Survey Says

Autolist Survey: Consumers prefer Ford, GM electric trucks over ones from Tesla, Rivian

In November, Tesla introduced the Cybertruck.

Photo courtesy of Tesla

Tesla showed off its new Cybertruck ahead of the L.A. Auto Show in November and reaction was mixed (to put it lightly). Consumer sentiment regarding the promise of all-electric trucks from Ford and General Motors has been better received, at least if you use social media as a gauge.

Today, no EVs for sale in the U.S. are trucks, though buyers can put a deposit down on a Cybertruck and a Rivian R1T. An exact timeline for an electric F-150 has yet to be publicly announced. Earlier this year, General Motors announced its electric pickup will go on sale in 2021.

2019 Ford Electric F-150 pickup Ford showed off the capability of an electric truck this year, but it's not the Ford electric truck.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Which company would customers rather buy their electric truck from? Autolist surveyed roughly 1,100 current car shoppers in late November and early December and asked them for their thoughts on the upcoming trucks from Ford, GM, Tesla, and Rivian.

Assuming they all had similar specs and features, GM was the top choice, garnering 29 percent of the vote. Ford got 27 percent while Rivian had 24 percent and Tesla nabbed 20 percent.

"Frankly, these results are good for all four brands," said Chase Disher, analyst at Autolist.com. "It shows that Ford and GM can leverage their considerable -- and existing -- truck followings to boost interest in their EV models. Meanwhile, it shows that Tesla and Rivian could be poised to grab a meaningful share of a crucial new growth segment."

While pickups remain the top-selling vehicle segment in the U.S., there is some indication that an electric pickup would bring new buyers into the segment. Of those surveyed, 50 percent said that they had never owned a truck while 49 percent had. Of those that had never owned a truck before, many considered the Tesla Cybertruck as their top choice with 25.8 percent of the vote. The Rivian R1T (24.8 percent), Ford F-150 Electric (24.7 percent), and GM Electric truck (24.7) followed.

Among those that had owned a truck before, GM was the most popular option with 35 percent of the tally while Ford earned 28 percent, Rivian had 23 percent, and Tesla got 14 percent.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

All-electric MINIs account for 10 percent of all MINI sales.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI is a tiny car company with big plans. The automaker is planning to realign their model range focusing on improving drivetrain technology, vehicle segments, and services of the future. Committing to the crossover and premium compact segments and strengthening the company's market position in China are also on the roster. The heart of those plans is a shift toward electromobility.

"MINI was always the answer to very special challenges relating to individual mobility. And the willingness to reinvent the status quo continues to shape the brand to this day," commented Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. "Alongside electromobility, harnessing new target groups and sales markets will be crucially important for the future of MINI."

1959 Morris Mini-Minor MINI's history goes back a long time. Here, the 1959 Morris Mini-Minor.Photo courtesy of MINI

In the 20 years since the brand was relaunched, around four million vehicles have been produced at MINI's plan in Oxford, England. and delivered to more than 100 countries across the world.

The MINI lineup is now broader than ever before. The roster has expanded include the MINI Countryman in a very competitive vehicle class. About 40 percent of all the brand's vehicles sold across the world, are in this class. John Cooper Works versions of the cars account for approximately five percent of the total sales of the MINI brand. Electrified models are steadily gaining in popularity, traditionally amounting to five percent of the brand's total sales. That number jumped to 10 percent following the launch of the MINI Electric.

MINI has hinted that more efficient combustion engines (diesel and petrol) and additional electric vehicles are in the future. A completely electrified model family is on the horizon.

"We are pursuing the Power of Choice approach followed by the BMW Group through our broad range of advanced petrol and diesel engines, the plug-in hybrid system and all-electric drive, in order to meet the needs and aspirations of our customers throughout the world," said Körber. "This enables us to create the conditions for further growth in global automobile markets."

The future core portfolio of all-electric vehicles will include the MINI 3-Door Hatch, a new crossover model in the small-car segment, and a compact crossover model. The brand's small-car models and a crossover model in the compact segment will be available with internal combustion engines.

The new crossover model will only be offered with an all-electric drivetrain. The next-generation Mini Countryman will be available with both combustion engines and an electrified drivetrain.

In light of the upcoming changes, MINI is promising that MINI models will not lose their identity.

"It is part of our responsibility to the brand and the community to preserve the unique character of MINI," says Bernd Körber. "That is why every new model from our brand in future will be unmistakably a MINI."

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Ram will welcome an electric member to its family in the future.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV and all-electric Ford F-150 are coming soon. It would ludicrous to think that Ram wouldn't be joining the other two members of the Big Three in producing an electric pickup truck.

Today, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley confirmed that one is in the works during the company's third-quarter earnings call. He provided no additional details.

In response to an industry analyst's question on the matter, Manley said, "I do see that there will be an electrified Ram pickup in the marketplace, and I would ask you just to stay tuned for a little while, and we'll tell you exactly when that will be."

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is one of the least fuel-efficient vehicles FCA makes, but the Ram TRX is even less efficient.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The confirmation was a strategic, given that just one quarter ago Manley more or less ducked the question saying "Obviously, pickup trucks is a key franchise for us, and we're not going to sit on the sideline if there is a danger that our position gets diluted going forward," during that quarter's earnings call.

Ram isn't just facing competition from General Motors and Ford. It also has pressure coming from startups including Rivian, which is currently tooling as it gears up to produce the R1T, and Lordstown Motors, which is substantially backed by GM, and already has 40,000 reservations for fleet vehicles. Tesla has promised that the Cybertruck will come to market.

FCA is more than a touch behind when it comes to electrification. Its U.S. lineup is aging with the mid-generation Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid as its only plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) currently on sale. Ram offers a few mild-hybrid engine options for buyers and the Maserati Ghibli Hybrid is on the horizon. The company recently debuted PHEV 4xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade but only the Wrangler 4xe will be sold in the U.S. in the coming year.

In the meantime, FCA continues to push out fuel inefficient vehicles for buyer consumption in the U.S. where emissions regulations are not as stringent as they are in Europe and China. This includes the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (EPA-estimated 15 mpg combined) and Ram 1500 TRX (EPA-estimated 12 mpg combined).

The way forward for Ram may be complicated by the forthcoming FCA-PSA Groupe merger, which is set to be confirmed by the European Union in early 2021.

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