PORTLAND – Even as Americans have been moving away from gas-guzzling vehicles, the pickup truck remains king of the road in Maine.
Despite motorists’ concern about gas mileage, dealers say trucks remain popular. They cite a variety of reasons, including bad weather, lousy roads and a Maine lifestyle that includes towing boats and hauling trash to the dump.
“You drive around, especially in the outer towns, and there’s going to be a truck in the driveway,” said Tim Reardon, general manager at Quirk Chevrolet in Portland. “We use them here.”
A report that tracks vehicle registrations for car dealers says light trucks were Maine’s four top-selling models in September. No. 1 on the list, according to Cross-Sell Report, was the Chevrolet pickup, followed by the GMC pickup, the Ford F-series pickup and the Toyota Tundra pickup.
For the third quarter of the year, Toyota was the top-selling truck brand in Maine, according to registrations tallied by Albin, Randall & Bennett, a Maine accounting firm that tabulates sales for dealers.
Nationally, the Honda Civic emerged in June as the best-selling vehicle, marking the first time in 17 years that a pickup didn’t claim the title.
The state’s love affair with pickups remained strong, even as gas prices soared above $4 a gallon before plummeting this fall and as automakers started closing truck and SUV plants to concentrate on building smaller cars and crossover vehicles.
“We’re usually selling three-to-one trucks to cars,” Reardon said. “That hasn’t changed at all.”
Meanwhile, a large Toyota dealer in Saco has 25 unsold Prius hybrids, which have a combined city-highway rating of 46 miles per gallon.
“Two months ago, I could have gotten top price,” said Ira Rosenberg, chief executive officer of Prime Motor Group. “The minute gas goes down, people forget about it.”