Pickups Outsell Passenger Cars in U.S. for the First Time Ever

In all the years Chevy has sold Silverados and Ford trafficked in F-150s, few in Detroit ever dreamed the day would come that pickups would outsell passenger cars.

But the highly lucrative truck segment dominated byFord Motor Co.,General Motors Co. andFiat Chrysler Automobiles NV did just that last month. Pickups beat cars by more than 17,000 units in April, according to market researcher Autodata Corp.

It’s a remarkable turn of events for an industry that’s long been reliant on trucks as cash cows, but never to this degree. Just five years ago, cars outsold pickups by more than half a million units in a single month. Detroit began ditching sedans the following year andhasn’t looked back. Full-size truck models alone were more than 40% of GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler’s sales in April, according to Evercore ISI.

There are a few factors contributing to the development. Detroit’s deliveries — pickups and otherwise — are concentrated more so in middle America than the coastal states that introduced some of the earliest and most aggressive shutdown orders. Trucks also were bolstered by0% financing offers, some of which stretched loans out for as long as seven years, Joe Spak, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, wrote in a report.

“Even in a pandemic there are some offers too good to pass up,” Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive’s senior economist,said Monday. “Many of our daily tracking numbers were showing strong interest in 0% financing offers, as well as a lot of interest in pickup trucks.”

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