A big part of the auto industry’s success over the last two years has been sales of light trucks, and the utilitarian workhorses continue to play a major role in the success of the Detroit Three. However, the days of taking year-over-year double-digit sales gains for granted appears to be over. Ford, Ram, and GMC all saw increases for July, but only Ram posted a double-digit year-over-year July gain at 14 percent. The Chevrolet Silverado was flat for the month, and the bellwether Ford F-Series posted a modest but respectable 4.6 percent gain for July.
Toyota and Nissan both had mixed results, with the Frontier up modestly for July and the Tundra up for Toyota but the Tacoma down slightly. The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are not yet on sale, two models General Motors are hoping to add to the company’s fortunes in the months ahead.
1) Ford F-Series – 63,240, Up 4.6 Percent
It’s not an understatement to say the Ford F-Series is a bellwether for the U.S. economy in general. From the F-150 to the Super Duty and cab-chassis variants, there’s probably an F-Series used in almost every vocation you can think of. Sales were up a modest 4.6 percent in July. Expect to see a major uptick when the all-new 2015 aluminum-bodied F-150 hits showrooms this fall.
2) Chevrolet Silverado – 42,097, Up 0.0 Percent
Sales for the Silverado were essentially flat in July, with the July total up only 17 units from last year, a virtual statistical rounding error. The Silverado and its stablemate GMC Sierra have generally received positive reviews from the automotive press, but sales momentum is still clearly in Ram’s favor overall.
3) Ram 1500/2500/3500 – 35,621, Up 14 Percent
Ram made headlines earlier this year in March for surpassing the Chevrolet Silverado in retail sales. Although it hasn’t passed that milestone again since, there’s no denying Ram’s consistently upward sales trajectory compared to the relatively flat performance of GM and of the Silverado specifically. Although it’s still a bit early to tell how much the availability of the EcoDiesel in the Ram 1500 has impacted sales, it’s probably increased showroom traffic and interest in the brand.
4) GMC Sierra – 17,488, Up 5.5 Percent
The GMC Sierra may not be the volume king in Detroit, but it has been a consistent success story for GM, showing gains when the Silverado was flat and generally attracting a more affluent buyer despite being essentially mechanically identical to the Silverado. The Denali sub-brand in particular has been very popular with GMC and is offered on both 1500 and HD versions of the Sierra.
5) Toyota Tacoma – 13,249, Down 4.6 Percent
The Tacoma topped the midsize truck sales charts for July, and although it’s firmly the leader from a volume standpoint, the last few months have been flat to down for Toyota’s bread-and-butter hauler. Detail updates in infotainment systems, interior styling, and a new-for-2015 TRD Pro package promise to keep interest up in the face of new competitors in the form of the 2015 Colorado and Canyon.
6) Toyota Tundra – 10,312, Up 5.0 Percent
It may not have the same overall volume as its little brother, but the Tundra has been gaining in popularity over the last few months, and it appears the 2014 restyle has been well received. The fact that the Tundra (and Tacoma) are both built in truck-crazed Texas probably helps their hometown cred.
7) Nissan Frontier – 5,797, Up 3.2 Percent
Like the Tacoma, the Frontier is getting slightly long in tooth, and the recent debut of a new global-market Navara indicates a new Frontier is probably coming soon but after the debut of the all-new 2016 Titan. We expect the new model, whenever it eventually comes, to be much more fuel-efficient and to have much more advanced tech integration and sophisticated interior styling.
8) Honda Ridgeline – 1,340, Down 18.5 Percent
The Ridgeline soldiers forth in its last model year for the current body style before it takes a two-year hiatus until returning as an all-new model in 2017. Based on sketches released by Honda, the new model looks to have a more traditional “pickup” profile than the current Ridgeline, although specific styling or mechanical details are still unknown. Among other possible powertrain options, we expect it to have a version of the 3.5L direct-injected V-6 currently used in the Acura MDX.
9) Nissan Titan – 1,072, Down 8.2 Percent
First introduced for the 2004 model year, the current model will be on sale for 12 model years before the all-new model debuts for 2016. Spare production capacity in the Canton, Mississippi, plant has been taken by the NV fullsize vans and the Sentra and Altima compact and midsize sedans. Among the highlights promised for the new model is an optional Cummins turbodiesel V-8.
10) Chevrolet Colorado – 0
We’re just mere months away from GM’s new midsize trucks hitting the showrooms, and dealers are probably giddy with anticipation for what promise to be outstanding new products. Pricing, just released earlier this week, shows the trucks will be priced competitively with the Tacoma and Frontier.
11) GMC Canyon – 0