BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- After a great ride, the days of big pickup trucks driving sales and profits for U.S. car companies is over for good, a victim of rising fuel costs, a troubled economy and changing consumer tastes.About half of the pickup market -- the buyer who didn't need a pickup for his work -- evaporated over the past decade. That same buyer isn't likely to return as he has in the past, industry experts say.
Jesse Toprak, an auto industry analyst for car-shopping Web site TrueCar.com, said "clearly, higher gas prices are an issue and the uncertainty over the economy" are reasons for the change in sales trends. Still, the sales decrease of trucks and SUVs stems from consumers' newfound fiscal conservatism.
For example, the profit margin on a Cadillac Escalade SUV or an "optioned-up" Ford F-350 could run $10,000 to $12,000, he said.