Truck Prices Can Make or Break Brand Loyalty, Survey Finds

If prices rise too high, truck shoppers that are loyal to certain brands may consider others. 

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel
FCA US LLC—© 2017 FCA US LLC

With the recent unveilings at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it's most certainly a great time to be alive if you're a pickup truck enthusiast. Midsize trucks, full-size trucks, off-roading trucks, you name it, there's something new for every truck lover out there and chances are they're going to sell like hotcakes.

With such hotness in the segment, there's bound to be a collateral impact on truck owners' devotion to their beloved brands. Will Ford F-150 owners be tempted by the sleek lines of the 2019 Ram 1500, or will Toyota Tundra loyalists jump ship to Chevy's all-new 2019 Silverado? And what about the upcoming Ford Ranger? Will the new midsize truck steal the crown from the segment-leading Tacoma?

GM

2019 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ.

Owning a pickup truck in America is a big freaking deal, and a newcomer's first truck of choice is oftentimes dictated by their predecessors, say, a father or grandfather. As Nick Cappa of Ram Trucks Communications told The Drive, "The Ram 1500 has the highest owner loyalty of any half-ton pickup. That title stands out amongst all our accolades and is extra special because it speaks to our brand and our customers."

Shedding some light on this matter is a recent survey performed by CarGurus, which set out to uncover whether these brand-loving folks were as loyal as they said they were, or as automaker advertisements make them out to be. 

Out of the 450 owners surveyed, 36 percent owned (or have owned) a Ford pickup, 27 percent Dodge/Ram, 27 percent Chevy, 12 percent Toyota, 9 percent GMC, and 6 percent Nissan. As expected, the answers were a bit surprising in some categories, and not at all in others.

FCA

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition.

According to the survey, the top two reasons why a truck owner would consider purchasing another brand are rather fitting for the segment: Price and horsepower/engine size. Surprisingly, only 20 percent of owners mentioned safety as a deciding factor, and even more shockingly, only 17 percent thought bed size mattered.

Above all, data points to pricing as the biggest factor that could make or break a customer's brand loyalty. To be specific, a swing of $5,000 in selling price would cause 42 percent of pickup truck owners to consider switching brands, a $10,000 increase would rattle the cages of 20 percent of folks, but in the end, 29 percent of them simply wouldn't consider switching regardless of a price increase.

Out of the 29 percent who would not consider switching brands, 10 percent own a GMC, 10 percent Chevrolet, 21 percent Ford, 22 percent Dodge/Ram, 25 percent Nissan, and 38 percent Toyota trucks. In a nutshell, this data shows that out of the surveyed individuals, Toyota owners are the most loyal.

Ford Motor Company

2018 Ford F-150 King Ranch.

Pickup truck owners are perceived as extremely brand loyal, and we were curious to understand how strong that loyalty is, especially given the importance of pickup trucks to manufacturers. In the end, we learned that while a large group of pickup truck owners is extremely brand loyal, many more expressed the possibility of buying another brand if a price increase was too high. The survey data showed there is an opportunity for shoppers to switch pickup truck brands.Madison Gross, Senior Manager of Customer Insights told The Drive.

With two of the three biggest players in the segment being all-new for 2019, it'll be interesting to see what the king of trucks, the F-150, does to retain its title as America's best-selling truck.