Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Tale of Two Types of Truck Owners

Toyota has cleaned the Big Three's clock in just about every category except one...pickup trucks. Jeff Green and Alan Ohnsman of Bloomberg Business explain why:
"The Big Three successfully beat back the Toyota incursion into the pickup market," says Brian Johnson, a Barclays (BCS) auto analyst who in 2007 predicted the Japanese company's success. "We had expected Toyota would do what they did with cars and take over the market. Their share gains have been frustratingly slow."

One reason: Toyota's full-size Tundra, which starts at $23,455, attracts a different type of buyer, data from Nielsen Claritas show. Toyota truck owners are 38 percent more likely to fly on business than typical drivers, and they lean toward hobbies like backpacking and mountain biking. Buyers of big pickups from GM, Ford, and Chrysler, however, are more likely to own a rifle to hunt than a bike to ride. Because that group of traditional truck buyers is so much larger, the Big Three has retained more than 90 percent of large pickup sales. It's a particularly lucrative win: Pickup profits range from $9,000 to $13,000 per vehicle, vs. $5,000 per car, Johnson said.

The cool response that Toyota—the world's largest auto company and America's largest producer of cars—has received to its big pickups has sent market researchers sifting through sales data for demographic and psychographic clues to the causes of its disappointing performance. They found that GM and Ford truck owners, for instance, are more likely to dine at Cracker Barrel (CBRL) restaurants, have dial-up Internet, and use the paper Yellow Pages, according to purchase data from Nielsen Claritas.

A much higher share of buyers of Toyota's big pickup dine at steakhouses, shop online, own golf clubs, and subscribe to magazines like Runner's World, the Nielsen data show. "Toyota planned for a [truck] market that really didn't exist," says Alan L. Baum, an auto analyst at Baum & Associates. "They just didn't hit a chord with buyers. It was almost comical."


  1. I'm not doubting the profiles of GM/Ford truck drivers versus Toyota truck drivers, but the article seems to imply that if Toyota simply had better marketing toward folks who use dial up internet and eat at Cracker Barrel, they'd be able to sell more trucks. And I don't think it's that simple. The real question is why those people shun Toyota. It seems like the cost of the truck might have more to do with this than some sort of red state/blue state/hillbilly/sophisticate dichotomy.

  2. In a way, i think the data was trying to say people who buy American made trucks from Flint are "simpletons" or "ignorant". I believe it is contrary.

    These people can see through the foreign car companies gimmicks. Such gimmicks include "better design", "better MPG, "better dealer service" ETC. When i hear people say these things, i just laugh.

    It couldn't be further from the truth. Most Americans that are honest with themselves during a large purchase, take a lot into consideration.

    They dont listen to the hype. Go look at a F-150 or Silverado. Then look at the Tundra.. See for your self. Oh.. and the best one "the resale value is higher". OHHHH REALLLLYYYY.... lol.. NOT!!

    Put 100,000 miles on any Toyota.. I dare you to compare it to a Chevy or Ford. You will see the styling seems to stay timeless and current. The warranty more then likely is still in effect. And if you even wanted to sell it, you would get a fair rate for your American car. . . Plus a load of pride to boot. .

  3. Tundra buyers don't see, or don't care about, a connection between where the profits go from their vehicle preference and who will be the surviving vehicle companies that will decide where to put the manufacturing jobs that the current generation's kids and grandkids may someday need.

    Chevy/Ford/GMC/Ram buyers understand that connection very well.

  4. This is because the pushers are much heavier duty vehicles and therefore the chassis are designed to carry more weight they also have a better turning circle class a diesel for sale


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.