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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #143: All beds bright and beautiful, all pickups great and small

Now, as they used to say on TV, the story can be told: In December I ordered myself a frisky new F-250 Platinum Crew Cab with the 7.3-liter "Godzilla" pushrod V-8 and the oh-so-hip "Dark Marsala" eggplant-colored leather interior. This morning, April 4th, it showed up at my favorite little rural dealership.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-143-all-beds-bright-and-be...
198 REPLIES 198
Numberscruncher
Detailer

wider pickup trucks, just want we need. NOT.
Punk
Advanced Driver

So much of 'modern' cars are what I call technology for technology's sake. IN other words, things that really don't help the driver much and in fact, hinder the use of the vehicle. But they seem cool on the showroom floor and up the cost. As you note, they are more complex and often, sadly, fail. I feel your pain. My 4X2 Frontier struggles mightily to tow my 19 foot camper, but I can't find anything that is as easy to drive and not miserably expensive and complicated to own. So it soldiers on.
asemastertech
Intermediate Driver

Bought a new 2017 Ram 2500 4wd Tradesman crew cab for 38K. No bells and whistles, no leather, just a basic work truck. Not much to go wrong!
Tinkerah
Engineer

I'm thisclose to writing that you misused it by putting things in the bed Jack. Those behemoths are built for and bought by commuters and bragging rights and not much more. Congratulations on the move and getting your reps in. Here's hoping the upcoming one goes smoother with experience gained from this one.
BMD4800
Gearhead

“ Those behemoths are built for and bought by commuters and bragging rights and not much more. ”

Do you know them?

You may not ever see me tow a backhoe, but it doesn’t mean I don’t do it.
JGeske
Instructor

In 2019, Strategic Vision performed a survey of 250,000 US truck owners (they do this annually, but 2019 was the last year I recall the numbers for) and 75% of respondents reported never towing or only doing so 1 time per year. 70% reported the same for off-roading (i.e. once or never each year). 35% reported never or only once annually hauling large cargo in the bed.

I am going to guess there is some overlap in those categories, so one could safely say that 35% of truck owners don't need a bed and never tow or off-road. The remaining half (another 35% of owners) of the 70% value could likely get by with a smaller truck than they have. The big takeaway is that only 25-30% of truck owners, a category you likely are a member of by your comment, actually need the amount of truck/capability that they bought. The rest are, as Tinkerah said, are for bragging rights.

You cannot look at someone driving a Carolina Squat, or a lifted F250 diesel with 22" chrome rims and low-pro tires, and say they do work with it while keeping a straight face.
CJinSD
Instructor

According to Strategic Vision, 65% of truck owners haul something in the beds of their trucks more than once a year. So, you're really only talking about a third of truck drivers who might not have good reasons for driving their trucks, and it is entirely possible that some people don't haul anything in their beds because they bought their trucks to tow gooseneck trailers. It is 100% nobody's business but the truck buyers themselves why they bought their trucks.
Tinkerah
Engineer

I confess BMD4800: Upon more thorough thought all of my observational experience is in the Northeast where a huge percentage of the vehicles on the road are four-door pickups with no passengers and empty beds. So what are they hauling in a four foot bed that warrants Load Range D tires, occasionally duallies - plutonium? User habits in other parts of the country may be completely different and if you (and anyone else) use your truck for actual work you are not who I mean in these comments.

Rider79
Technician

As someone once called those four-door, very short-bed pickups: two-thirds of a car. All the more reason why a medium or large SUV, with inside storage, would be better for most people.
Tinkerah
Engineer

I've been describing them as lifted sedans without trunk lids.

richard2
Intermediate Driver

Ford killed the 'old' Ranger and had no replacement for many years. During that time Ford sales people would ask if I wanted to trade in my 2008 Ranger on a new truck. I'd say, "sure, do you have any Rangers?" (yes, I'm a troublemaker). They would reply "No, but why not buy a full-size truck like the F-150?".

My reply was then and still is now: "If I wanted a full-size pick-up, I would have BOUGHT a full-size pickup". They really just don't get it.

