You'll rarely see a Ford F-450 in the front of a showroom. A Chevrolet Silverado HD or Ram 3500 won't get a high-profile celebrity endorsement.
But the heavy-duty pickups are ubiquitous at construction sites and in commercial fleets. They haul concrete, plow snow and rake in major profits.
Ford says its commercial vehicle business — which also includes its Transit and Transit Connect vans — earned $10 billion in 2017 on $72 billion in revenue, for a profit margin of 14 percent. If it were a standalone company, it would be a Fortune 40 business bigger than Procter & Gamble.
The big bucks spent in the heavy-duty segment have created a heavyweight brawl as the Detroit 3 race to gain a competitive edge by boosting their trucks' capabilities and adding technology once reserved for luxury brands.