Americans File for Emancipation from Domestic Truck Choices

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In 1998, a 19-year old college Freshman from Massachusetts sowed the oats for the groundbreaking court rulings which are now proving to be a game-changer for today’s truck-makers. And as important as this story is to all current and prospective truck owners, it directly impacts anyone debating the purchase of a 2018 Chevy Silverado vs. 2018 GMC Sierra 1500.

During the summer between his freshman and sophomore year at Fitchburg State University, Mr. Rocheleau was living at home with his parents Roland (known within the community as “Buckets”) and Cindy. Having grown tired of borrowing his mother’s car to commute 35 minutes to school each day, Heath had been working upwards of sixty hours a week, saving every paycheck towards a vehicle of his own. Unfortunately for young Mr. Rocheleau, the only choice of pre-owned trucks that fit his budget seemed to be outdated Chevy and GMC pickups.

“It sucked,” recalled Mr. Rocheleau. “I wanted a truck, but there was nothing that caught my eye at the time. Even the used Fords were pretty limited in their selection, at the time. And while I had never thought of looking at imports, I ended up buying myself a 2-year old Toyota Tacoma. At first, I was somewhat unsure of my decision…but I could never have expected how happy I would be with my decision.”

And upon deciding that he was supremely satisfied with his decision to purchase a Toyota, Heath realized that he probably wasn’t alone in the frustration he had experienced.

“Even as recently as the late 90’s, there seemed to be fewer options in terms of used trucks. But I realized that, in order to increase the number of used Toyota trucks, we’d have to increase the number of new Toyota trucks sold…and wait.”

But MA-based legislation regulated the placement of competitive car dealerships, and the pre-existing prevalence of domestic dealerships maxed out most of the opportunities for Toyota to expand. Logically, it had the same limiting effect on fellow truck segment upstarts such as Nissan and Honda. Suffice it to say that Heath Rocheleau was frustrated.

“Well, how was I supposed to feel?” he shared, laughing with irritation. “It reminded me of when my idiot older brother decided to emancipate himself from our parents at age 16 because he believed that living at home restricted his options in terms of things like eating, booze, getting high and…well mostly, masturbation. So, it hit me: American consumers needed to emancipate ourselves from domestic truck manufacturers.”

And while Rocheleau’s first steps toward this goal went largely unsupported, the ever-increasing popularity of Toyota, Nissan and Honda provided the leverage he so desperately needed to prove that demand necessitated action. And with the help of his attorney, Ben Levine, Heath Rocheleau began to craft a convincing indictment of a restrictive and non-inclusive industry. In doing so, they increased the number of Toyota, Nissan and Honda dealerships; selling more new model trucks, eventually traded back to those dealerships for resale. Nineteen years later, his efforts have clearly paid off.

In 2017, 17 states boast legislators who have voted to enforce zoning exceptions and regulatory protections in favor of non-domestic automakers. Such legislation ensures that used truck customers will now have a greater number of choices available to them.

Unfortunately, Heath Rocheleau wouldn’t live to see the outcome. On a trip to Detroit, Rocheleau fell victim to extreme food poisoning and passed away. While ruled an accidental death, his brother Roland isn’t so sure.

“Seems pretty coincidental,” he says (comfortably high) implying foul play (in just about the most mellow way possible). “Spend two decades taking on the Detroit Three, and you’re bound to make some powerful enemies.”

Whether or not Heath Rocheleau is the victim of automotive vengeance may never be known. But one thing is for sure: never invite his brother Roland to your home or place of employment, as he will inevitably find a place to masturbate unabashedly and leave everything looking like a blacklight crime scene.

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