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We live in a very connected and very political world. The proliferation of social media has allowed both our cookie recipes and political/societal beliefs to spread far and wide. With this spreading of ideas comes many beautiful connections, growth, and creativity. It also brings with it Dogma, increased bigotry, and a whole heap of misguided, uninformed, yet firm beliefs. With this over-politicizing of everything, our beloved pickup trucks are also getting stuck in the mire. Whether you want a Rivian, Chevy Z71, old Ford F-150, or a million-hp Super America double Eagle Beast with six wheels, take a look around; Politics are ruining our trucks and driving up pickup truck prices.

What’s more American than pickup trucks? 

While our ever-increasingly complicated world continues on its knotted course, there are still some good pickup trucks thumping around. The electric trucks – generally speaking – offer monster performance, comfort, and style. Meanwhile, our gas and oil burners offer familiarity, history, and their own kind of power and simplicity. What I’m saying is that trucks are indelibly linked to America and its politics, and just like those two things, every single person has their beliefs about them.

Ford recently – along with other automakers – has seen a downturn in demand for some all-electric vehicles. It’s looking like this dip could push back plans to ramp up global production of those models to two million units annually by 2026. Ford Authority even mentions that the folks at the Oval might cut a shift at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it builds the Ford F-150 Lightning

Meanwhile, the month-long strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) is further slowing production. Strikes, EVs Vs. ICE vehicles, the rising cost of a new truck, and fuel prices don’t happen in a vacuum. All of these things are used, manipulated, and some may even go far enough to say weaponized to influence the politics of this country and others. And pickup truck prices continue to climb.

Amid all of this, both CEO Jim Farley and chairman Bill Ford have started saying the quiet part, with Farley recently calling EVs a “political football” – a notion that Bill Ford essentially repeated in a recent interview with the New York Times.

Why are EVs so political? 

The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning parked near a city at night
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning | Ford

In the same interview with NYT, Bill Ford continued, “EV sales are still up 50% this year, so sales are growing very fast,” Ford said. “But we’ve also seen a politicization of EVs. Blue states say EVs are great, and we need to adopt them as soon as possible for climate reasons. Some of the red states say this is just like the vaccine, and it’s being shoved down our throats by the government, and we don’t want it. I never thought I would see the day when our products were so heavily politicized, but they are.”

“The other is prices. Electric vehicles are expensive. We know prices will come down, and as that happens, we will have a bigger ramp-up of EVs. Keep this in mind – the most valuable company that our industry has ever seen is Tesla, and it’s growing. That’s a very instructive point when people say EVs are not desired.”

We pay the price for bad politics and expensive trucks

A 1966 Jeep Gladiator build
1966 Jeep Gladiator | Jeep/Vigilante

Listen, generally speaking, the best pickup trucks of all time are being made right now. However, they are far from the coolest trucks ever made. But that’s neither here nor there. The truck market is a mess because the truck occupies many spaces. It is a tool for blue-collar workers, it’s a staple for outdoor enthusiasts, but it also comes with many socio-economical, historical, and political triggers. 

For all that the pickup truck represents, politicians will often use it as a tool to control voters. From using it as a dog whistle by having a politician show up to a rally driving a truck to signal a number of things to electric truck buyers trying to prove something about their dedication to a cleaner planet, the pickup truck is involved in all of it. 

The worry is as the truck becomes a more even more political symbol, pickup truck prices continue to climb, certain trucks will sell better than others, and as always, the folks who need them the most are left with no affordable options. All the while, the political element stifles any progress to fix the issues that separate us.