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Detroit Auto Companies Compete For The Coveted Texas Truck Buyer

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Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News
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From Texas Standard.

Long seen as a symbol of Texas, the pickup truck is a valuable commodity in the automotive marketplace. It isn’t unusual for more pickups to be sold in two Texas cities – Houston and Dallas – than in the entire state of California.

Texans are loyal to their favorite manufacturers, but Bloomberg reporter Kyle Stock says automakers are spending serious money to change their minds.

“These companies like to brag about how loyal their drivers are, their buyers, and how these folks go back to the dealer and get the new version of the same truck, but they overstate that a little,” he says. “The loyalty in the segment is high for the auto world, but it’s still only about 50 percent.”

That means every year half of the market is in play. Each of Detroit’s big three – Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors – are putting new pickups on the market this year.

“Recently a lot of the growth has been in the weekend-warrior,” Stock says. “A lot of these folks that don’t use the truck for work are actually using the truck for play.”

As the auto-industry moves toward driverless and electric cars, Detroit still focuses on what it does best, which is turning a profit off of pickup trucks. On average, these companies make a profit of about $10,000 on a pickup. On the luxury trucks, the margin is even higher.

“The economics on these things are brilliant,” Stock says.

Written by Jeremy Steen.

Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.
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