377, a 48 percent boost from 10 years ago and a 19 percent hike from 2013. For that price, a person could buy a Mercedes-Benz or BMW luxury sedan.
The median household income of the truck buyer also has been on the rise, said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision in San Diego.
Through August, that metric is $100,305 a year, up from a median household income of a general new vehicle buyer at $95,355, he said. In 2009, the median household income for general new car buyers was $83,516 vs. $76,660 for pickup truck buyers, he said. The Census Bureau puts the median household income in the United States at about $59,000.
“So those who purchase a truck have even more money than those who buy a new car,” Edwards said.
Car dealer Charlie Gilchrist, owner of Gilchrist Automotive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said he worries that pickups will soon be unaffordable to many of his customers.
“I’m not sure everybody wants all that technology, but we’re adding all of it,” Gilchrist said.
“We’re actually in the luxury business at those prices.”