So recent update: My Ranger got totaled last Christmas in a storm. My replacement truck was a Tacoma, because I always wanted to get a Toyota and also because getting a V-6 was non-negotiable for me.
RodneyRacer
Intermediate Driver

I used to tow my open car trailer with a ½ ton short bed pickup until I realized I was cheating death! Some small wiggles at certain speeds and bigger ones when being passed by as big rig or in wind gusts! So I upgraded to a ¾ ton Chevy. So much of an improvement I was now feeling safer. But then bought my first enclosed trailer and then was back to the wiggle and wind situation. So I bought a 1 ton crew cab dully and everything was where I was safe at any speed with any of the enclosed trailers behind me loaded with big-heavy antique cars! But I see these monster trucks that you cant get into without a ladder! And the big flat snout out front? I wonder who and why these trucks make it to market! And then they added DEF to the diesel engines! I use all three of my 1 ton, crew cab, dual rear wheel trucks as they are meant to be used, hauling loading, transporting. But I will never replace any of them with a too-tall, flat nosed, DEF choked diesel!
ATLpaul
Detailer

I think a lot of people buy full size crew cabs because it has become their family car. It has taken over for sedan, and many of those may want a SUV based on Silverado but those SUVs cost so much more and are out of reach.

For people who want utility in trucks, I think a Tacoma is really a great choice. I bought one. It has great 4x4 and enough room up front. It is not plush, but reliable. If you want a work truck, I think that is best choice. If you want a family vehicle that is a truck half tons rule. I am not sure about that super duty but may be if you need towing thats really the option.
SuperDeLuxe
Advanced Driver

Pickup trucks represent everything the privileged class hates about people who earn their living by sweat and skill. It's a constant reminder that they cannot live as they do without someone else doing the heavy lifting.
BMD4800
Gearhead

Bingo.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Don't forget that a journeyman electrician driving a massive $60k truck that dwarfs a Benz SUV offends the upper-middle-class sense of propriety. That's why their mouthpieces in the media push the vans so relentlessly -- because the vans are obviously prole-mobiles (the battleship-grey hipster conversions excepted) and the drivers don't have the same pride of ownership an F-150 Lariat owner has.
BMD4800
Gearhead

Bingo. 

Before college, before my career and climbing a corporate ladder, I stood in front of a 5 turret lathe.  It was all fun and games until the whistle blew, people were working, I had jobs to do, and this ridiculous machine sat there…waiting for me to command the output.   Suddenly all my bravado and youthful arrogance was gone. I had a mentor, a journeyman who probably forgot more about machining than I’d ever learn.   He stepped in and helped.   A much older African American man, gruff, rough, and borderline mean.  He called me white boy.   His name was Dwayne, but I called him black man.  I was mad he called me white boy, but too scared to use the N-word, he could see through me.  He laughed.  He said you can call me black man, that’s fine. 

 

He had struggled through racism, oppression, and segregation in the south to better himself and land a sweet gig in the north.   At the sunset of his career, he was handed some stupid kid who was too arrogant to see his ignorance, and too ignorant to see his arrogance.   But he endured.  He taught me so much, about machining, about life, about being a husband and a father.  All while I struggled with that relic of a machine, with the transition into manhood from high school immaturity weighing heavily upon me.  Rodney King had his run-in, a Million(ish) men marched, and he kept helping, all the while calling me white boy.   

One day we had a talk.   I explained how I truly valued his help, his mentorship, and his advice, but I had saved up enough money to move to AZ and go to school.    It must have been dusty that day, he said my name, wished me luck, and congratulated me.  Of all the people there, he was the only one.   

When I share my prior work experience, most folks don’t get it.    There is nothing wrong with labor, with trades, or with the important services they provide.   

Rider79
Technician

Boy, talk about generalization.

And, personally, I doubt if many of the "privileged class" even think often about the working class, let alone feel uncomfortable about them doing the heavy lifting. Also, I would point out that everyone - lawyer, CEO, tradesman, laborer, farmer - has a job to do; it all makes the world go around.
petersalt
Advanced Driver

Lawyers and Financiers ..? REALLY??
(we could shoot them all and the world
would still spin .. maybe BETTER.)
BMD4800
Gearhead

Oh, but you are so wrong.    

There is a systemic anti-labor sentiment that permeates the educated class.  Most of whom are incapable of basic life skills.  Trust me, I see it daily.  

Sajeev
Community Manager

Funny I never considered this, but now that I am looking back at all the people I've met in my white collar life who have a hard time understanding why I do what I do with cars...

