In China, pickup trucks have historically been kept out of majorly populated urban areas by local governments, but that’s finally starting to change.
Pickup trucks – once exclusively the domain of those living in China’s rural areas – are starting to make their way into more urban settings. That’s because, according to Bloomberg, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and other agencies have decided to relax and remove restrictions on pickup trucks in the Chinese provinces of Liaoning, Henan, Hebei and Yunnan.
It’s hoped that these loosening restrictions will inject new life into vehicle sales in a cooling market. “Pollution isn’t the main concern for the MIIT and local governments when they make policy decisions,” says independent Beijing auto analyst Zhang Zhiyong. “What they want is to help the auto industry prosper when the market is relatively gloomy.”
This could significantly help Ford, whose F-150 pickup already dominates the US new vehicle market. Next year, Ford is planning to launch the all-new Raptor performance variant in China – a truck which would have little place in the traditional agricultural role to which pickups are often relegated in the country.
With the loosening regulations on where pickup trucks can and cannot be driven, global automakers like Ford have a whole new pool of potential customers in the segment, and one that could help combat slowing sales industry-wide.