By on June 4, 2013

U.S. sales of pickup trucks rose 19% in May 2013 despite the disappearance of 6175 Ford Rangers, Dodge Dakotas, Suzuki Equators, Chevrolet Colorados, and GMC Canyons.

So strong were sales of the remaining trucks that these deficits weren’t simply accounted for, they were overcome to the tune of 32,144 extra sales. Overall, the auto industry reported 108,594 more sales this May than last, according to Automotive News. That works out to an 8% improvement. More than a hundred passenger car nameplates combined to generate about 36,000 more sales in May 2013 than in May 2012.

Auto
May 2013
May 2012
May % Change
5 mos. 2013
5 mos. 2012
YTD % Change
Ford F-Series
71,604 54,836 + 30.6% 299,477 246,116 + 21.7%
Chevrolet Silverado
43,283 34,555 + 25.3% 199,327 160,942 + 23.9%
Ram Pickup
31,672 26,040 + 21.6% 140,675 114,630 + 22.7%
GMC Sierra
16,061 13,196 + 21.7% 71,065 60,466 + 17.5%
Toyota Tacoma
14,727 12,269 + 20.0% 67,165 55,289 + 21.5%
Toyota Tundra
9950 8765 + 13.5% 41,806 36,418 + 14.8%
Nissan Frontier
6570 5480 + 19.9% 23,903 23,734 + 0.7%
Chevrolet Avalanche
1980 2113 - 6.3% 10,166 9283 + 9.5%
Honda Ridgeline
1626 1199 + 35.6% 7448 6084 + 22.4%
Nissan Titan
1402 2166 - 35.3% 7552 8347 - 9.5%
Chevrolet Colorado
244 3778 - 93.5% 2879 17,333 - 83.4%
Cadillac Escalade EXT
200 137 + 46.0% 973 672 + 44.8%
GMC Canyon
88 910 - 90.3% 812 4761 - 82.9%
Suzuki Equator
186 - 100% 448 753 - 40.5%
Ford Ranger
1607 - 100% 17,526 - 100%
Dodge Dakota
26 - 100% 441 - 100%
Total
199,407
167,263 + 19.2% 873,696 762,795 + 14.5%

As always, the Ford F-Series led the way in the pickup truck market. The big change in May related to its ability to crest the 70,000-unit barrier for the first time since March 2007. Ford’s 31% F-Series improvement was the biggest year-over-year increase during the F-Series’ 22-month streak of increases.

22months

The F-Series outsold the GM twins, Chevrolet’s Silverado and GMC’s Sierra, by 12,260 units, up from a 7085-unit gap a year ago. Strictly on volume terms, May 2013 wasn’t a bad month for the GM trucks. Joint Silverado/Sierra volume jumped 24%. Together they added 11,593 sales to the General Motors mix – GM was up 3%, or 7638 units.

Three out of every ten Ford brand sales in May occurred because of the F-Series. During a month in which Ford utility vehicle sales rose 17%, and the Escape reached an all-time high in U.S. volume, the F-Series outsold the five Ford utilities by nearly 4000 units.

Chrysler’s Ram truck has posted year-over-year gains in 37 consecutive months. Its market share in the category, 15.9%, grew from 15.6% in May 2012. Through the first five months of 2013, Ram P/U market share in the whole 14-truck category has risen to 16.1% from 15% in the equivalent period of 2012.
TTAC_Truck-essentials-chart
These four full-size trucks, together with the Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, Chevrolet Avalanche, and Cadillac Escalade EXT, were responsible for 88% of all truck sales in May 2013. Of the remaining 23,255 sales, 63% went the way of Toyota’s Tacoma.

As a group, trucks accounted for 13.8% of the U.S. auto industry’s 1.44 million new vehicle sales in May, up sharply from 12.5% in May 2012. The non-truck market produced gains in May, but those gains measured 6.5%, rather than than the truck-inclusive 8.1%.

The truck category’s ability to continue to grow at this pace would seem to depend somewhat on GM’s ability to continue selling such a large number of trucks once discounts are, presumably, not so readily available on the next-gen trucks later this year. On the other hand, the current growth rate at Ford and Ram, though undoubtedly aided by incentives, is taking place in the light of newness, not under the shadow of run-out specials.

