Maybe it’s a sign that we have defeated the coronavirus and all is right with the world: Ford is going ahead on Thursday with the online unveiling of its next- generation F-150 pickup truck, its golden goose.
Of course I’m kidding about the pandemic. Infections are rising again in several states. But at some point, you have to get back to business, and pickup trucks are BIG business.
The light-duty full-size pickup segment has shifted to become more competitive since early February, according to CarGurus data. In early February, Silverado lead submissions controlled slightly more than 50% of the lead submission share in the light-duty full-size pickup segment. However, as Silverado inventory levels declined, both Ford and Ram lead submissions increased.
On Feb. 1, the F-150 was 20.6% of new light-duty full-size pickup leads on CarGurus and on June 17, that number was 22.6%.
The 2021 F-150 will be unveiled via livestream at 8 p.m. Thursday. Those interested in watching can sign up for a calendar reminder on Ford's website. It will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Ford posted a teaser image on its website as part of the buildup leading up to premiere of the truck. The image shows the darkened profile of the new F-150's front end with no features visible except for the LEDs and the grille.
The pickup truck — which wages an ongoing marketing and sales war with the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram pickup — is Ford's top-selling product and has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for more than 40 years.
Last model year Ford sold nearly 896,526 F-Series trucks, down slightly from the 2018 model year by 1.4%. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sold 633,694 Rams and General Motors’ Chevrolet division sold 633,694 Silverados.
In February, CarGurus surveyed 1,574 current and former pickup truck owners on their sentiments towards traditional classic and electric pickup trucks. Among them, 858 currently own a pickup truck and 689 have owned a pickup truck previously. There was a total of 536 full size-truck owners including 212 full-size Ford truck owners and 158 full-size Chevrolet truck owners.
According to the survey, 27% of Ford full-size pickup truck owners said they wouldn’t consider purchasing another pickup truck brand besides Ford, vs. 17% among other full-size pickup owners. By comparison, just 15% of Chevrolet full-size pickup owners say they wouldn’t consider purchasing another pickup truck brand besides Chevrolet.
And Ford can expect some conquests: 33% of full-size pickup owners that don’t own a Ford said they would consider a Ford pickup truck for their next purchase and 34% of Chevrolet full-size pickup owners said they would consider a Ford pickup truck for their next purchase.
Among full-size pickup truck owners that would consider switching to Ford for their next purchase, the top motivations for looking elsewhere are price (62%), comfort (52%) and gas mileage (51%).
Compared to total full-size pickup owners looking to switch, those considering Ford over-index in caring about safety (43% vs. 34% total full-size owners), power/engine size (36% vs. 32% total full-size owners), and tow capacity (33% vs. 29% total full-size owners).
Ford also commissioned its own survey about America’s love of trucks. Even amid a pandemic and a recession, trucks sales have spiked, surpassing sales of cars for the first time in history this April, the automaker notes.
The survey found that 25% of truck owners give their truck a name and 15% have tattoos of their truck or related to their truck. Truck owners would give up the following for a full year before giving up their truck: 82%, streaming services; 79%, drinking alcohol; and 71%, drinking coffee.
Now that’s dedication, and maybe some really good marketing.