When in Texas, love trucks


A Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD with bull bars

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” the saying goes. Well, when in Texas, love trucks as the Texans do.

On my second visit to the Lone Star State a week ago, I saw again how pickup trucks outnumber cars and SUVs on the road, especially in the suburbs and rural communities.

This time, though, it seemed that the heavy duty or HD pickups had grabbed a bigger share of the market than on my last trip in 2013.

Texas is the second largest state in the United States of America, second only to Alaska whose map, if superimposed on the map of the US, would cover about three-fourths of the country. California is the third largest state.

One in five trucks sold in the US is sold in Texas, and Texas accounts for 15 percent of the country’s large truck sales, Edmunds.com reports.

In fact, you have to add California, Florida and Oklahoma together to get a respectable second place in truck sales.

Texas Cadillacs

Trucks are key figures in Texas society as both work trucks and luxury vehicles, or Texas Cadillacs, as the marketing manager of the Chevrolet Silverado line said.

In Texas, the number one status symbol is not a Mercedes or a BMW, but a big, brawny, powerful and fully decked out pickup such as a Ford F-250 or a Chevy Silverado 2500HD or Dodge Ram 3500 with Power Stroke, Duramax or Cummins diesel.

Texas is so dominant in truck sales that auto companies sometimes divide their national marketing into North, East, West and Texas.

“Built Texas Tough” and “Built by Texans for Texans” are frequently heard ad slogans for the pricey brutes.

The flagship truck for Texas appeal is Ford’s King Ranch edition pickup, named after the most famous ranch in Texas and known throughout the US as an icon of manliness and macho sublimity, according to an article by W.F. Strong, a Fulbright scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande.

Manly ethos

In a stroke of marketing genius 15 years ago, Ford wrapped their F-Series trucks in the
manly ethos of the King Ranch brand, emblazoning every leather seat within the truck with the King Ranch Running W cattle brand, W.F. Strong wrote.

After all, the King Ranch uses only Ford trucks and has about 350 of them throughout its various divisions. One out of every five Ford trucks sold is sold in Texas, and 40 percent of the King Ranch models, are sold in Texas.

Chevy and GMC also have Texas editions, ditto the Dodge Ram with its Lone Star edition and Toyota, whose full size pickups are built in San Antonio.

The question naturally arises: Who sells the most pickup trucks in America?

The mainstream truck manufacturers in the US are Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan, Ram and Toyota. Each brand makes its own sales number claims and disputes competing claims.

39 years leadership

Ford is claiming 39 consecutive years of F-Series pickup truck sales leadership, TFLTruck reports.

In terms of full-size truck sales, Ford’s claim is borne out by a October 2016 sales report that the F-Series (F-150, F-250, F-350) sold 65,542 units. Chevy Silverado was second with 46,768 sold that month, while Ram was third with 43,891.

Trailing the top three in large truck sales are the GMC Sierra with 15,050 units sold, the Toyota Tundra with 9,533, and the Nissan Titan with 3,181.

Two Ford F-150s parked in Aubrey

Incidentally, in Texas the Chevrolet Colorado and Nissan Frontier are categorized as midsize trucks, while the Ford Ranger and Honda Ridgeline are considered light duty trucks.

While I was in Dallas, I saw only two Ford Rangers, and they were old models.

Black seems to be the favored color for pickup trucks in Texas. To my everlasting regret, I failed to snap a photo of an awesome black Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch edition as it passed by while we were standing in front of a Target store. And of a black Ford F-150 Raptor as it overtook us on the highway (I was not driving.)

On the other hand, after an evaluation of heavy duty mainstream trucks (Ford F-250, Ram 2500 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, and the new Nissan Titan eXtra Duty or XD), the New Cars November 2017 issue of Consumer Reports concludes that these one-ton rough-and-tumble rigs equipped with four-door crew cab bodies, turbo-diesel engines, and four-wheel-drive “aren’t designed for everyday driving…. Using these beasts for simple transportation is overkill.”

Tell that to the Texans.

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