Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

How pickups go, so goes the economy

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Buying a pickup is affirmation times are good -- or at least getting better. Few buyers really need a hulking truck, a vehicle that has evolved to become a modern mix of basic utility and luxury handbag, but if would-be truck owners are downshifting into cheaper cars, that's not a good sign for the economy.

Pickup sales are a closely watched barometer, a sign of where the United States is headed, especially coming out of a recession.

"Trucks outselling cars is an important short-term indicator, for the next year or so," said Haig Stoddard, an analyst at WardsAuto, which covers the auto industry.

U.S. pickup sales dropped 56 per cent in four years, to 1.1 million in 2009. Sales rebounded to two million last year.

-- The Washington Post

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 2, 2014 D6

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