Who Coined the Term Pickup Truck?

The term pickup truck is a colloquialism used in North America and some parts of the world to describe a type of light-duty truck with an open cargo bed. It is also sometimes referred to as a “ute” or “utility vehicle” in other parts of the world. While pickup trucks have been around for quite some time, it was not until the early 20th century that they began to be referred to as such.

The first known use of the term “pickup truck” came in 1913 when it was used in advertisements for Auto-Vim, a manufacturer of automobiles based in Detroit, Michigan. The company’s advertisement stated that their vehicles were “the perfect pickup truck”. From there, other manufacturers began using the term to refer to their vehicles as well.

In the 1930s, pickup trucks began to become more popular and were available from many manufacturers. This led to an increase in the use of “pickup truck” as a descriptor for such vehicles. By this time, it had become so widely accepted that it was included in dictionaries and was even used by government officials.

In 1938, Chevrolet introduced its first pickup truck and named it the Half-Ton Pickup. This was also the first time that Chevrolet had used the term “pickup” on a vehicle and is generally considered the moment when “pickup truck” became an official automotive term.

So who coined the term “pickup truck”?

While we may never know exactly who first used this phrase or why they chose it, we can be sure that Auto-Vim played a major role in making it a commonly accepted automotive descriptor. Beyond that, Chevrolet’s introduction of its Half-Ton Pickup likely cemented its place in automotive history.


The term “pickup truck” was coined by Auto-Vim in 1913, however Chevrolet solidified its place as an official automotive descriptor when they introduced their Half-Ton Pickup model in 1938. Since then, pickup trucks have become an integral part of life throughout North America and beyond.

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Karen Watkins