DUB6
Specialist

   Sorry your white-collar life acquaintances have been so limited in outlook, @Sajeev - but when I was in that workforce (generally described as an office job), I actually met a ton of people who 'understood', but actually personally enjoyed more "menial" pastimes such as working on cars, hunting, riding choppers, and yes, utilizing pick-up trucks.   BMD4800 has a bit of a point, but like many others, he (or she) has formulated an all-encompassing viewpoint about ALL members of a particular group and painted the entire group with the same broad brush (what Rider79 correctly calls "generalization").  There's a lot of that going around these days, and in my mind, it's dangerous (and a bit lazy).  If being fair, one can actually find biased and narrow-minded people in ALL walks of life and social strata.  And with an open mind, one can also find people without biases in those same groups.

   Perhaps BMD4800 hasn't been to the right car events.  Just last Sunday, I talked with the CEO (driving a Lambo) of a major company and a guy (in a beater '72 Duster) who literally digs ditches for a living, and we three had a great conversation while huddled under the hood of my Pontiac.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Agreed 100% @DUB6 as my circle of acquaintances are indeed far removed from the type of labor we are discussing here. Most are not removed in a negative/judgmental way, only specialized and focused on other things. 

 

Painting folks with broad strokes is generally not a good idea and generalizations are a double-edged sword, too. I've been on the losing end of this for most of my life (but I don't really need to care about that anymore, and I rarely dwell on it). 

BMD4800
Gearhead

Our experiences often cloud our outlook and lead to generalizations.   Rightly or wrongly, it is a part of the human condition.  

classism is terrible phenomenon that is as old as time.  

I’ve been to many car events, but not all.  Been to a few tracks, different events, and thus my opinions are perhaps jaded.  

I work a white collar job and get paid well.   But I remember the days as a laborer and thus respect the trades people who genuinely have mastered their craft.   

But when it comes to folks looking down their (collective) noses at the laborers, the working class, those who are on the first couple rungs of the ladder, yeah…I make my judgements early.   

it’s like people who kick dogs or are mean to kids - they pretty much outed themselves.  

thegooch
Pit Crew

Most people have no need for a full size truck. It's just to show others how much more patriotic they are than yourself.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I think that restricting people to what they "need" is a dangerous game. Most people don't tow or haul like I do, and most of them aren't trying to get a farm built the way I am, but I respect their right to have what they want. If someone's dream car is a Silverado LTZ and not a Corvette LT3, who am I to feel superior to them for that?
86
Intermediate Driver

This country has a bigger is better ethos: income, home, vehicle (size and/or power), defense budget. Generating a feeling of superiority has a lot to do with that. Living based on need is for those without the means to live the dream, or the need to feel superior.
BMD4800
Gearhead

Cool story.  

Try being poor, getting handout food from the Govt and living in a house your Grandparents paid for because your parents were deadbeats.   
Getting a job at 15 because it was that, or Salvation Army clothes; and not a McDonald’s job, a real job with labor and hard work.  

No handouts, no scholarships, 100% paid your own way.   

It isn’t “bigger is better”, it is I’m not going to let my kids bounce off the dashboard because smokes were more important than a car seat.  Because my kids don’t lay awake at night sweating in bed because A/C is too expensive.   Because I gladly make sure my family has all they need and most of what they want.  That’s not bigger is better, that’s being a human.  We want our kids to have a better life than us.  That’s getting up in the morning, getting the job done to give THEM a better life than I had.   

you see “bigger is better”.  Every day I look in the mirror and think “these people will NEVER experience hunger, if it kills me to make that happen, so be it. “

86
Intermediate Driver

As you said - cool story. Can't say that I understand how it relates to my point, i.e. that size definitely matters to the American automobile buyer. Thus, the boom in truck/SUV sales largely driven by persons with little to no need for such a vehicle.
BMD4800
Gearhead

We are in agreement.  You don’t get it.  

you stated a ‘need’ for a vehicle.   

Nearly every modern society since the Roman Empire has had 4 generations of recurring behavior.   They aren’t always in sync, which is why strong leaders emerge in each generation.  

You suggest that “need” is the determining factor.   
I suggested “want” is the determining factor.   

Consider that.

