Rebound in large pickup trucks forecast by

(August 12, 2010) Some people believe that pickup truck sales are an indication of the country's economic health. has taken a look at the segment's sales trends which, on the surface, show some promise.

"Pickup-truck sales gained more traction last month, and industry executives are starting to believe that their biggest and most profitable vehicles can be counted on to haul an even larger share of the fledgling recovery for the rest of the year and beyond," reported Edmunds' contributor Dale Buss.

Large trucks garnered a 12.4 percent share of overall U.S. auto sales in July, the biggest monthly chunk in nine months and larger than the segment's annualized market share for each of the last three years, according to analysis. For the year as a whole, expects pickup trucks to assume an 11.4 percent share of the overall market, which would represent the largest annual share since 12.2 percent in 2008 — before the recession cratered segment sales. Analyst Ivan Drury noted that the trade-in rate for a new-truck purchase by people who already own trucks has spiked back up to more than 72 percent this year, where it last registered during the bull market of 2005 — and after four straight years where it hovered only in the mid- to high-60s as a percentage.

Over the next three years, expects the large-truck share of the U.S. market to rebound further — to 12 percent in 2011, to 12.4 percent in 2012, and then to 12.6 percent in 2013 and 2014. The peak share for pickup truck sales was 15 percent in 2005.'s True Cost of Incentives analysis indicates that that the average incentive in the U.S. is about $4,300 for pickups, more than 65 percent higher than the industry average of about $2,600. However, in July the differential between truck incentives and industry incentives averaged about $150 less than in June — a trend that bodes well for automakers making huge profits on trucks.

"One of the most encouraging signs for OEMs is the fast-rising portion of sales represented by crew cabs, which offer regular-sized back seats not found on the common pickup. Such versions represent about half of the sales of the industry's regular, half-ton pickups these days, "noted Buss. "Also, each of the Big Three has been hatching new 'super-duty' or 'heavy-duty' versions of their staple pickup marques, and these models — with beefier engines, bigger payloads and better accessories than standard versions — have been adding some juice to the market lately as well,"