There is nothing more ubiquitous and American than the pickup truck. First, for those of you who are somehow unfamiliar with a pickup truck, it goes by other names in other English-speaking countries: Ute (short for Utility) in Australia and New Zealand, Bakkie in South Africa, Half-truck in Egypt, Slipper in Romania, Tender in Israel, and in England they are sometimes referred to as “Yank Tanks” due to, in many cases, their huge size compared to European vehicles. For many years, the only real pickup truck was one made in the good old US of A, but lately even the Japanese carmakers have brought mammoth pickups to the American Market, and even Hyundai, the Korean automaker that is new to the American car market is rumored to be considering a full-size pickup truck offering. In fact, import trucks make up roughly 40% of sales in the US.
How much do Americans love trucks? In the last 12 months (July 2009 through June 2010) Americans bought over 5.3 million new pickup trucks! The amazing thing is that through the same period, Americans bought only 5.8 million new cars! Trucks are almost more popular than cars. The two top selling light vehicles in June were both pickup trucks.
Why do we love Trucks? Well, for starters they can carry stuff. A lot of stuff!
Also, you can tow stuff:
I talked to this guy at the local gas station. He had welded a crane hook to his bumper on his Toyota 4x4 (4x4 means that there are four wheels, and all four can be powered). Whey I asked him what he tows with that big hook, he responded with a huge grin, “about anything I want to tow!”
We love trucks because they can go places most cars can’t go. You have to check out this video of some folks who live near me in southern Louisiana. After watching the video it will be obvious why you want big tires on your truck, and why you need the axles high off the ground!
If you want a truck but don’t need to haul stuff, you can get an SUV! It can still be cool and rough around the edges, even if it is a Lexus:
If you want to make it harder for people to see your truck, you can paint it (or apply a huge, truck-sized decal!)
Remember, your truck isn’t high enough unless it takes a ladder to climb up in there:
Maybe someday I can trade in my little red and white car for a big truck.