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New truck sales are booming

Southern Nevada has endless opportunities for pickup truck drivers in a region that offers everything from the desert to the mountains. And whether a vehicle has two-wheel drive, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, trucks are fast becoming the choice of young adults, millennials and baby boomers.

The automobile industry has discovered the wants and needs of drivers, as evidenced by the fact that some manufacturers have switched their emphasis to trucks rather than passenger cars. The hottest lines of trucks are spread throughout the showrooms of North America, and incentives are provided to entice truck enthusiasts.

The old days of rough-riding trucks with engines that gulped fuel are no longer. Today’s trucks come with the best of available amenities ranging from cruise control to state-of-the-art, Hollywood Bowl-like sound systems and interiors with plush seating and climate-controlled cabs.

Buyers want the luxury-like additions to the trucks, and they’re willing to pay the price.

Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or towing boats, camping trailers or horse trailers, today’s trucks cruise the freeways at 70 mph-plus and can safely maneuver off-road in the open desert. Trips to ski resorts during the challenging winter months are also achievable, especially considering trucks can climb just about anything nowadays.

“Trucks are pretty specific to people and what they need them for,” Nick Cappa, director of communications for Ram trucks, said in an interview with automotive specialist Dave Kunz of KABC-TV in Los Angeles. “Nobody wants a pretty good truck. They want the best truck. Getting 25 miles per gallon in a four-by-four, crew-cab full-size truck that weighs 6,000 pounds is not unusual in a Ram 1500 especially.”

Longtime automobile executive Don Hamrick has been in the business for 40 years. Hamrick, who manages Chapman Ram Truck Center at 3470 Boulder Highway and Chapman Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram of 3175 E. Sahara Ave., is still enthusiastic about the business, especially after a record year in 2018.

“Truck sales were great in 2018,” Hamrick said. “We had some nice increases in our store, especially in fixed operations. We’re very happy with the results.”

But his biggest thrill last year was the release of the 2019 Ram truck.

“The brand-new Ram 1500 was recognized as the Motor Trend Truck of the Year,” he said. “We’re still riding the wave of the truck.”

As good a year as Hamrick had in 2018, he’s not backing off his expectations for this year.

“This year will be even better,” he said. “Our trucks have been very well-received.”

Ford’s longtime presence in the truck market is evidenced by the success of the F-Series that has been a staple in the industry for the past 40 years. Ford extended its market dominance in trucks again in 2018 with more than 1.075 million F-Series sold globally.

“From Ranger to Transit, we’re proud and honored to help our global truck and commercial vehicle customers get the job done around the planet,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of global markets. “But it’s our F-Series juggernaut that leads the world in sales, capability and smart technology, setting the bar others follow.”

Engineers have continued to fine-tune the F-150, and the choice of six engines, including a turbo diesel, is evidence that Ford has been doing its homework on a nonstop basis.

When Chevrolet debuts the 2020 Silverado HD this month, it will be the most capable and most advanced Silverado HD ever. It will also be the third all-new Silverado model from Chevrolet in just 18 months — each designed for different customers.

“We know the needs and priorities of heavy-duty customers are different than those of either light-duty or medium-duty customers,” said Jaclyn McQuaid, chief engineer of the Silverado HD. “As such, we built a heavy-duty truck tailor-made for them that has more differentiation than ever before from light-duty models, offers advanced towing technologies to improve towing confidence and includes new features such as the integrated Bedstep, which makes it easier to access the bed while pulling a fifth-wheel trailer.”

Participation in the foreign truck market is also intense. In fact, many longtime owners of the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Tundra are touting the endurance of vehicles that are still going strong with more than 300,000 miles on them.

With that in mind, the certified market for used Toyota trucks and SUVs remains very strong.

“The Tacomas, Tundras and 4Runners are all holding their values,” said Rob Martin, used car manager for Findlay Toyota in the Valley Automall. “The resale and new trucks are both doing well.

“We are selling Toyota Tundras quickly,” said Martin, who has been with Findlay Toyota for eight years. “That has a lot to do with our aggressive pricing. The best new cars make the best used cars.”

The certified program dictates that a used Toyota must have fewer than 85,000 miles to qualify.

“Toyota extends the powertrain warranty to seven years, 100,000 miles with the certified vehicle,” Martin said. “In addition, the vehicles come with 12-month, 12,000-mile roadside assistance. A comprehensive warranty is also included.

“We sell between 200 and 250 pre-owned vehicles every month, with 128 of those being certified. Everything here is moving now. We have been the No. 1 Toyota certified dealer in the Denver Region for the last eight years that I have been here, and we’re sixth in the nation for certified sales.”

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