* Premium car sector also set for rebound
* GM revamping Silverado and Sierra trucks
* Ford plans new F-150 for 2015 model year
By Jennifer Clark
DETROIT, Jan 13 Pickup truck sales are expected
to outpace the broader U.S. auto market this year helped by a
recovering housing market and a slew of new models from the
three big U.S. automakers, executives and analysts said on
Revamped models from General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co
and Chrysler Group LLC will be on view this week
at the Detroit auto show.
Ford and GM are fierce competitors in the full-size pickup
segment where profit margins are larger compared to cars. Pickup
trucks made up about 11 percent of the U.S. market last year,
well below the historical average of 17 percent.
"The pickup truck sector is poised to outperform the rest of
the market this year," said Citi analyst Itay Michaeli at a
conference of the Society of Automotive Analysts.
Analysts said gas prices were unlikely to surge this year,
which would support truck sales. Micheali said that a mix of
pent-up demand and new models will drive pickup sales this year.
GM is counting on a new version of its Chevrolet Silverado
and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks to show investors and car
buyers that the No.1 U.S. automaker is back on track after its
$50 billion U.S. taxpayer-funded bailout in 2009.
GM's new trucks are on view Monday, along with a new RAM
1500 pickup from Chrysler. GM's arch rival in the pickup truck
market, Ford, will tease a concept version of its upcoming F-150
truck Tuesday. The F-150 will be built for the 2015 model year.
"The majority of pickup vehicles on the road are about to be
redesigned," Micheali said. "The product cycle will unleash
"A TWINKLE IN YOUR EYE"
The beginnings of a recovery in the housing market should
drive pickup sales in 2013, said Ford economist Ellen
Hughes-Cromwick, citing a Census Bureau figures showing a sharp
increase in people setting up new households.
"This is a fundamental physical foundation for housing
recovery," she said. "When you look at the housing recovery, it
can put a twinkle in your eye every bit as much as 2013 sales
GM Treasurer Jim Davlin also said he sees the housing market
recovering this year, which should help the truck market.
"There's a big correlation between auto sales and housing
starts," he said at the conference. "The pickup truck market
share is at historical lows. We would expect that to come back."
Cromwick, Michaeli and LMC Automotive's senior vice
president of forecasting, Jeff Schuster, said they see U.S. car
sales at about 15 million this year. The European market is seen
entering its sixth consecutive year of contraction, they all
"We see the pickup segment gaining ground," Schuster said.
"This year is the year of the pickup truck and the year of the
rebound of the premium car sector. I don't think many of us
would have thought that a year ago."