Texans and their trucks

NY Times:
Tim Spell has noticed a peculiar condition that affects Texans’ mental, physical and automotive well-being.

“I call it ‘truck-itis,’” said Mr. Spell, the former automotive editor for The Houston Chronicle. “People in Texas will buy trucks even if they’re not going to haul anything heavier than raindrops. I was interviewing one guy. He had a 4-by-4. I said: ‘You live in Houston. Why do you have this 4-by-4?’ He said, ‘Well, I own a bar, and 4-by-4s are higher, and I can climb up on the cab and change out the letters of my marquee.’”

Whether for high-up urban letter-switching or more rural and rugged purposes, pickup trucks are to Texas what cowboy boots and oil derricks are to the state — a potent part of the brand. No other state has a bigger influence on the marketing of American pickup trucks.

Texas is No. 1 in the country for full-size pickup trucks. More of them were sold in 2015 in the Dallas and Houston areas than in the entire state of California, according to the research firm IHS Markit. There is the Ford F-150 King Ranch, named for the iconic Texas ranch. And the Nissan Texas Titan, the floor mats and tailgate of which are emblazoned with the shape of Texas. And the Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition, featuring leather seats that mimic the look and feel of Western saddles, was named for the year that the JLC Ranch in San Antonio was established.

The Texas-edition truck is a product of the state’s pull on the truck world. Some truck styles are sold and marketed only in the state as Texas editions, ensuring that pickup trucks, like a lot of things in Texas, are different here than elsewhere.

“I like to say that you almost can’t overmarket Texas to Texans,” said Fred M. Diaz, a Nissan North America executive and a native Texan.

I met Mr. Diaz at the supreme manifestation of the state’s truck mania: the Texas Truck Rodeo.

It is the Oscars for pickup trucks. The auto journalists who make up the Texas Auto Writers Association steer dozens of trucks and S.U.V.s through rocky, muddy off-road trails, critique the vehicles’ appearance and performance, and vote on the winners. There are numerous categories, but the top prize is the Truck of Texas.
The Ford Super Duty was this year's winner.

How Toyota came to make its full-size Tundra is also a story about Texas and trucks.  A Dallas area Toyota dealer invited the head honcho of Toyota to a Dallas Cowboys game, but not to see the actual game.  He took him on a tour of the Cowboys stadium parking lot to see all of the full-size pickups there to make a point that they were overlooking a huge market.

The full-size Toyota Tundra is now made in San Antonio Texas.

I got my first pickup about 20 years ago as I was finishing up the building of my house in the country.  I bought a used Ford Ranger thinking I would keep it a few months and get rid of.  I actually kept it for 10 years and loved it.  I finally traded it in during the financial crisis and went with a full-size Ford F-150.  I am on my second one now and can't imagine not having one.


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