But Texas has proved a tough market for import brands to crack, and you don’t see many non-Detroit pickups on the roads here, not even Toyota Tundras, which are built in San Antonio.
The displays look like something out of a Godzilla movie, with each major brand of pickup having its top model perched on huge towers hundreds of feet in the air. Ford -- befitting its position in the industry -- rented display space easily as large as its presence at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Ford spokesman Mike Levine estimated the company’s display at 175,000 square feet, both indoors and out.
Ford, like other automakers selling pickups in Texas, doesn’t want to give even a millimeter of this dusty landscape to competitors, and they all stand ready to cancel out competing messages. It’s the closest automakers come to hand-to-hand combat.
Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager, aware that Fiat Chrysler’s Ram brand has just introduced a concept pickup, the Rebel TRX, aimed straight at the off-road F-150 Raptor, took a swipe at Ram.
“It’s interesting to see some are still talking about concepts,” he told a crowd of reporters at Ford’s press conference. “We’ll be back in the market [with the 2017 Raptor] in the next 60 days.”
“This is our biggest market and our second home,” Scott said of the Texas market.
“This is ground zero.”