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. His look at the important segments will be a permanent fixture at TTAC, along with a  look at the market up North.  

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

50 Comments on “Cain’s Segments:Truck, Truck, Hooray!...”


  • avatar
    Summicron

    Why don’t they just put trunk lids on them already?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s a specialty shop add-on for now. There’s the hinged lift-up fiberglass lid and an electric roll-top cover like a roll-top desk. Once you’ve added a back seat and four doors, you’ve got a jacked up 1960s full sized car. You could probably drop a ’65 Continental body on an F150 chassis.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        Exactly.

        Was just looking at a leather interior in a King Ranch.
        Holy crap… anyone else think these might be cutting into luxury sedan sales? If Ben Cartwright had a company truck it would look like that. All that with ride height and armor, too.

        • 0 avatar
          chas404

          i drive a 2010 king ranch. used to drive escalades (constant reliability issues). interior is super nice. all the advantages of a reliable truck with interior of a bmw 750. i sometimes think these trucks are the replacement for the personal luxury coupes of the 1970s. we drive them thinking we want a truck but really we want a good view, big doors, big wide seats and effortless v8 power. FYI before I get flamed to death by the prius crowd i do use it for construction work etc ( granted not as much as before but hopefully soon ).

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            I’m a Prius fan who would never flame you. A Prius and a truck is my idea of fair and balanced :-)

            Plus, I love trucks first, last and always. I just want smaller, simpler ones back.

        • 0 avatar
          Les

          I think you might be on to something about Sedan sales.

          What to trucks and SUVs have in common? Upright seating, ground-clearance, large greenhouse with relatively low beltlines? All things common in the old 50′s/60′s cars.. but also in the era of the 50′s and 60′s were the Hot-Rods, some common ‘artistic’ touches being lowering to the ground and narrowing the windows.. it doesn’t help that those styling cues also aid in aerodynaics and impact safety regulations..

          No wonder the CUV is such an exploding segment.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        You’re not the only one who’s gotten ‘ideas’ about “What-if, we put a 60′s/70′s luxury full-size car body on a modern full-size pickup frame?”

        My grandfather got an F-150 recently, I sat in it a few times. The front bench seat, the column-shift automatic, the big chunky dials and knobs..

        When I win the lottery, I’m gonna start a business ‘cross-breeding’ say.. F-150s and 60′s Lincolns, or Silverados and Cadillacs.. It will be Glorious.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    The small truck is truly dead. TTAC is the lone cheerleader for that obsolete form function.

    I would like to see a story on the percentage of these full size trucks being sold with four wheel drive. My theory is that full size four wheel trucks have about the same gas mileage as small four wheel drive trucks, while the real world cost out the door is about the same.

    The capabilities of the full size is many leagues greater.

    Furthermore, the corollary to my theory is the vast majority of trucks sold nowadays are four wheel drive, making it one of the unsung market forces driving what is actually designed and sold in this segment.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      The roads in Houston do not support your theory, Larry. You might be correct if you amend your theory to the world outside of Texas. Of course, that’s a small part of the world of little concern to us inside Texas. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      As wonderful as your theory sounds, if it was correct, full size trucks would be sold world wide.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “My theory is that full size four wheel trucks have about the same gas mileage as small four wheel drive trucks”

      Well, EPA says that a 2013 Tacoma 4WD gets about 20mpg (which sounds correct and plausible, and in line with my old ’94 2WD, so correcting for both 4WD costs and improved economy, I’ll believe it).

      My F250 gets 13mpg (with, admittedly, a Kargo Master rack and a canopy). This is not really fair, though, because it’s an F250, not an F150.

      Now, a new F-150 with the V8 gets 16, and with either of the V6s, gets right around what a Tacoma does, so you’re not far off.

      But it also costs $6k more (28k vs 22k, roughly) – and that assumes the base Tacoma trim is comparable to the F150XL, which I’m not sure it is.

