Pickup trucks and culture.

Are pickup trucks commonly seen as personal vehicles (as opposed to work/farm vehicles) outside of North America?

I have been “shopping” for cars online, and out of curiosity I looked at several European and Asian sites by the major carmakers. It seems that pickups are only extensively marketed in North America and Brazil. Even the Japanese made models seem to be directed entirely to the export market.

All of my images of the world outside of the Western Hemisphere come from TV. In all the times I have seen BBC programming on PBS, or Deutsche Welle (we have some German troops stationed around here) I now realize I have never seen a pickup in the UK, Germany or France. Even in Australia or South Africa, Land Rover or Jeep type vehicles seem to be preferred over the pickup.

Is it an issue of fuel economy, convenience, or simply a cultural aversion to riding around in the bed of a truck?

Well, given that the pickup is an Australian invention, I’d wager you might see one or two on the roads here.

Now we call them “utes” or “utility trucks” rather than pickups, but they are pretty much the same thing, although generally the US ones tend to be much larger and SUV-based, and the Australian ones mostly remain sedan-based. Both countries have both types though.

The world’s first ute (pickup)
The Ute Appreciation Society of Australia

Sadly, the ute is becoming less popular than the big, ugly SUVs which are now friggin’ everywhere, and driven by wankers who have never been off-road in one.

Gawd, I love utes. :smiley:

And ya just have to click on the “feral utes” link in the Ute Appreciation site I gave above. :slight_smile: Then you’ll understand the Zen of Utes.

I hate to burst your bubble but model T pickups were around at least as early as 1912.

I’ll just point out that in the U.S. meanings of the words, it’s backwards. Most SUV’s are pickup-based, i.e., the pickup is the original, main platform.

Some of the smaller, cheaper SUV’s are car-based, i.e., derived from a car.

I don’t think there are any pickups, though, that are car based (on US roads, that is – there’s a mini-Ranchero thing down in Mexico made my Ford I can’t remember the name of; it’s definitely a car but could kind of be called a car-based pickup).

The El Camino, I think. A car-truck.

Without seeing the ones you’re talking about, I’d wager they were heavily modified through homemade or custom bodywork, which was very common with Model Ts. Most likely, the cabin was shortened, and a wooden tray was bolted on. Of course, modern aluminium tray equivalents are still called utes or pickups, but with early 20th C. cars being heavier and taller, and the trucks being small, there is bound to be confusion. To this end, I’d consider a pickup to be a factory built car-sized vehicle with seamless panelwork all the way along the side.

I’m standing by the Melbourne ute being the first. :slight_smile:

The El Camino was made by Chevy to compete against the Ford Ranchero. Both were car-ish looking pickup trucks, or cars with the trunk and back seat turned into a pickup bed, if you prefer. The latter is more technically correct - the Ranchero was based on Fairlane / Falcon, the El Camino on Impala / Chevelle:

In much of Europe and Japan, one car per family is still the norm so there isn’t much demand for a vehicle that doesn’t seat 4. Single people may only need 2-seaters, but what would they use a pickup for? Anything that needs a pickup to carry around probably won’t fit in their apartments. And not many young people have cars so if you do buy one, it helps to get one that can carry 3 or 4 friends. Finally, in some countries pickups are categorized as work vehicles, which usually means a higher cost of ownership.

This is what $600 dollars got you in 1918. Not a mod, but an official Model T Truck. Notice the lack of a kangaroo guard on the front :wink:


I do believe around here, pickups are also known as “dog killers.” I’ve lost count of the number of dogs I see standing, unrestrained, in the bed of a pickup while the pickup’s screaming down the highway at 65 mph or better.

I certainly can’t vouch for this source, but it does offer up this:

One way or another, I do know that ordinances prohibiting free-riding dogs in pickup beds are appearing here and there (I think Houston has one - I know it’s been discussed).

Dogs are pretty neat animals, but it’s not uncommon for them to be bad at physics.

In CA, IIRC, the law requires dogs to be tethered on a short enough leash that they can’t get out of the truck bed.

No one wants to see the dog jump out of the bed to chase the squirrel and dangle by the neck off the side.

Okay, I checked the Ford Mexico and the “Ranchero-like” thing I mentioned is called a “Courier.” It’s a subcompact car with a pickup bed. Interestingly enough, the website shows the Courier listed as a truck rather than a car. Let’s see what else I can dig up… additionally interesting found on the LAN is an Austrian price list for a Courier – could this be the same thing in Oz, TheLoadedDog? I’m thinking not, because there are references to super cabs and 2.6L engines.

Okay, I couldn’t find out too much more about this thing. It looks a lot like the Fiesta, but I can’t confirm it’s the same platform (i.e., is it “really” a truck, or just a truck-like car?). Some of the specs seem similar between the two.

Interestingly enough the Ranger has an “upscale” image down there!

The $600 was “chassis only” if you look carefully at that link. In those days, it was common practice to by the truck, then take it down to the local coachworker (or your own garage if your carpentry skills were up to scratch), and do the bodywork yourself. Anyway, I’d call that one a truck. They called it that too! :slight_smile:

It’s probably a bit silly arguing about where the first was developed, as we’ll never agree on the definition. I didn’t realise what we Aussies know as utes were such a rarity in the States. Using this narrower definition of a pickup truck, I’d have to say that they aren’t uncommon here, but are found in nowhere near the numbers they are in the US.

Balthisar, our utes range from huge American SUV pickup style beasts right down to little japanese four cylinder 1.buggerall litre jobs. The majority are based on powerful six or eight cylinder family sized cars.

I don’t know what the tax situation is “out foreign”, but Pickups and (I don’t know what they are ofically called) Pickups with a cab that has a back seat and a smaller platform, are taxed at a commercial rate in Ireland rather than at a normal car’s rate. As Excise duty etc is a lot here, this is a significant saving. So much so that the government has moved to close the loopole.

Cardinal: Doing a websearch last night, I could only find one county in this state that required such. There was also an indication that there’s opposition from the CHP towards a state law on the issue as they supposedly feel that it would be impossible for them to enforce it.

Ford Courier - yeah, I remember them. They used to be sold in the US in the 1980’s. Shouldn’t be surprised they’re still made in Mexico. I’d call that just a mini-pickup truck. When they were being made in the US, Chevy made a pint-sized pickup to compete with it, and in a burst of exceeding cuteness, called it the “LUV”. Stood for “Light Utility Vehicle” according to them. It was actually manufactured by Isuzu, although badged by Chevrolet.

As for foreign sales of pickup trucks, nobody has mentioned the Middle East yet. They seem to be very popular, at least for pressing into military service. I would imagine this is because the vehicles are not embargoed as “military hardware”, and are thus easy to obtain.

Anyone remember when VW came out with a pick-up based on the Rabbit/Golf?

a subcompact front-wheel-drive truck…ugh.