Pickup sales have experienced a positive response due to the cheaper gas prices of recent weeks, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Auto dealerships still have an influx of leftover 2008 models, but with gas well below $3 a gallon, buyers are taking advantage of special promotions and discounts.
Mark Frost, dealership manager of Jim Ellis Chevrolet in Atlanta, told the Journal that pickup sales have yet to rebound to levels before gas cost $4 a gallon and the credit crisis hit the market, but selling 30 to 40 trucks a month is a definite improvement to the recent average of 15 a month.
At the time of the article (November 3), gas prices were down about 35% since July to a nationwide average of about $2.65 a gallon. Increased pickup sales indicate that consumers are not ready to give up on large pickups and SUVs.
According to the Journal, data from the Power Information Network reveals that the share of large-pickup owners trading for another large pickup decreased to as low as 49.8% in May as gas prices soared. By September, this level had rebounded to 74.5%—the highest in 13 months—and was running just under 72% in early October.
Dealer chain AutoNation Inc. told the Journal that consumer interest in trucks tracked through its AutoUSA website rose to 10% of total searches from 7% in the second quarter. Coinciding with this upsurge, Ford announced plans to recall more than 1,000 laid-off workers at a plant in Dearborn to increase production of its newly-redesigned F-150 pickups.