      (I’d say the V8 is the relevant one, because the plain V6 is deeply unpopular – I’ve never seen one on the road – and the EcoBoost, while an excellent motor, is *really expensive* to compare with a compact truck.)

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Which brings up the question that came to mind reading the article… what’s the proportion of class-1 vs class-2/3/4 trucks?

        I know Ford sells more F150s than SuperDutys, and I think the same applies to the other makers… but what’s the actual proportion?

      • 0 avatar
        chas404

        those who know trucks have long known about the dirty little secret that v6 smaller pickups get about the same mpg as the bigger v8 full size trucks. my F150 long bed (long bed being 6.5 feet now not 8 feet) and super huge crew cab etc) gets about 15mpg to 17 mpg constantly. that is for the 5.4 with the 6spd auto. and it is 4×4 too. i could be wrong but the tacomas etc get about 16 mpg city and maybe on long trips 20 mpg. with a truck has more to do about crappy aerodynamics in the end.

        people buy the smaller trucks more for parking issues etc than mpg. personally i never understood them. once u go to a truck u may as well get a v8 full size.

        if we had the turbodiesel smaller ones that would be interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      For retail purposes, the small truck is dead. Killed by manufacturers who crippled it with defects to protect full-size margins and further killed by regulators who decided small trucks will need to achieve 37mpg (EPA) by 2025.

      In the secondary market, small trucks are alive an well. The previous-generation Tacoma is a particularly hot item, and V6 4×4 models in respectable condition will still fetch $15K-$20K. Nissan Frontiers and Ford Rangers in V6 4×4 format are not quite as valuable, but they are equally difficult to pry away from their owners.

      The death of the small/midsize truck and the ascendancy of the full-size behemoths we have today is attributable to the evolving purpose of trucks. When trucks were work vehicles, customers demanded off-road capability. If they towed big trailers, they bought a diesel. In the era of commuter show trucks, everyone wants a long-wheelbase gasoline model for comfort that still has the capability to tow imaginary boats and work trailers. As a result, modern midsize trucks, particularly the previous generations, are far better for work than any fullsize beast, unless you need a diesel towing rig.

      Small 4×4 trucks are basically Jeep Wranglers with a functional cargo area. If they had been marketed and developed in accordance with their capabilities, I suspect they would have been quite successful. Instead, the manufacturers continued to build far too many options for configuration, and they let the public perceive them as ugly ducklings. When the new Tacoma was released, Toyota attempted to leverage the indestructible reputation of the out-going model with a ridiculous bro-centric marketing campaign. It did very little to alter the marketplace.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        You are not accounting for differences in climate and culture. Around here, it’s mostly play trucks that get four wheel drive because work trucks that don’t really need it don’t get it and frankly, only a small percentage of work trucks need it here. Its not uncommon to loosen the springs on a 2wd model for greater mud and flood performance though, so a lot of 2wd models might be mistaken for 4wd. Also, plenty of trucks that look like lifestyle models really are not. They are getting used for the bed, just not every trip.
        Where you at anyway?

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Landcrusher
          ALL Pickups are 4 X4 here, Utes are 2WD. Ford sold a lifted Ute with a locked diff that was pretty good Off Road and their have been 4 x4 versions of Utes, but the higher prices was the killer.

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          You must live in the South or Southwest. I live in Phoenix and 4×4 pickups are uncommon but not rare.

          When I lived in Colorado 2wd pickups were almost unheard of for work or play; you’d struggle to find a single on on most dealer lots.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “The small truck is truly dead.”

      The demand for it isn’t dead, just ignored because these monstrosities are so much more profitable. Tradesmen and small businesses at least have the Transit Connect. The frugal, homeowning DIY’er is just SOL.

      • 0 avatar
        MK

        I buy used so new truck sales aren’t of much interest to me but living in the South (pure redneck flyover hell to the rest of y’all) trucks are EXTREMELY popular here because the people who have to be frugal by necessity would rather own ONE vehicle that meets all their needs rather than two specialty vehicles and all the attendant costs associated with that.

        Clearly for many families theyve made the choice that A crew cab truck fills that bill much better than a single cab pickup and a sedan.

