Trux' Continued, Page 3
joins quartet of luxury trucks
Cadillac's new truck
will follow the Lincoln Blackwood by about six months, but should sell
in much larger volumes, thanks to higher production capabilities. Also,
the Blackwood will come with several custom touches that will hold production
numbers below 10,000, at least in the beginning.
The Blackwood's truck
bed is actually a fancy trunk. The 4-ft. 8-in box will be covered with
more than 20 sq. ft. of Wenge wood, a dark, dense wood from central Africa.
The wood will have an epoxy sealant and be set off with brushed aluminum
strips, both between the slats and on the sides of the bed. All will be
neatly tucked beneath a lockable hard tonneau cover.
The Blackwood will
be built on the same chassis, and have the same powertrain offerings as
the Lincoln Navigator.
Hall confirms that
the Blackwood will primarily be a niche vehicle, with production less
than 10,000 units annually. "Ford can't really build many more than that
for two reasons," says Hall. "First of all, it has very serious capacity
constraints, and secondly, the real wood truck bed and other hand-built
features will limit production."
will turn up the volume
According to Hall,
the only true luxury truck that's we're likely to see in any volumes will
be the Cadillac, since it's built off of the Avalanche chassis, which
is essentially a modified Suburban chassis. He sees Cadillac building
100,000 or more, once production is up and running.
However, Hall says
Ford will make up the volume with other new Lincoln products. " Where
Lincoln is going to expand its luxury truck stable is with SUVs. As I
understand it, there are plans afoot to come out with a Lincoln version
of the Explorer, as well as an entry-level Lincoln SUV, based on the new
Ford Escape, which is coming out this summer," confides Hall. "Both vehicles
will give Lincoln a lot more sales volume than the Blackwood will. Ford
also will have the flexibility to adjust production on those, between
Ford and Lincoln models, depending on market demand."
Will luxury trucks
sweep the land in the next five years?
Analyst Howard Kenig,
president of Automotive Information Resource, LLC thinks they will for
truck trend may not last
"I'll grant you that
luxury trucks and SUVs are a novelty at this point, because the concept
of luxury was not previously associated with these types of vehicles,"
"But this is not
the first time we've seen this sort of bandwagon mentality on the part
of automakers when it comes to a hot new market trend. Back in the '80s,
when the Yuppies were first beginning to make an economic impact, a great
many simply had to have a European sport sedan. As a result we saw BMWs,
Mercedes, Audi and Saab sales take off like a rocket.
buyers showed up because buying a BMW was the trendy thing to do,"
notes Kenig. "Consequently, sport sedans attracted a large number
of fringe buyers who were outside the core
segment, luring buyers who normally would not purchase that
kind of product, time after time.
suspects a similar market phenomenon will occur with luxury
"The market's newest
kick is luxury trucks and SUVs. So a lot of people who never would have
thought of buying a truck or SUV 10 years ago are now doing so, simply
because they've become trendy. Like sport sedans in the 80s, luxury trucks
are now a trendy segment that's beginning to yank in a large segment of
marginal buyers," contend Kenig. "As before, when the trend comes to an
end, this fringe group's commitment to trucks will, in all likelihood,
come to an end as well."
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