During the first four months of 2008, pickup sales have dropped 17% compared to the same time period last year. The specialty-equipment industry has long revered the pickup segment as opportunities for profits due to its growth in the past, but hikes in gasoline prices have taken a toll on recent sales.

AutoPacific, an automotive industry consulting firm, predicts that small or compact pickups will drop to 503,300 units sold for 2008, a decrease of 8% from 2007. Large-pickup sales will endure an even more drastic decline of 20%, according to forecasts, ending 2008 with about 1,700,300 units sold. Overall, pickup sales will drop 18% in 2008, according to AutoPacific data.

The table below shows the top-20 selling pickups from January–April 2008, in addition to how they sold last year. 

In addition to declining pickup sales, SUV sales have also dropped compared to last year. During the first four months of this year, overall sales have dropped 27%, and total sales are forecasted to decline 25% in 2008 compared to last year.

The table below shows the top-20 selling SUVs from January–April of this year.

Although consumers are buying fewer pickups and SUVs, crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) are becoming a more popular choice. Overall, sales have increased 5% from last year, and the 2008 year-end forecast for this segment is expected to remain at this percent.

The table below shows the top-20 selling CUVs for 2008 through April.

Pickups and SUVs have become a mainstream vehicle choice for consumers not necessarily in need of the towing and hauling capabilities that these trucks provide. However, as the U.S. economy experiences a downturn due, in part, to high gas prices, consumers have shifted their buying preferences. While drivers still seek the family hauling capabilities and utility of pickups and SUVs, they now find similar attributes in CUVs, which also offer improved fuel economy and handling compared to their body-on-frame counterparts.

For more original SEMA market research, visit