Reuters/Lucas Jackson
“My other car is a Honda Pilot.”
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

Money can buy a luxury car—but many rich Americans would still rather have a pickup truck

By Leslie Josephs

The rich are just like everybody else, at least according to their car purchases.

The Ford F-150 pickup truck was most popular 2016 vehicle for Americans with incomes above $200,000, according to a study by consumer-research firm MaritzCX. That means wealthy Americans have something in common with the rest of the country’s consumers. Ford’s F-series was the top-selling vehicle of 2016 nationwide. The Ford F-150 pickup starts at around $26,500 and buyers can soup it up with added features like a bigger cab or flatbed, driving the price up to around $60,000.

Other modest 2016 models were among the most bought and leased vehicles by wealthy drivers, the study found. After the pickup, top sellers included the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Pilot, Jeep Wrangler, Honda Civic, and the Honda Accord.

The study, first reported by USA Today, was based on 167,000 responses to a survey conducted between January and September 2016.

So why are the rich favoring such pedestrian cars? MaritzCX’s senior director of automotive research Shawn St. Clair, told Quartz that high-tech features used only to be available on expensive luxury vehicles have made their way into the mainstream.

“In the past, if you wanted the latest technology like parking assist or a backup camera, that would only appear in the luxury vehicles,” he said.

St. Clair said high-income car buyers have been opting for less expensive vehicles since the financial crisis. This changes in higher-income brackets. The top 2016 model sellers for buyers earning between $300,000 and $400,000 were Lexus RX350 crossover, which starts at around $43,000, followed by the Tesla Model S, which starts at about $70,000. Above an income of $500,000, the Ford F-150 is most popular again.

Many consumers are just trying to get from Point A to Point B.

“Many of them look at transportation as a commodity,” he said. “They’re not necessarily interested in the glamour.”

A better car might be worth the splurge, however.