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October 2020 Newsletter

Hottest luxury auto in U.S.? New Ford F-150 truck

Ford’s first F-Series trucks were no-frills workhorses built for no-frills workers, promoted as if they were carved out of stone for the blue-collar, meat-eating, all-American man. In 1969, the pickups came in three editions — the Contractor Special, the Heavy Duty Special and the Farm & Ranch Special — and with few upgrades, except more space for toolboxes.

But now the once-spartan F-150, America’s best-selling pickup for 38 years straight, is looking more dolled-up, and less middle-class, than ever. Its new Limited model, Ford’s most “luxurious truck ever,” comes with “genuine fiddleback eucalyptus” trim, heated-and-cooled massaging Mojave leather seats and “unique scuff plates with ice blue backlighting.” Starting price: About $60,000, an F-150 all-time high.

The truck’s turn from rugged back roads to glitz and luxury has driven its price twice as high as the average car or truck sold in the U.S. this year, pricier even than upscale SUVs from Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. But it has also highlighted the growing distance between American trucks’ classic market of middle-income buyers, and its newer, more moneyed clientele.

“The market has grown quite ravenous for products and features and technology that would be very comparable with luxury cars,” said Erich Merkle, a U.S. sales analyst for Ford. “A pickup truck is designed for work. But just because you haul doesn’t mean you don’t want all the luxury accommodations, or that you don’t want to make a statement.”

The F-150 has become the king of trucks regarded “as much of a status symbol as they are a tool,” said Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. And it’s not just that a nation of office jockeys wants a meaty truck to boost their egos: Successful contractors, small-business owners and others are increasingly opting for upgraded trucks that make a rumbling statement about their success.

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Source: columbian.com


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