Automakers look to pickup truck segment to evade impact of declining EV sales

The 2024 Sierra pickup truck from GMC / Courtesy of GMC

Carmakers are looking to shake up the nation’s pickup truck market — which is far from mature here — with the planned launches of new strategic models to offset the steeply falling demand for electric vehicles (EV).The market for pickup trucks felt a sharp downturn last year, as automakers remained reluctant to release new models for a long time while centering most of their focus on electrification amid the global boom for EVs. However, as the growth outlook for the EV industry appears to be more gloomy this year, automakers such as Kia, KG Mobility, formerly SsangYong Motor, an General Motors — are on track to offset falling revenues from EVs by launching new pickup trucks. According to data from market tracker CarIs You, pickup truck sales last year came in at 18,199 here, down 38.7 percent from the previous year. This is the first time that the figure has fallen below the 20,000 mark since 2012.

The weak popularity of pickup trucks was attributed to the absence of new models. But more carmakers are betting on the market’s revival, targeting the growing demand of customers who enjoy outdoor leisure activities. Kia is standing at the forefront of this trend with its plan to resume the production of its new pickup truck for the first time in almost four decades after it decided to stop manufacturing the Brisa pickup truck in 1981. The automaker is set to renovate its manufacturing facility in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, in July and then construct equipment for the production of its Tasman pickup trucks, which will be released sometime at the end of 2024.Kia’s inroads into the segment come as competition has intensified due, in particular, to KG Mobility, as the latter dominates the segment with their Rexton Sports brand. The vehicle is the only home-grown pickup truck available for customers and accounts for 90 percent of the market share here.

KG Mobility also has plans to defend its brand identity as an SUV and pickup truck powerhouse by launching its next-generation O100 electric pickup trucks in the latter half of this year. Its concept model was unveiled in March last year during a mobility show in Seoul. The automaker aims to gain a competitive edge by releasing the first electric pickup trucks to be manufactured by Korean carmakers .GMC, a pickup truck and SUV brand of GM, is also intensifying the rivalry in the market after launching its latest version of the Sierra pickup truck here. GM also plans to release the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado this year in a bid to expand its footing in what is widely considered a niche market here. “More customers express attention to pickup trucks amid the rise of outdoor leisure activities and growing popularity of SUVs here,” an official from an automaker said. “As the market for typical vehicles with internal combustion engines reaches saturation, 슬롯 automakers eye the market for pickup trucks to diversify their revenue sources.”

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