86
Intermediate Driver

I did not suggest need is the determining factor. Quite the contrary. Much of the consumer spending that (to use an appropriate pun) drives our economy is based on want. Automobiles are not only not an exception but a glaring example of that. I own 2 cars. Didn't need the second one. I wanted it. So, I got it - and I "get it."
avanti5010
Intermediate Driver

I'm an old school guy. Cars are for driving, trucks are for work. Ain't no truck on earth worth $50K, let alone $100K. An old saying applies here - "some people have more money than brains".
These honkin' school bus size pickups screw up parking lot spaces and visibility. They terrorize streets and highways so their owners can feel they have large penises.
This is one of the few cases where I long for "the old days" when cars were cars and trucks were on the farm where they belonged.
compaqdeskpro
Detailer

When cars have CVT automatics, 1.5L engines with a teensy turbo that sounds so bad it needs fake exhaust, have cramped interiors and slopy trunks that compromise their utility, and are being rapidly discontinued in favor of ugly lumpy fake SUV's, what would you have people do?
BMD4800
Gearhead

“ what would you have people do?”

Well, all work only occurs on farms, so who cars what people in that fly-over area do?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Exactly. Oldsmobile isn't around to sell me a Ninety-Eight Regency, which is exactly what I, as a fifty-year-old family man, want. So instead of owning a Ninety-Eight and a barebones farm truck, I now have a $76,000 F-250 Platinum, which is both in one.
Rider79
Technician

Both, yet neither.
avanti5010
Intermediate Driver

Three are still good cars out there if you look. And CVTs are the same as the Automatics that people in the fifties swore they would never buy, but now do.
avanti5010
Intermediate Driver

"There"...
DUB6
Specialist

Wrong!  People in the fifties never swore.  Very pure period.  In fact, we spent the entire decade listening to Pat Boone, for goodness sake!

Doug42
Intermediate Driver

You nailed It.
Duramaxriley
Intermediate Driver

I'm going to give you a piece of advice if you are going to buy a three-quarter ton or 1 ton pickup truck. As soon as you come home from the dealership take the shock absorbers off of it and throw them away and buy a set of Rancho rs9000. I did this on my 2004 GMC four-wheel drive crew cab dually with the Duramax engine. I set the front shocks on 4 and the backs on 2. It rides like a Cadillac on the road and the Corvette in the corners. The factory shock absorbers are meant for load-carrying and trailer hauling. If you were going to use this for a daily driver or as your car do yourself a favor chunk the factory shocks in the trash
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Good call, I'll look into it. Thank you!
86
Intermediate Driver

A shining example of the need/want dialectic. If you want a vehicle that rides like a Cadillac and handles like a Corvette you certainly don't need a truck. Buy a CT5-V Blackwing. Admittedly, a set of shocks is way more affordable and there's no need for a self-image adjustment.   

BMD4800
Gearhead

don’t buy a truck because that’s an image enhancement masking a fear of inadequacy.  Buy a CT5-V black wing instead.   

86
Intermediate Driver

The CT5-V BW is the real deal. As such it doesn’t need to try to be something it isn’t. Modifying a truck to have the characteristics of another vehicle shows that they now serve needs unrelated to their original purpose. Self image has a lot to do with that. Your insinuation that applies to other types of vehicles is valid. The difference being the image one wants to project. Trucks by design lend themselves to an image that can have a half ton bed’s worth of appeal to persons with feelings of inadequacy. Considering the cost of ownership nowadays it might be more cost effective to just find a good therapist.
BMD4800
Gearhead

The word bouncing around in your subconscious is: projection.   

86
Intermediate Driver

If you're suggesting that I'm projecting my perspective onto other persons' motives I would just say that I can't think of any other reason someone would buy a GMC Sierra 1500 Denali to serve as their grocery getter other than that they don't want to be caught dead in a grocery getter. Perhaps the word bouncing around in your subconscious is ... denial.
DUB6
Specialist

"The factory shock absorbers are meant for load-carrying and trailer hauling."

Because....TRUCK?

 

Tim
Technician

I think a good byline for this article is, "The truck you need is one size smaller than the truck you think you need." 🙂
BMD4800
Gearhead

Need vs want.

We are still free…for now.

The “house” you need, is much smaller than the one you think you (want to) need.