By on January 5, 2017

2015 Ford F-150 crew cab

Thanks to improved midsize-truck sales, record Ram volume, and the best annual results for the Ford F-Series in more than a decade, U.S. sales of pickup trucks climbed to 2.69 million units in 2016.

The 6-percent year-over-year growth rate among pickup trucks shamed the industry at large — auto sales grew only 0.3 percent in 2016. Yet while auto sales reached record levels, spurred along in part by pickup improvements, truck sales haven’t quite returned to the glory days. Not yet.

Americans acquired an average of more than 3 million pickup trucks per year during a five-year period ending in 2007, the last time total pickup truck sales volume was stronger than it is now.

Some things haven’t changed, however. Ford sells the most popular full-size pickup truck line; 2016 was the F-Series 40th consecutive year as the segment’s top seller. And America’s top-selling manufacturer reigns as the top-selling manufacturer of pickup trucks. 

Of the 2.69 million new pickup trucks sold in the United Stated in 2016, 35 percent were General Motors products. Along with 796,556 full-size Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras, GM also sold 146,174 midsize Chevrolet Colorados and GMC Canyons.

That 942,730-unit total — for those keeping track — exceeded Ford’s F-Series total by nearly 122,000 units.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax

Ford, as of yet, offers no alternative to the Colorado and Canyon. A rumored Ranger has yet to surface.

While Colorado and Canyon sales surged to their highest level since 2005, the Toyota Tacoma continues to be America’s dominant non-full-size pickup truck. Ranked fifth overall in total sales, Toyota is increasing pickup truck production in order to improve upon the Tacoma’s record 2016 volume. Toyota reported 191,631 U.S. Tacoma sales in 2016: 62 percent of total Toyota pickup truck volume and 43 percent of America’s total midsize volume.

U.S. pickup truck market share chart - Image: © The Truth About Cars

The small/midsize pickup sector’s share of the overall pickup truck category grew to 16.7 percent in 2016 from 14.1 percent in 2015. All hands were on deck, with Nissan Frontier sales rising 38 percent and the Honda Ridgeline, on hiatus in 2015, contributing 23,667 total sales.

In 2007, the last time U.S. pickup truck volume climbed this high, non-full-size trucks owned 19 percent of the overall truck market, helped along by entrants from Dodge, Ford, Isuzu, Mazda, and Mitsubishi.

Full-size pickup trucks continue to be a driving force, not just in terms of the sway they hold in the pickup truck sector, but in the way they generate revenue. The 2.1 million full-size pickups sold by Ford, Chevrolet, Ram, and GMC — renowned for extraordinary profit margins – in 2016 accounted for more than one-quarter of Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles volume.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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47 Comments on “Ford F-Series Owns Full-Size Truck Market In 2016, General Motors Sells The Most Trucks, Pickups Reach Nine-Year High...”


  • avatar
    IHateCars

    But I remember the B&B saying that Ford would tank after the introduction of the aluminium F-150……whhaaaaat?

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    “The small/midsize pickup sector’s share…”

    Which one of these trucks is small? All of them are more than 200 inches in length. I wouldn’t care to drive any of them in town traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @FormerFF
      Welcome to Global Pickups. Interestingly I noted here, Apartments are being built to take many more Pickup sized vehicles

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        Are home builders increasing garage dimensions to accommodate crew cab full size pick-ups and larger SUVs?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Not around here, at least not outside of luxury homes.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I bought a new construction in an upper middle class neighborhood with a 3 car garage. A crew cab full sizer would leave basically zero space around the vehicle. Considering how few people seem to use a garage for parking cars, there probably isn’t much motivation to make the garages bigger. I can’t believe the number of $50k+ vehicles I see sitting outside of garages. All 3 of my bays have a car parked in them at night.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Do you have a real garage, or oversized tool shed?

