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GMC boss says there's still room for pickup truck prices to rise

Roadshow logo Roadshow 5/17/2019 Jake Holmes
a car parked on the side of a dirt field: 2019-gmc-sierra-denali-carbonpro-edition-150© GMC 2019-gmc-sierra-denali-carbonpro-edition-150

Prices of pickup trucks keep creeping upward as automakers add more and more luxurious features. That's especially true of GMC , where the new Sierra 1500 AT4 has an average transaction price of $57,000 -- and the Sierra Denali sells at an average of $62,000. And those are just averages; play around on the GMC online configurator and it's easy to spec out a $75,000 pickup. But according to Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick and GMC, truck prices haven't hit the ceiling yet.

"I don't think we've reached the top," Aldred told journalists at a presentation in Detroit on Friday. "But I do think you've got to keep adding value, I don't think we can just take price [up] because people will pay it."

Aldred said many Denali buyers have previously owned traditional luxury vehicles, or buy a truck alongside their luxury vehicle, and they expect the same kind of features and amenities. That means there's still a chance for truck makers to offer even richer experiences.

a car parked on a dirt road: 2019 GMC Sierra Denali© Emme Hall/Roadshow 2019 GMC Sierra Denali

"They've had a lot of these creature comforts or luxury features, and they want that," he said. "I think there's still an opportunity for more traditional luxury items, whether it be materials or quality of materials, audio systems, things like that."

Aldred also cited the existing features GMC has already added to the latest Sierra -- things like a color head-up display, multifunction tailgate, carbon-fiber bed and so on -- as examples of features that push truck price up for a reason, rather than just for the sake of it.

The GMC brand in general has owners with high household incomes, even compared with other truck brands; the average Sierra SLT buyer has an income of $118,000, the average AT4 buyer earns $138,000 and the average Denali buyer is at $153,000, GMC said. With that in mind, it's no surprise that Aldred sees possibility for ever-higher prices.

"I do think there's further upside, and we'll have to see how the segment develops over the next couple of years," he said. "I still think there's room at the upper end."

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