Americans are starting to flock to big cars again, which some argue is another sign that the economy is picking up.
According to USA Today, companies like GM (Stock Quote: GM), Ford (Stock Quote: F) and Chrysler have sold more full-size pickup trucks this year than by the same time last year. “Chrysler says its Ram Heavy Duty sales rose 13% in April compared with a year ago. Ford said it sold twice as many Super Duty pickups last month as it expected — and year-to-date sales through April were up 30% from a year ago,” USA Today reports.
USA Today notes that these pickup trucks tend to be purchased by small businesses as well as individuals who use them as “working trucks.” Therefore, the increase in sales can be seen as evidence that certain job sectors like construction and farming are improving.
Similarly, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that U.S. car sales are improving across the board, with sales up by 20% in April from the same time a year ago. In particular, Ford and Chrysler are leading the way, boasting a 25% sales increase from the previous year.
Yet, the increase in the sale of big cars does raise an important question. During the recession, more Americans switched to smaller, fuel-efficient cars because they were often cheaper and gas prices were so high. But now, will ordinary consumers fall back into their love of gas guzzlers or have they learned to appreciate smaller, efficient cars?
For instance, the Ford Super Duty pickup gets only 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on highways. While there’s no doubt that certain businesses require big cars, shouldn’t consumers ask themselves whether this is the ideal vehicle for the 21st century?