At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, we saw the next wave of iron (and sometimes aluminum) from each of the builders at a show that is overrun with trucks.
New trucks from Ford, GM, and Ram in the same year happens less often than a full solar eclipse. I’m usually happy with just one new entry—and some years I don’t even get that. But not in 2018: I’m spoiled for choice, and I plan on being very, very busy.
You’ve already read about what’s coming, but I can’t emphasize enough that these really are new trucks:
Each one has a new chassis, drive gear, and powertrains. No warmed-over models with a dab of new paint this year!
A seismic shift: diesel
But beyond the obvious next-gen headlines, there is a further seismic shift going on in the truck world: diesel. For the first time, each manufacturer will offer a small-displacement (3.0L, to be exact) diesel engine in its half-ton truck. While Ram took the lead on this front, both Ford and GM have now committed to a diesel-powered half-ton.
This one development will have a profound impact on the market. Customers will now be able to cross-shop not only brands, but diesel engines as well.
If you’re wondering whether all this truck mania is warranted, consider that the pickup truck market in North America can account for as many as two million units sold each year. Each of these units can produce two to three times as much profit as a car. That’s why there is such serious competition in this segment.
Imagine an average $8,500 profit to the factory on each pickup, when an average of 288 trucks are sold every hour of every day, right through the year.
So what am I looking forward to? All-new gas engines, as well as those diesels—and getting to test each and every one of them. The updated electronics, infotainment, and driver-assist technologies in each truck. Increased payload and towing capacities—which I also look forward to putting to the test, my way.
But best of all will be simply driving and living with the newest designs from each of the big three truck brands.
It’s going to be a good year.