        Having owned a single cab ranger the only thing to recommend it over an F150 is that it’s slightly easier to park inside parking garages but who cares about that? 97.32% of the time it’s much worse to live with, the mpg is only 2mpg Better than the v8, the crew cab is much more comfortable, the whole family fits in there and it makes a great traveling vehicle to go in comfort.

        Full size trucks are the new family car in the land between the coastal cities. Sorry to disappoint y’all.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          “Full size trucks are the new family car in the land between the coastal cities.”

          They sure as heck are in Wisconsin. Since the explosion in popularity of the crew cab why would a family want anything else? Big, safe and comfortable and if it’s the only vehicle the fuel consumption is much more supportable.

          But for empty-nesters a 6 foot bed, only two doors and 28-32 mpg would from a FWD 4-banger would sure be swell. I guess I’m asking for the return of the long bed Rabbit. I think we’ll get FTL spaceships first.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        Demand for trucks of all sorts is being soaked-up by the ‘Urban-Cowboy’, and manufacturers are chasing those dollars with gusto. Demand for small trucks is still reasonably high, but it’s highest in rural/small-town America where you need something relatively small and light to not get bogged down out in the pasture for work or out in the woods for play..

        But, those areas aren’t where the ‘big money’ is.. and now we hear that even the last ‘hardcore off-the-lot’ off-roader, the Jeep Wrangler, is steadily being toned-down to meet the expectations of the urbanites it’s growing more and more popular with.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      The small 4×4 pickup was the poor mans jeep. One could get a stripped pickup with offroad friendly dimensions for much less than a Jeep. A fullsize pickup is not really a fun trail vehicle.

  • avatar
    TW4

    Booming petroleum and strong housing = surging full-size truck sales

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    When did Dodge kill the Dakota?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    70,000 lemmings can’t be wrong! Seriously, it’s nice that there is a pick up in sales… I am not sure that removing the Ranger from the market and then joyfully celebrating an increase in F150 sales is smart but what ever, sales is sales. Hopefully there is no further drama in the market and Ford is not caught flat footed.

  • avatar

    No wonder the Tacoma took the 63% of the rest. They still sell the ghetto model with bench seating and manual. I swear to anything that I actually sat in a 2013 model of that. It’s totally awesome and has MSRP of $16k. Probably can get it cheaper if you know how. Usually I see these things with a few buckets of paint in the bed and all covered in paint stains.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      You can get a base model on every full size truck brand.

      Will you find one on the lot? Maybe if the dealership does lots of fleet stuff. You can atleast order one.

      I’m a base model kind of truck guy myself. I like to keep it simple plus they all come with a/c which is about the only option i miss in my base model rubber floor truck of old.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Clearly people are starting to adapt to $4 a gallon gas. This is scary… and sad.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      This was bound to happen. People don’t care about the gas prices. Clearly this shows that.

      Then again it could be built up demand. Since trucks sales peaked around 2004.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      No, it’s good. It shows Steven Chu what a clueless, blinkered di**wart his tiger mom produced. I call it a lesson in Democracy for a transplanted mandarin.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        +1 Summicron

        Really though, $4 gas ($3.30 where I am) is bad, but it will end up (EDIT: FURTHER) destroying the economy if the gov’t keeps upping taxes, of course then the people fall as well, quite a mess.

        Who honestly has a burning desire to drive a Fit?
        I get better ride quality, better visibility, more power, more capabilities(I do offroad my vehicles, mostly for recreation) easier to work on, cheaper parts, more customizable, etc etc
        The only downfall? Price of gas, but even then my time and me enjoying what I drive is worth way more then the price of gas.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The cost-of-living in my city is relatively low, so people drive large, gas-guzzling vehicles for no reason at all. I can’t drive half a mile without seeing at least three (V8-powered) pickup trucks, and Tahoes and Suburbans seem to be standard fare for families of four or more. Oh, and no one is scared off by premium fuel either, it seems…

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “Tahoes and Suburbans seem to be standard fare for families of four or more”

            Well, yeah.

            The minivan is semi-moribund, and the large SUV is *really convenient and effective* for transporting a fair number of people.

