1.10.17

OF COURSE THEY ROLLED IT OUT IN TEXAS.

Texas -- more specifically, the Dallas area -- is ground zero for parvenus and obnoxious pickup trucks.

It is no accident, dear reader, that Ford rolled out the F-450 at the Texas State Fair.
Pushing the price boundaries again, Ford debuted the 2018 F-Series Super Duty Limited pickup truck Thursday at the State Fair of Texas that inches the once-humble haulers closer to the $100,000 mark.

With the most capability and all optional packages selected, the F-450 Super Duty Limited tops out at a price of $94,455. For that, you can tow trailers that weigh more than 30,000 pounds.
That's encouraging, as there are a lot of go-karts masquerading as pickup trucks that can't haul 4x8 sheets of building material or tow a 30 foot racing sloop or the draft horses to the circus parade.  The F-450 can at least pull, although I have my doubts about the cargo capacity where those building materials are concerned.

Perhaps, though, it's all about the styling for the parvenus.
“There are heavy-duty truck customers who need Super Duty-level capability and want true luxury,” Ford trucks marketing manager Todd Eckert said in a statement. "We created this new truck to answer the call for even more premium choices in the Super Duty range as we see more and more truck customers trending to more premium models.”
Right.  Well, for years, the intellectual heirs of Sinclair Lewis have made any sort of powerful motor vehicle a signal of Babbittness. Or, with their kin at the drive-train, the sport-utes, rolling enablers of road rage.

Thus, perhaps the pickup truck, even if the driver has no idea what a socket wrench is and no capability to schlep drywall around, is a political statement.
The fancy pants set at CNN or the Washington Post wouldn’t be caught dead in a pickup truck. Instead opting for their hybrid or electric cars, or something similar from Uber. Illustrating once again how out of touch the coastal elites are with the rest of the country, and the millions of Trump voters.
There's more at the link.

The Economist's Lexington was thinking about the political economy of parvenus and pickups in the previous presidential cycle.  Not surprisingly, he's at ... the rollout at the Texas State Fair.
Many of the priciest were bought by self-employed contractors, precisely because they all but live in their trucks. By week, their luxury trucks haul heavy machinery. At the weekend, buyers want a pickup that makes them proud as they take their spouse to a restaurant or tow a boat to the lake. In Europe, notes a Detroit executive, their equivalent might drive a Transit van, but would not use that to take a partner to dinner.

Today’s pickups demonstrate pragmatism. That may seem counter-intuitive: with their big engines and Tonka-toy looks, trucks suggest a refusal to compromise with fuel prices or fears of global warming. But industry buzz is around the success of a turbocharged, six-cylinder Ford engine that uses a fifth less fuel than older, larger V8 engines of similar power. The new V6 will help Ford meet tougher federal fuel-efficiency standards, but is not being marketed that way. It is sold as a money-saver. Over 200,000 have been sold so far, though not long ago a truck engine without eight cylinders was doomed in any barstool bragging contest.
The girl worth your while is the one who also can drive a stick, but I digress.  It's the political economy of productivity.
Pickup buyers dislike overt government nagging. They do not feel guilty about driving exceptionally large vehicles. They revere hard work, starting with their own. But offer a nifty technological fix, packaged right, and they will embrace goals such as saving the planet. Pragmatism is profitable, and profit is a powerful force.
Lexington might be overanalyzing this.  To a tradesman, fuel is an expense, and conserving on fuel whilst being able to tote more stuff to the job site (or to tow Muffy's horses to the dressage competition) is a good thing.  Put another way, getting more oomph out of a gallon of gas lowers the carbon footprint whilst getting stuff done.  And if it's cocking a snook at the metrofexuals at the same time, all the better.

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