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The Truck – Background Review
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The Truck – Background Review
The truck or pickup truck, to differentiate it from commercial cargo haulers, shares its roots with the most famous of all cars – the Ford Model T. It is a famous auto-lore how Henry Ford modified one of his Model T cars to make it into a truck by removing the top part of the back part and putting a flat base there for cargo. Henry Ford named this his Ford T Runabout with Pickup Body and its debut was in 1925. The Ford Pickup became very popular very quickly with all kinds of small businessmen from builders to farmers using this new revolutionary vehicle. Within 10 years, Ford had already sold well over 2.5m pickups prompting other manufacturers to quickly design and launch pickup designs of their own.
These days there are many different types of commercially available trucks ranging in size from the compact to the full and even super size truck. Compact pickups tend to dominate the truck market and surprisingly, given the very American roots of the pickup truck, the main manufacturers were and still are Japanese with the first ones introduced by Nissan and Toyota. American manufacturers have typically dominated the large truck sector of the market with the high horsepower high torque trucks generally commonplace in the more rural parts of the USA and Canada. These ‘power’ trucks are generally not very commonplace outside of the American continent as their huge size makes them impractical for most of Europe and the Far East.
There has been a dramatic shift in the construction of trucks over the last two decades largely driven by the growing popularity of the SUV sector of the market. The rise of the SUV initially ate into some of the market with many of them offering similar levels of power and the same kind of specialized equipment such as front winches. In addition to having many of the same benefits of a truck, the SUV was much more comfortable. As a result, truck manufacturers responded by starting to increase the level of luxury in their higher end models and included many of the same gadgets found in their Sedan lines.
Most modern pickups now include options for a larger cab so that the pickup can also be used as a comfortable family vehicle, have a variety of different interior designs including leather upholstery, and feature most of the common extras such as air conditioning, top quality sound systems and satellite navigation which has allowed the truck industry to reclaim much of the ground lost initially to SUVs.
The key modern manufacturers in the compact pickup range are still the Japanese with the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma dominating in this area. In the full truck size, the American manufacturers still reign supreme with the Ford 150 and 350 the most popular followed by the Ram 1500 and the GMC Sierra HD 2500 and 3500. There have also been some improvements in the fuel economy of modern trucks although most of the larger ones still struggle to get to 15mpg.