Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tar Babies or Trucks?

     I thought I would write about a topic I have been thinking about for some time now, and that is the state of the U.S. auto industry and how it relates to those of us that actually use a pick-up truck to do some sort of work.  In my case that work involves riding on some of the roughest roads in the northeast.  I believe the auto makers are missing the boat in a big way when it comes to their product line of 4x4 pick-ups.  They do make a wide variety of 4x4's with any number of options.
    The truck line up that is currently available with a price point that a working man can afford does not have a strong enough suspension system to withstand the daily beating it is subjected to in my guiding business.  My current work truck was purchased new in 2002.  Since I have owned it I have replaced every shock, every spring several ball joints, all of the universals and the first thing I needed to do when it left the lot was trash the tires it came with to get some 10 ply's to withstand the rocky roads in this area.
     The truck is mechanically sound at this point, but is very tired and a new truck would be a nice tool to have, but the price point on the trucks made that have a beefed up suspension, skid plates and enhanced 4x4 system with truly locking differentials is $50-$60, 000.  Which is way more money than I am willing to spend on a truck that will be driven where few people venture.
     Part of the problem as I see it, is that the 4x4's that have the enhanced suspension, tires, and 4x4 system also are the top of the line offerings from the auto dealers.  They come with leather seats, every electronic gizmo known to man and chrome everything.  They have monickers like Rubicon or Raptor and are truly gorgeous vehicles, but they are definitely NOT work trucks.  They are Tar Babies.  These vehicles are generally purchased by someone that lives in an urban area, they never get any scratches from brush or dings from rocks, as they never get of the beaten path.  What I need in a vehicle, and I am sure I am not the only one, is a stripped down Raptor or Rubicon.  I need the guts not the glitz.  I have written to Ford about this dilemma and was told they decide what vehicles are needed by the market place and do not take suggestions from the public.  That kind of stunned me as I thought business typically looked for a need and then filled it.
     What I learned in trying to find a vehicle that has everything I need but none of what I do not need, is that you can not get it.  You can't even order a truck at a dealership without ending up with  a Tar Baby.  I believe there is a need for real trucks  made for those of us that work our trucks.  We need the guts available from some of the top of the line offerings, but  do not need all of the glitz.  I work my vehicles, they are a tool to me, not a toy.  I take care of them, but I do not baby them.  If you work your trucks as well, and think some of the points I touched on are valid, maybe you should write the auto manufactures too.  If the market place starts to rebel a bit and refuses to buy Tar Babies when we need trucks, maybe the auto dealers will start making trucks.