            “No reason at all” is perhaps not the phrase you’re looking for.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Hey! Steven Chu is an American born eminent scientist and Nobel laureate (of the untainted science variety) who unfortunately fell in with the global warming (now climate change) religion. He has the brains and background to know better, but the religion, she needs no proof.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          Yeah, the Chus have been high-powered American academics for a couple of generations. That does nor preclude tiger mom-ness. In fact, it’s proof of it.

          But of course tiger moms have always come in several different ethnic varieties. And a family of elite academicians is about as in-tune with the needs of the American middle-class as would be reanimated mandarins.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      People are also driving less than they used to. Many companies are adopting telecommuting, teleconferencing, flexible work schedules, etc in an attempt to green up their images and cut down on the amount of time that employees spend in the office or traveling to client sites.

      If I’m driving 20-30% less $4 per gallon isn’t that hard to swallow.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    The fact that Silverado Chevys are up more than GMC suggests to me that the uptick is more concentrated in work oriented trucks.

    Really, really wanted a reprise of my super handy ’84 Nissan p/u, but leftover stripped Ranger was 18K and VERY dreary. Spiffy Frontier, more money. Stripped F-150 was only 21.5K. and gets 18 mpg city, 22 mpg hwy. Hwy milage is about 1 mpg less than old Nissan. Maybe it gets worse mileage than the Frontier by a mpg or two. I drive less than 8K per year, so its not real material to me. I guess I can manage with 302 base hp.

    Don’t like the ungainliness of the vehicle, ( the sidewalls are so high I have trouble putting stuff in there from the side and I have to stand just right and kind of on my tiptoes to check the oil and I am just under 6′ tall) and its mediocre visibility, usually one of the pleasures of driving a truck.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Americans (as a group) have no business whining about high gas prices when they are buying 200,000 pick-up trucks a month plus countless more SUVs. Eight out of 10 of the buyers don’t need them for work. It’s fine to make a lifestyle choice, but don’t make the climate or the nation’s energy policy bear the costs of your choice. We need a carbon tax to make the users of the fuel pay the external costs of the fuel. It could be phased into make the transition less painful. If the legislators would get some guts and do what the economists have been saying for a generation, we could help the climate, get rid of CAFE, help our trade deficit, avoid crazy wars, and with the added revenue, we could lower income taxes, reduce the deficit or a little of both.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      No, we don’t “need” a carbon tax.

      Problem solved.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I really hate saying this, especially not knowing you, but what an idiot.
      I’m not complaining about gas, sure it would be nice for it not to be artificially inflated by the government, I’d love it to be back at its true cost of around $1.50.
      My choices don’t effect you, no matter how you spin the truth.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Landcrusher–You are correct 4 wheel drive is completely unnecessary in Houston. I grew up in Houston (lived there 29 years) and moved to Northern Kentucky 26 years ago. Even in NKY 4 wheel drive is not used that much unless when it snows or farmers and anyone who goes off road in the country. A front wheel drive vehicle with traction control works very well in driving in the winter snow. I usually engage my 4 wheel drive twice a year when it snows.

    @Conslaw–You are likely to start a war mentioning carbon tax especially with many truck owners. I agree that it is better to make more efficient choices but there is not the will or desire in Washington DC to pass higher taxes. Anyway the politicians are too busy fighting each other and having hearings to do any kind of real business. Also most of the Congress takes kick backs from big oil and other lobbyist in the form of campaign funds. If gas prices start to rise rapidly then you will see a bigger demand for more efficient vehicles and then some of the big V8 4×4 trucks will either get driven less or unloaded on the market at a loss. Right now the sales of the big 4×4 trucks are booming.

  • avatar
    Dr. Gonzo

    I think Dodge has really got a good thing going right now in the Ram Express. Base model (yet decent looking) interior, a very nice exterior and the brutish 5.7 Hemi. As a fellow in his 30s without any desire for kids, it’s suits me nicely. Ford has the stripped out F150 with the regular V6 for the same price, and the GM interior (on the 2013 anyway) looks plain awful.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India