Survey eases fears of pickup cannibalization

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LOS ANGELES – While FCA US and Ford Motor Co. In the coming months, to prepare for their return on the medium-sized pick-up segment, a survey suggests that consumers provide a detailed overview of the offer and that new medium-sized pick-up customers can migrate from a few surprising segments.

The survey of 1,460 current shoppers – conducted in November by Autolist.com in response to the upcoming launch of the Jeep Gladiator and Ford Ranger – found that 62 percent of those surveyed would "absolutely" consider a new compact or mid-sized pickup. " probably "buy one, compared to 33 percent who were not interested.

Key findings

Autolist.com has surveyed 1,460 current shop customers of a vehicle about compact and medium-sized pickups.

    80% say that smaller elements have improved compared to previous offers.
    62% would consider buying a compact or medium-sized pick-up or considering doing so.
    Only 19% of owners of large trailers would consider reducing capacity.
    The Toyota Tacoma has the highest name recognition with smaller pickups (86%).
    Use of the bed is the biggest why-buy.
    Bad fuel consumption is the biggest obstacle to buy.

The survey also showed that the largest pool of potential new buyers is likely to be among sports car and coupe owners, while the least interested buyers of smaller pickups owned full-size pickups.

Autolist says that 38 percent of the owners of sports cars or muscle cars would "absolutely" consider buying a compact or medium-sized pickup, along with 33 percent of the coupe owners. Meanwhile, only 19 percent of the owners of full-size pickups for new vehicles said they would consider the smaller trucks.

If the findings of the survey are representative of the total procurement pool, it would be great news for car manufacturers selling large and small pickups. The Detroit 3 killed their mid-range collection at several points years ago, largely because they felt that the smaller pickups – with thinner margins – cannibalized the potential sale of more profitable full-size pickups.

But if car or cross-over owners are willing to dip a toe in the medium-sized pick-up segment, while buyers stay true to where they are, that would be a recipe for greater profitability across the board.

"We are about to enter a golden age for lifestyle trucks," said Chase Disher, chief analyst at Autolist.com.

"Consumers have seen unrefined SUVs from the past evolve into very attractive crossovers today, and our study shows that they expect the same evolution in lifestyle trucks."

The survey found that 80 percent of respondents believe that today's compact and medium-sized pickups have evolved significantly compared to previous versions in terms of comfort, safety and fuel efficiency, with both men and women showing the potential utility of the pick-up bed as the main reason why they would consider smaller pickups. Women also mentioned reliability as an important consideration for the transition to the segment.

The survey also showed that consumers had a very strong name recognition with existing vehicles in the segments and in the future. The Toyota Tacoma had the highest name recognition in the segments, with 86 percent of respondents saying they had heard of it, followed by the Ford Ranger with 76 percent.

Of the eight existing or expected nameplates tested in the survey, only one – the Hyundai Santa Cruz, with 26 percent – had a name recognition below 50 percent, according to the survey.

Hyundai has said it will develop a compact pickup that could reach the US in 2021, based on the Santa Cruz concept shown in Detroit in 2015, but the vehicle is not yet green light for production.