Domestic auto makers are struggling to sell cars, but they seem in the driver's seat when it comes to pickup truck appeal
More in-market truck shoppers are considering the purchase of a domestic truck than an import brand, according to Kelley Blue Book's Brand Watch research report.
Its data puts GMC at the top of buyer loyalty among truck owners. Chevrolet and Toyota tied for second place there, while Dodge and Ford tied for third.
Brand Watch polls potential truck buyers, or “intenders,” on 13 attributes associated with vehicle choice. High on truck shoppers' list are functional features such as durability, fuel efficiency and towing capacity.
Chevrolet receives top recognition on the highest number of factors overall, including driving comfort, driving performance, interior layout/design, and available options.
General Motors Corp. products also place high for exterior styling and design among truck intenders.
Asian auto makers are becoming players in the pickup truck market with the innovative Honda Ridgeline and the redone '08 Toyota Tundra, says Rick Wainschel, Kelley's vice president of marketing research and brand communications.
But he adds: “While these auto makers have clearly changed their brand perception among passenger car buyers, they still have some work to do in the minds of truck buyers.”
Adds Jack R. Nerad, Kelley's executive editorial director and executive market analyst: The truck market is a very important sales segment and one that the domestics really need to keep a firm grasp on over the next few years.”