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Here's Why Pick-up Truck Sales are Surging

Chrysler RAM pick-up trucks sit on display at a dealership in Wake Forest, North Carolina, U.S.
Jim R. Bounds | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Chrysler RAM pick-up trucks sit on display at a dealership in Wake Forest, North Carolina, U.S.

Call this the long overdue Spring sales surge for the pick-up truck.

It may not be sexy, but the importance for automakers and the U.S. economy cannot be overstated.

"Housing is beginning to improve, and that's fueling our pick-up sales," said Kurt McNeil, Vice President of U.S. Sales for General Motors.

In April, the big 3 all saw big sales for their pick-ups.

  • Ram Trucks up 49%
  • Ford F-Series up 24%
  • GM Pick-ups up 23%

Small Business Owners, Contractors Buying Again

Pick-up trucks have been gradually increasing sales as the economy has improved over the last three years. At the heart of the latest surge in truck sales is higher demand from small business owners and contractors who are replacing older trucks in their fleets.

(Read More: Pending Home Sales Tick Upward in March)

"That portion of the business for us was up 21 percent, so we're definitely seeing growth month-to-month in that space. That's good and healthy for our industry and the economy," said McNeil.

Through March, pick-up sales jumped 9 percent while passenger car sales dropped 1.3 percent.

So why are contractors and small business owners replacing trucks now? Some of it is due to the housing market rebounding and contractors having the money to buy a new pick-up.

(Read More: Chrysler Profit Growth Slows Due to Costs)

At the same time, the latest generation of pick-ups are more fuel-efficient so small business owners will spend less on gas.

—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau; Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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