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Is The Left Coming for Your Pickup Truck?

Today’s news raises concerns that pickup trucks like the Ford F-150 should and will become a thing of the past because they have become bigger, bulkier, and more dangerous.

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A Woke Society Warning to Truck Owners

According to a recent FOX NEWS report:

Ford pickup trucks have been an all-American classic for almost 50 years, but some liberal critics say the love affair should end because they are getting bigger, bulkier and more dangerous.”

And, in typical FOX NEWS delivery, they posit the semi-rhetoric question of whether the Left is coming for your pickup truck as yet another example of the U.S. becoming a woke society when even the most sacred cows of automobile ownership may become the next target of left-leaning vehicle owners sold on an EV-only world.

But is this true?

A New Axios Report

FOX NEWS points a finger at a new Axios report that, “…found small pickup trucks have all but disappeared from the market to accommodate changing lifestyles and Americans' obsession with bigger and better.” The problem with this is the claim that supersized trucks are getting bigger, bulkier, and more dangerous and thereby have become a safety issue that needs to be addressed.

Axios is a relatively recent news agency created to deliver brief, matter-of-fact, bullet-pointed info with limited word counts for readers who want their news to be easy to scan and informative. However, do not let their brevity mislead you into believing that the news is not well-researched.

One good example is their recently FOX NEWS challenged Axios special report titled “Pickup Trucks: From Workhorse to Joyride” written and published two days ago by Will Chase, Jared Whalen, and Joann Muller of which the authors delve into multiple resources to show the evolution of the pickup truck. The emphasis is on size and point out how that it has turned modern trucks into a safety issue no longer justified by its original use for hauling and towing, to one that is primarily a “lifestyle” vehicle.

Related article: Are You Paying Too Much for Your Truck?

Lifestyle in this case is based on statistics showing that today a pickup truck is used 87% of the time for shopping and errands, and only 28% of the time for personal hauling and 7% of the time for actual towing---a far cry from its workhorse days in the agricultural America of yesteryear.

FOX NEWS Response

But before going any further, take a look at the FOX NEWs video posted below to see what the reaction is by a more right-leaning news agency:

Axios Publishes Article Bashing Pickup Trucks

Watch the latest video at foxnews.com

AXIOS FINDINGS AND DETERMINATIONS IN SUMMARY

Pickup Trucks Have Morphed---cab and bed sizes have changed.

• In the 1980s, about half of pickup trucks were categorized as small or midsize. But by the 2010s, small pickups had nearly vanished as Americans increasingly bought into the big truck lifestyle.

• As pickups transitioned from workhorses to lifestyle vehicles, their design shifted accordingly: Cabs expanded to accommodate more passengers, while beds shrank.

• The first generation of F-150s was 36% cab and 64% bed by length. By 2021, the ratio flipped, with 63% cab and 37% bed.

What This Means---basically that form (i.e., marketing) rather than function has changed. In fact, that “…a third of today’s pickup owners rarely or never use their truck for hauling, while two-thirds rarely or never use it for towing.”

• Instead, experts say, much of the big pickup mania is being driven by consumers' self-image.

• "Today, personality and imagery are playing an even more important role in how consumers choose which truck is right for them," Strategic Vision researcher Alexander Edwards told Axios.

• The firm surveys owners each year about the character traits they associate with their vehicle. Two words set F-150 owners apart: “powerful” and “rugged.”

Supersized Trucks are a Safety Issue

• Drivers of today’s trucks sit much higher, creating a blind spot where small children or wheelchair users are hidden from view.

• Moreover, pickups’ weight increased by 32% between 1990 and 2021, meaning they strike pedestrians with more force.

• Plus, the tall front of a truck strikes pedestrians in the torso or head — home to vital organs — whereas the lower hoods of cars typically strike pedestrians in the legs.

• Pickups also tend to be more dangerous in collisions between differently sized vehicles—car drivers are 2.5 times more likely to die when colliding with a pickup.

However, to Axios credit, they do recognize that makers such as Ford are focused on safety and not just on building the biggest truck on the block because marketing is telling the consumer that is what they want.

• Ford says, "safety is a top priority," and points to safety-related technologies such as pedestrian detection sensors, automatic emergency braking, 360-degree cameras, and more, some of which now come standard.

• Other pickup manufacturers have added similar features.

• The 2022 F-150 earned a "top safety pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and earned "good" or "superior" ratings in various crash tests, including those with other vehicles, and with child and adult pedestrians.

Their Conclusion---like some dinosaur species they’ve gotten as big as they will get, and EV evolution is now in play.

• While they’ve probably maxed out in terms of size, pickup trucks are still evolving to keep up with Americans’ changing lifestyles.

• And now that they're going electric, many offer capabilities and bonus features that aren’t available from gasoline or diesel trucks, like better torque and faster acceleration, and the ability to power a worksite, campsite, or tailgate party without burning gasoline.

• However, “Their bulky batteries also make them much heavier, reducing the load they can haul and potentially making them even deadlier in a crash.”

And finally…

While I am a big pickup fan, I believe that the Axios report does make some very good points. In fact, I highly recommend reading the report with its visuals for your erudition on the matter.

My ride is a 1973 Ford F-100 Ranger with the extra-long bed, and I plan on riding it until the day my kids pry the keys from my cold dead fingers. However, I have also been told (by my kids, no less) that I have become a curmudgeon of sorts and have voiced my opposition to newer trucks that look more like SUVs than they do the trucks of yesteryear. We all have our preferences.

But if I had one point to make against the Axios report, I would like to see what the data shows for those of us who do construction work and want (or is it more of a need) to buy these larger modern-day trucks. Yes, there will always be “Lifestyle owners” but when that lifestyle is that of a working man or woman in need of a bigger truck for big jobs, there is yet to be a smaller EV that does the job as well. And let’s don’t forget all those retirees and their retirement camping lifestyle.

For additional articles related to trucks, here are a few for your consideration:

Common Mistake Ford Truck Owners Make Upgrading Their Engine

Reasons Why Many Truck Owners are Sticking with ICE Over Electric

Consumer Reports Car-Based Pickup Truck Buy This, Not That Recommendations

We Want to Hear from You: Let us know your thoughts on the Axios study---are trucks too big and a safety issue? Is this really a part of the Woke movement---or just collateral damage in its wake? What do you want to see in your next truck?

COMING UP NEXT: Used Cars: Most Reliable 5-Year-Old Midsized SUVs Recommended by Consumer Reports

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pexels

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