Kitchener-Waterloo

People are offloading their pickup trucks, but who is buying them?

Mark McMullen, the general manager of Mark Wilson's Better Used Cars in Guelph, Ont., says that they’re seeing a rise in people offloading their newer and older modelled pickup trucks these days. And from what he’s hearing, rising gas prices is the culprit.

Trucks are becoming less popular with rising fuel prices, but their value isn't dropping

Rising fuel prices are affecting the pickup truck market in the region. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Mark McMullen, the general manager of Mark Wilson's Better Used Cars in Guelph, Ont., says his dealership is seeing a rise in people looking to offload their new and older-model pickup trucks. And from what he's hearing, the culprit is rising gas prices. 

Regular unleaded gas crested 200.0 cents per litre in southern Ontario this week, while mid-grade has hovered around 225 cents per litre and premium around 230.

"A lot of people have just kind of gravitated toward pickup trucks just because they like driving something bigger, they're convenient for picking stuff up," he told CBC News.

"But with these high gas prices… people are like, I don't need a truck that bad."

Canadians love trucks; in 2020 four out of the five best-selling vehicles in the country were trucks — with the Ford F-150 taking top spot. McMullen believes there will always be a market for them, but right now he says its mostly people in the trades who need them to make a living.

"There's people who need trucks and it's for work," he said. "There's people who do not need trucks. They were just buying them just because they like sitting up higher, they like having the convenience of a box — they can go to the Home Depot and pick something up."

"A pickup truck is very handy," McMullen added.

"But the reality is that with the high gas prices and high diesel prices right now, people who do not need, they'll be either dropping them off and trade them in."

The general manager of Mark Wilson's Better Used Cars, Mark McMullen, says that there's a rise in people getting rid of their pickup trucks due to fuel prices. (Submitted by Mark McMullen)

Ash Lebada, the general manager of Lebada Motors in Cambridge, Ont., says the general trend at his dealership is people looking for smaller rides; they're not exclusively trading in trucks.

"I do know that some people are trying to downsize," Lebada said.

"Obviously, with COVID ending, income savings, getting hurt off gas prices, people are looking for those cheaper, smaller cars." 

"But I mean, tradesmen and things like that, they need a pickup truck for their livelihood so they hold onto it or upgrade to a bigger or better one."

He pointed out that aside from tradespeople, people turn to trucks for hauling: trailers or boats.

 

Even though people are opting for vehicles that are more economical, Lebada said the price of used trucks is going up, mainly due to the shortage of stock because of backups in the production of new vehicles.

He says he's having no problem selling them again once they come in.

"Eventually someone's going to need it," he said

"You've got that landscaper or that roofer with a fleet of six trucks. Two of them have broken down, and it's just the beginning of his season. He's going to pay the extra four or five grand because he knows he'll make it up by the end of the summer."

Paul Leblanc would love to find a buyer for his 2021 Toyota Tundra Sport. In southern Ontario, regular unleaded gas is just over two dollars. Premium can go even higher at 232.4 cents per litre. Mark McMullen, general manager of Mark Wilson's Better Used Cars in Guelph shares what is happening in the local used vehicle market.

Difficulties in going green

McMullen explained that because of the microchip shortage, trying to go green with an electric truck like the Ford F-150 Lightning isn't so easy because of the wait times to get the vehicles.

It's something that Paul LeBlanc from Brantford, Ont. noticed.

LeBlanc is trying to sell his 2021 Toyota Tundra pickup truck for a newer model, citing enhancements in gas mileage and performance. He primarily uses his truck for work. 

"Going green, you know, it doesn't help you today when you need a vehicle today," he said. "In five years from now, it's going to be a different story." 

"It's impossible to get an alternative version vehicle, either a two door, a four door and pick up trucks. Forget about it. Like this gas truck we ordered in October — I'm getting it next week."

The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST is shown in Detroit in this January 2022 file photo. The federal government will mandate that 30 per cent of all car sales in 2026 must be ZEVs, like this electric pickup truck from General Motors. (Paul Sancya/AP Photo)

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