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Workhorse of the automotive world gets hip

A decade ago, trucks got trendy. At the start of the millennium, excesswas in – everyone wanted to drive SUVs and 4x4s, and footballers andrappers had to have Hummers. Suddenly the gigantic Ford F150 was thehottest car in the U.S.

A decade ago, trucks got trendy. At the start of the millennium, excess was in – everyone wanted to drive SUVs and 4x4s, and footballers and rappers had to have Hummers. Suddenly the gigantic Ford F150 was the hottest car in the U.S.


Previously the territory of rednecks and builders, pickups benefited from low commercial vehicle tax and were cheaper than most SUVs. Then they got a makeover; double cabs – pickups with front and rear seats — were restyled to look like space age Tonka toys.


These utilitarian, macho vehicles became a lifestyle choice for drivers around the world. They were a great option for builders and electricians who would no longer need a second family car, and their rugged appeal extended to drivers who weren’t tree surgeons.


You could bling them up with chrome wing mirrors, petrol caps and bars and they affirmed their macho intent with model names that declared them an Outlaw, Intimidator, Barbarian and Warrior.


Sales of double cabs worldwide peaked around 2007, but the pickup took a hit with the global economic meltdown, along with other new, and especially, big cars.


So where are they now? It’s one segment that’s bouncing back despite their potentially unpopular size — the big players have all had recent facelifts and their economy improved.


The global leader is the Mitsubishi L200 or Triton. The 1,000,000th one was built in Thailand in late 2007 and sales are going well globally, especially in Thailand and Australia.


The lifestyle variants of the L200 remains the growth area since their introduction in 2001 with the ‘4Life’ option, and options continue to increase, from fancy leather seats to new chrome extras.


And the tax rates are still great. So it looks like they’re tempting people who want an affordable alternative to an SUV or just fancy these cars’ beefy good looks

 
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