We’ve been skirting the $100K mark with these new HD trucks.
A pickup that costs over $100,000? It may soon happen, at least if a recent CNBC interview with Chevy truck marketing head Sandor Piszar comes to pass.
It’s no secret that truck prices have been steadily rising with each passing generation. Back at the start of this decade, it was absolutely inconceivable for trucks to top out around six figures. However, the 2019 Ram 3500 Limited DRW with options already comes out around $90,000, while a fully-loaded Ford F-350 Limited rounds the $95,000 mark when optioned out. Piszar said during the CNBC interview that, “People want to trade up.” He explained, “If customers want a more expensive truck, we’ll deliver it.”
Currently, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 3500 DRW comes in five trim levels, from the base Work Truck all the way through the luxurious High Country. Here, we’re focusing on the High Country trim, which starts at $65,295. Adding the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine will easily tip that over $75,000 before you even start getting into comfort and utility options.
It makes sense for truck manufacturers to keep offering more and more expensive trucks. Since the prices are so high, the profit margins are fatter on a truck than, say, an average compact sedan. Both Ford and GM have decided to ditch most of their passenger car lineup due to slow sales and slim profits. On the other hand, analysts estimated the average Chevy Silverado HD High Country or GMC Sierra Denali can fetch $20,000 in gross profit for every truck sold.
What about the Sierra HD?
Joe Phillippi, an industry analyst with AutoTrends Consulting, summed up the current state of the luxury truck market. “For people who make their living spending all their time in one of these trucks they’re not afraid to spend the money to get the best truck they can buy.” Chevy may end up taking a “no harm, no foul” approach in trying to tip the scales on the 2020 Silverado HD over $100,000. “There’s not a lot of risk for them,” says Stephanie Brinley, an IHS auto industry analyst. It has just been a question of when it will happen. “There’d be no harm if it doesn’t work but, if it succeeds, it would earn a tidy profit,” she told CNBC.
While Chevy’s truck marketing chief said it may happen with the Silverado HD, we’re more curious about the GMC Sierra HD. By default, it pulls a higher average transaction price than the Silverado by being more expensive in the first place. While the 2020 Silverado HD 3500 High Country DRW starts around $65,000, the 2020 GMC Sierra HD 3500 Denali starts nearly $3,000 more expensive, at just under $68,000.
Granted, GMC sells fewer trucks than Chevrolet does. However, for each Sierra HD, GM could top the $100,000 mark with similar options to what the Silverado HD High Country may have. Some buyers see their trucks as more of go-anywhere, do-anything alternatives to luxury cars than those who primarily use their truck as a workhorse. As such, we’ll have to wait and see how many are actually willing to pony up the cash to buy the first truck that hits over $100,000.