You’ll be hard-pressed to find an automaker that doesn’t already manufacture or have plans for a pickup truck. Trucks are the lifeblood of the American road. While big names like Ford’s F-Series, Chevrolet’s Silverado and Ram’s line of trucks paved the way for workers, farmers and off-roaders, trucks and their automakers have made the transition. Now, with others like Nissan’s Titan, Toyota’s Tundra, and even Tesla’s Cybertruck, consumers have more capabilities and options in today’s truck segment. But used trucks are so expensive.
Light, heavy, hybrid, diesel, off-road and luxury trucks are all available for today’s pickup trucks. If you want a family vehicle, there is a quad-cab. Do you need to tow a boat or a horse trailer? There are transport packages for you. However, these used truck prices are exorbitant. Here are five factors that explain why used trucks are so expensive.
1. Trucks are desirable is one reason used trucks are so expensive
When there is increased consumer demand for a product and it becomes highly desirable, the price rises and remains high. Forbes says from January of this year; new trucks actually sell for three times as much as new cars. Vehicle history shows that a pickup truck is the top-selling vehicle in 39 of the 50 states. That’s partly thanks to the pickup truck’s transition to new luxury, family, and everyday rides. Consumers love their beefy trucks for off-road and work applications. But today’s trucks exploit even more durable materials, innovative technology and more comfortable contact points.
2. Used trucks aren’t that much cheaper
Used truck prices aren’t that far off from new truck prices, belying the old adage that buying used will save you money. Used truck prices have skyrocketed in recent years, averaging $40,000 in 2021. Some pickup trucks with more rugged features and capabilities go for more than brand-new models.
3. Longer Loans Make Trucks Affordable
Trucks may seem more affordable if you only consider the monthly payment commitment to buy one. But don’t be fooled. The loans get longer, as Gear Patrol points out, which essentially reduces monthly truck payments. Previously, it was a traditional car loan with a term of three years. But now some consumers are financing five and even seven years to pay for a vehicle they probably couldn’t afford to buy otherwise.
4. The Famous Chicken Tax Is One of the Reasons Used Trucks Are So Expensive
Another contributing factor to high used truck prices is the chicken tax. Major car manufacturers have faced fierce competition from foreign manufacturers. In retaliation for European tariffs on chickens, the United States responded with the “Chicken Tax” in 1964. This tax added a 25% tariff on foreign light trucks and is still in place today to protect the national truck market. If Nissan, Isuzu and Toyota want to lower their prices, they have to build their trucks on American soil.
5. Manufacturers can reduce or remove incentives.
Truck incentives and bonuses work differently than traditional production line fleets. When automakers adjust the MSRP of their portfolios based on economic demand, they’re taking a different approach to pickup trucks. Instead of changing the purchase price of a truck, manufacturers will offer cash back, special financing offers and other “buy now” incentives that create the illusion that consumers are getting a deal. But in the end, they don’t lower the MSRP at all.
Don’t assume that buying used will save you a lot when buying a pickup. For these reasons and the continued demand for today’s more fuel-efficient, luxurious and safer models, buying a used truck will be just as big an investment as buying a new one.
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