Auto Sales: Trucks Hot, Electric Cars Not

Trucks still rule in America, despite the push for more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicles.  Ford and General Motors both report a surge in sales and profits from trucks so far in 2017, with Ford F-Series sales up nearly 11 percent from last year, even as the average price rose by nearly $3,000 in the third quarter.  Conversely, electric car maker Tesla has reported a net loss of nearly $667 million this year.

The growth in truck sales has been particularly strong in Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, while electric car sales continue to flatline.  Bill Wolters with the Texas Automobile Dealers Association tells KTRH electric vehicles are still a niche item, due mainly to price and inefficiency.  "EVs are most people's second or third car," he says.  "It's typically not the car that they use to take their family on vacation or to go see grandma in San Angelo."

Still, Wall Street investors seem to only be in love with the electric car movement.  Wolters believes electric vehicle backers have almost created a false market by hyping their product.  "Here you have Ford and General Motors who have had some of their most successful years in history, who have never been more profitable or had more cash on hand, but their stock doesn't move until they announce commitment to electric vehicles," he says.

While all major automakers are aiming to increase their production of electric vehicles, Wolters predicts it will be a very slow process to change the dynamic of the market.  "It's going to be driven by public demand---consumer choice, and right now the consumer choice, particularly in Texas, is internal combustion vehicles," he says.  "It's really going to be a while until EVs are a real significant part of market penetration."

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