I spent some time last week cleaning out and moving my home office (thanks polar vortex 2!). In a flurry of old papers and diecast cars, I found the window sticker for my 2006 GMC Sierra. My apologies for the potato pic, the scanner and I went 12 rounds ... I lost. Looking it over, I was reminded just how cheap it was. My truck is a 2WD crew cab with power windows, mirrors, and locks, key-less entry, CD player, and, most importantly, the 4.8L V8, a locking rear differential, and a towing package. All this for the low, low price of $26,720!
So, I decided to go take a look at GMC.com, and see what my truck's little brother goes for these days. Obviously, the equipment and options have changed, so I spec'd it's closest equivalent. Of course, nobody actually pays sticker price (I certainly didn't), but that's what I'm going to compare, so that it is as apples to apples of a comparison as possible.
My, my, my, things have changed. The cheapest base model regular cab, short bed stickers for over $1000 more than my truck did, $27,800.There is no longer a 4.8L V8, but the new 4.3L V6 is actually rated at a touch more HP and torques than my V8, so I spec'd that. Option packages being what they are, in order to get all of the things my truck has, you'd also get a rear camera, a 110 volt 3-prong outlet, and LED cargo box lights. You don't get a CD player (that'd be another $200), but you do get USB ports, an AUX jack, and an SD card slot.
The grand total for all this new hotness is $37,850. In only 9 model years, the price for a truck with nearly the same capabilities has gone up $11,130. That is a whopping increase of 41.7%! Now, I haven't driven one of the new trucks, but I'm sure it's nicer. I have sat in them, and the interior seems to be a bit higher quality. I bet the new trucks ride a little smoother and perhaps they are a little nicer to drive, and I'm sure it gets a bit better fuel economy. Could they POSSIBLY be 40% better? I don't think so.
I say nearly the same capabilities, because they aren't actually better. It has a marginally higher payload rating, and a marginally lower towing rating (100 pounds). What is the one thing I could do with this truck can do, that I cannot do in my current truck? I could hook my I-pod up to the new truck. As the great motivational speaker, Matt Foley, would say, "La de FREAKIN' da!"
So, there is as close of a comparison, as you're going to get. Proof that pickup truck prices have gone bat-shit insane. I can't tell you how happy I am, that I do not need a new truck. I like the current crop of domestic full-size trucks. I would seriously consider each of them, if I needed a new rig, but the thought of paying for a new truck, makes me a little queasy.
Now, some of you are probably thinking, "But the incentives, man! It's always truck month somewhere!" Yeah, that is true, but it was also true in 2006. My truck may have stickered for $26,720, but I showed up to the dealer flat-ass broke and slightly upside down in my trade, and I still got out the door with taxes, fees, and an extended warranty for under $22k.
So, let's say you get a killer deal on the new truck, and you get out the door for $30k. That would still be an $8k, 36.4 % increase, in only nine model years. For all that money, you'll get a slightly nicer, but no more capable truck. Worth it? I don't think so.
What's behind the huge price increase? I genuinely don't know. Perhaps, much like the new price increase of the GTI, it's just because they can.