Sales of the largest pickups have been soaring for several years. But in coming months the competition for customers will grow sharply, according to the New York Times
.Japanese automakers are rushing into the market, now one of the most profitable and always dominated by America's Big Three. Ford isintroducing a lavishly redesigned version of its best-selling large pickup.Even Hyundai, the Korean company known for low-cost cars, may enter the large-pickup market, according to the Times
.The allure of the pickup market for the auto industry is clear, the Times
said. The industry sold two to two and a half times asmany full-size pickups as it did full-size SUVs last year.Full-size pickups themselves are also getting larger. Those with regular cabs, which are the basic work trucks with seating for two, now represent less than 17 percent of full-size truck sales. Extended-cab pickups - and roomier crew cabs, with seating for five - accounted for most of the market, the Times
said.Mark Hogan, GM group vice president for advanced vehicle development, said, "It tells us clearly people aren't using pickups theway they had in the past."