Market Snapshot


Sales of Ford's F-Series Light Duty edged out the Chevy Silverado in July.  

Pickup sales have dropped 26% compared to the same period last year, according to SEMA research. The specialty-equipment industry has long revered the pickup vehicle segment as an opportunity for profits due to its past growth, but hikes in gasoline prices this year have taken a toll on recent sales. The table below shows the top 20-selling pickups in July of 2008, in addition to how they sold last year.

Around 57% of enthusiasts that own pickups said that they purchased their vehicle used, according to SEMA's Automotive Lifestyle Study of automotive enthusiast magazine subscribers, administered late last year. This means that as more used trucks enter the market from consumers switching to other vehicle types, there is potential for SEMA members to market toward consumers purchasing these used pickups at depreciated market values with extra money in their pockets for custom parts and accessories.

Looking at those enthusiasts that currently own pickups, according to the Automotive Lifestyle Study, some of the top activities reflect a need for a pickup. Fifty-percent said they go camping or hiking; 49% hunting, fishing or shooting; 47% off-roading; and 32% boating or sailing. In addition, the top profession noted by these enthusiasts was “skilled trade,” a line of work that often requires a pickup.

R.L. Polk registration data shows that 12% of all vehicles registered in the United States are fullsize pickups. A survey sent to SEMA members earlier this year showed that 70% either manufactured or sold specialty products for large pickups. These sales shifts have the potential to impact SEMA members in a major way. However, the market for used pickups may still hold strong.

So while new pickup sales are down this year, specialty-equipment companies could still benefit by focusing on current pickup owners.

For more original SEMA research, please visit