In March 2018, there were signs that the commercial vehicles market was going through a rough patch, with the number of registered vans versus the previous year down by -5.6%. Since then SMMT have published new YTD data showing a recovery of nearly three percent, now down to -2.7%.
The first half of the year has generated a record 27,392 pick-up truck registrations in the UK, with the ever-popular Ford Ranger coming out top trumps. So, what we want to know, is America’s ‘top trump’ influencing UK decision in more ways than one?
Could America’s ‘top trump’ pick-up be the next big trend?
Donald Trump’s recent visit to the UK caused dramatic controversy with many news agencies reporting the President of the United States was having too much influence on the decision makers in the UK. Could the same be said for pick-up trucks in the UK on fleet decision makers?
Pick-up trucks have notoriously been considered too big, sluggish, gas-guzzling and too American for the UK and as a result the UK hasn’t really demanded them. However, the UK’s appetite has changed dramatically in the last few years.
Once upon a time SUVs were a rarity on the UK roads, being more popular with our cousins in the United States. But in the last five years, the SUV market has exploded with practically every manufacturer turning up to the party with new SUV models being added to their portfolio each year.
Just look at the sports car industry, Porsche, Lamborghini – once only supercar makers, but now they have a portfolio of SUVs. And even more radical, the lightweight sportscar specialist Lotus are talking about plans to add a SUV to their range by 2022.
The truck takeover
Earlier in the year we visited the Commercial Vehicle Show and there was strong consumer interest in pick-up trucks, particularly luxury/extreme sport pick-up trucks from the likes of Icelandic extremists Arctic Trucks.
Just last week it was reported by Auto Express that the Ford F-150 Raptor was coming to the UK priced from £40,000, with Ford Performance confirming and revealing it would be arriving in the UK early 2019, after receiving high numbers of customer interest – potentially another commercial reaction to industry insights.
We also have to factor in influence of pick-up trucks in popular culture from celebrities like actors Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who owns a Ford F-150 Raptor, Channing Tatum who drives a green 1957 3100 Chevrolet pick-up truck (picture by Daily Mail) and singer Lady Gaga who drives a red STV Lightning pick-up (picture by celebritycarsblog.com).
Other familiar faces who have been pictured in pick-up trucks include Simon Cowell (driving a classic Ford Bronco), Christian Bale (cruising in a Toyota Tacoma, picture by zimbio.com) and Colin Farrell (pictured driving a Ford Bronco also). It’s clear that the American influence for pick-up trucks has crossed the Atlantic to inspire the interest of Anglo-American celebrities in the UK and Ireland, which could in turn have influence on UK public perception.
Finally, in December 2017 Mercedes launched the new X-Class and they communicated their pick-up truck as a premium, luxury, strong and powerful – everything that today’s pop culture celebrity is looking to achieve or so what NBCnews publicised with their ‘Why the rich and famous are starting to prefer pick-up trucks’.
What are the benefits of a pick-up?
For company pick-up truck drivers, the biggest benefit would be reduced Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) rates covering personal use of your company vehicle outside work.
HMRC considers most pick-ups as light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and because of this, they are taxed differently to company cars. Commercial Vehicle BIK is a flat rate, irrespective of CO2 emissions or price. Because of this, customers are currently able to significantly enhance specifications of these vehicles without affecting the BIK, demonstrated in the below comparison table.
|Make/Model||Price OTR||CO2||BIK||2018/19 cost per month (20%)||2018/19 cost per month (40%)|
|Nissan X-Trail 2.0 dCi Acenta 4WD||£29,940||149g/km||34%||£170||£339|
|Nissan Navara Visia 4WD||£25,920||167g/km||Fixed rate||£56||£112|
The interior quality of new pick-ups has also been greatly improved in recent years. Many manufacturers today are offering luxury model lines that boast of a ‘car-like’ interior with driver essentials like DAB, Bluetooth and Sat Nav becoming much more widely available.
If you’re currently considering a pick-up truck, read our top 5 pick-ups here or register your interest us with us today or get in touch with us to discuss how we can best advise you on your options today.