Commercial Truck Buyers Willing to Pay Premium for Safety

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2016 Ford F-650 and F-750

If you’ve followed this site for any amount of time now, you’ll notice that the F-150 keeps getting more and more technologically advanced. The average transaction price for pickup trucks is skyrocketing, and you can now get trucks that’ll do everything from automatically parallel park themselves and trucks that have electric massaging seats. But what about for commercial and fleet sales? Will we see this technology work up to trucks like the F-650 or F-750?

The answer is a complicated one. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark Lowrey who handles the marketing for those big trucks about the future of his trucks, and if they’ll start seeing some of the technological innovations that we see in the F-150.

2016 Ford F-650 and F-750

When it comes to massaging seats or panoramic sunroofs, probably not. But there is one area where he told me to expect to see some of that technology expand, and that’s safety.

I also recently took a tour of A.R.E., the nation’s biggest provider of commercial truck caps, and we talked about the future of those devices and what buyers are willing to pay for. They also told me the same thing; safety.

Fleet truck buyers appear to be willing to pay above and beyond for added safety for their workforce. A safer truck or truck equipment means there are fewer injuries out on the road, which keeps the employee working more often, and also helps keep insurance premiums low.

2016 Ford F-650 and F-750

In the short-term future, cameras and lighting seem to be the trend. For the 2016 model year Super Duty, Ford introduced factory installed strobe lighting, so a buyer wouldn’t have to go to a separate upfitter to get them installed. We also know the 2017 Super Duty will have 7 or so cameras to improve visibility.

But would we see something like Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist on a F-750 hauling beverages? While those truck drivers definitely know what they’re doing, and are trained extensively to know what they’re doing, that doesn’t mean that the technology won’t work its way up.

2016 Ford F-650 and F-750

Mr. Lowrey didn’t say that would actually happen, but if buyers are willing to shell out extra for ways to keep their drivers safer and keep operating costs down, technology like Pro Trailer Backup Assist could be an option that fleet buyers could add that would also help pad the profits of Ford’s truck sales. It could be a “win/win” for all parties involved.

You might not think that the really big commercial trucks are a place you’d see a lot of technological innovation, but I’d definitely stay tuned to this space, because I would expect to see some interesting changes over the next few years, and I even expect to be a little bit surprised with some of the things that they come up with.

What do you think? Is it smart to offer this consumer safety technology on the big commercial trucks? Let us know your thoughts over in the forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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