Despite all-time high gas costs and increasing pressures on automakers to reduce emissions and design “green” vehicles, the pickup truck continues to hold a serious piece of the US auto market. There is something about the truck that appeals to a great number of Americans. In some cases, utility is the driving force. For people who work with their vehicle; towing equipment, hauling materials, accessing remote properties, the pickup is a requirement. For others, recreation is important. Pulling a camp trailer, boat, or toy hauler demands a pickup truck. For still others, the truck itself, without regard to capability, is the desired object. With the various reasons to own a pickup, there ought to be some variation in truck ownership by region as some trucks are better suited to work and others to play.
There are of course many brands to choose from in the US truck market and there are brand loyalists who would never be caught dead in the “other” brand. With that said, Ford and Chevrolet hold the corner on US manufactured vehicles while Toyota and increasingly Nissan are the biggest imports. In large part, the capabilities of like-sized trucks are the same and the brands vary primarily by finish and styling. In 2012, according to PickupTrucks.com, the Ford F-Series was the best selling truck followed by the Chevy Silverado. How do these brands compare regionally? Do Southerners prefer a different pickup than New Englanders or folks working the fields in Wyoming?
In late 2013, Slate.com did a “most popular vehicle by state” report. Interestingly, the Ford F-Series pickup was the most popular vehicle in 30 states. As for regional preference, 60% of the country is a huge region. The other popular pickups on the list were the Silverado in Indiana, the Toyota Tacoma in Hawaii and the GMC Sierra in Vermont. Certainly, a snapshot of vehicle purchasing does not provide a great deal of information about driver opinion. There is always the chance that every Dodge loving truck owner in Wyoming bought new trucks in 2012 and missed the survey. However, I think this report punctuates the essence of truck culture in the US.