The six-figure pickup
DALLAS — Ford's latest luxury vehicle has hand-finished wood trim, supple custom leather upholstery and nearly all the accouterments one would expect of a vehicle that can bump into six figures when the majority of options boxes are checked and sales tax is added.
But unlike most other $100,000 luxury vehicles, this one can haul 15 tons.
Ford's F-450 Limited, introduced last week at a media preview at the State Fair of Texas, is the most expensive luxury pickup yet from a major automaker.
The huge bruiser — too long to fit inside most home garages — is part of a growing class of ultraluxury, ultraexpensive and ultrahardworking pickups that are testing the upper limits of price.
And even though the F-450's out-the-door price can top $100,000, Ford's marketers say they don't yet know where the real ceiling is on how much consumers will pay for a maxed-out heavy-duty pickup outfitted like a Bentley, but with a powertrain that can haul 30,000 pounds. Neither do marketing executives at General Motors and Fiat Chrysler's Ram brand.
Ram also introduced a luxury pickup at the fair, a heavy-duty Laramie Longhorn Southfork edition. The top model, the 3500 4x4 dually mega cab Southfork, with its optional Cummins turbodiesel engine, has a base price of $83,110, including the $1,395 shipping charge. The 2018 model, just now being shipped to dealers, joins several other luxury Ram trucks, including the 3500 Laramie Limited Tungsten mega cab dually 4x4, which has a starting price of $85,780 with shipping and can get close to $100,000 all in. It can also haul 30,000 pounds.
"We can't keep them in inventory," Ram officials told reporters at a press conference at the fair, speaking of the Tungsten model. "That tells us that customers are continuing to look for more. We'll listen to our customers and see what they want."
Prices for GM's top luxury trucks, diesel-powered 3500 4x4 dually versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, can reach the low to mid-$80,000s, fully optioned. But Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet truck marketing director, says Chevrolet also has identified a set of customers willing to pay more for a bigger, more luxurious and more capable truck.
Next year, Chevrolet is re-entering the medium-duty truck market, a segment typically used for fleet vehicles and commercial trucks, which Chevrolet was forced to abandon during its bankruptcy nearly a decade ago. But Piszar said Chevrolet will launch two new-from-the-wheels-up 4500 and 5500 chassis cab models and could add a 4500 pickup later. If so, it would give GM a direct competitor to the Ford F-450, currently the largest consumer pickup available.
"There is a segment out there that really wants that ultimate truck," Piszar said of a potential Chevrolet Silverado 4500 pickup.
Nissan is the only other automaker to offer a heavy-duty pickup with its Titan XD, but its top-of-the-line Platinum Reserve XD doesn't compete with Detroit models on towing, hauling, power output and luxury features. The Nissan's price maxes out in the mid-$60,000s.