            “Throughout the past century, garage dimensions have remained about 9 to 10 feet wide and 18 to 20 feet long per car, with a single garage door width of 8 feet. The difference in garage dimensions now is that we tend to want more space for storing our stuff along with the car.”

            houzz.com/ideabooks/25889620/list/key-measurements-for-the-perfect-garage

            Most home garages are big enough for F-150s, but too small for ease of parking, unloading kids, groceries, ect. Same with fullsize SUVs, Tahoes for example. We want what’s easy. Fullsize trucks are for the driveway, excess junk for inside the garage.

  • avatar
    srh

    I’ll never understand why the F-Series is consistently awarded the crown, even though there have been years in recent memory when the GM/Chevrolet twins have together outsold the F-Series.

    I mean, it’s not even like a FR-S/BRZ thing. These are basically the exact same truck from the exact same manufacturer with a different badge on the front, no? Why not just consider the Sierra a “Trim level” of the Silverado?

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      If you are certain you’ll never understand the reality of why Ford F-150 is the best selling truck, then I don’t see much reason in explaining it to you.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “If you are certain you’ll never understand the reality of why Ford F-150 is the best selling truck, then I don’t see much reason in explaining it to you.”

        Where did it say the F-150 was the best selling truck?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Because as long as GM considers GMC and Chevrolet to be two different brands (and they do, very much so), they cannot count combined sales to be greater than Ford’s. If they wanted to take the crown back, they’d have to come out and say, “okay, okay, you got us, GMC and Chevy are just the same thing with a different front clip and bedsides,” and they don’t want to do that. You can’t have it both ways.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Let’s be honest, Ford is being extremely disingenuous when they say that the F-series is the best selling truck.

        Frankly, it’s a bold faced lie. You cannot go to a Ford dealer and buy the Ford F-Series. How can a sales crown be awarded for a vehicle that doesn’t exist?

        Plus, Ford has more vehicles under the F-Series header than any other manufacturer. If GM were to lump all of their trucks under one heading they would have a fake crown too. The only reason the F-450 exists is so that they can have yet another vehicle to pad the numbers.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Did the other trolls make fun of you at school today?

        • 0 avatar

          Or maybe the F450 exist because it’s a 16k truck, so that keeps it under commercial status for many states, and 16k + a 10k trailer keeps it under CDL requirements. Idk, that sounds too much like math. It must just exist to pad the numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            Ford does not care about any of that. They just want to retain their fake sales crown. The points you make are just secondary benefits.

          • 0 avatar

            Sure, and the optional 10k F350 is just for the numbers too.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            No, the F-350 fulfills the traditional “one ton” role. The F-250 fulfills the traditional “three-quarter ton” role and the F-150 fulfills the traditional “half ton” role.

            The 450 is an answer to a question nobody asked…other than some 2nd string Ford exec who was tasked with finding a way to keep the fake sales crown in the Ford camp.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Calm down, you can’t even think straight. “Full Size Pickups” is the category, broken down by *brand*, not capacity, frame thickness, wheel lugs, etc.

            All full size pickup “makers” combine all their “full size” pickup sales into one neat number. Because Ford does this, they’re suddenly evil for doing the same??

            Yes for the last generation, ’99+ Super Duty trucks were on their own separate chassis/platform, (how dare they??) except now they’re back to the way it’s always been done, all full size pickups on a single “chassis”.

            But it’s GM’s own doing, having a separate GMC “brand”. Maybe their total full size pickup sales would beat Ford if they ended GMC as a “brand”, and made it a Chevy pickup *trim level*.

            GM’s own studies have clearly shown GMC pickup loyalists would revolt. straight up! It sounds insane, but many GMC pickup buyers cannot entertain the thought of owning a damn Chevy!!

            The F-450 pickup is sort of a gimmick, being the mother of all pickups, but it has a distinct purpose for all-out capacity, towing and whatnot. It makes GM and Ram 3500 dually 4X4 crew cabs look positively scrawny parked next to one.

            Chronic oneupsmanship helps sell the Raptor too, but the aftermarket had been supplying customers F-550 and F-450 pickup “conversions” long before Ford came up with the concept.

            Except actual F-450 Pickup sales are a tiny, miniscule fraction of total enormous F-series sales, and hardly even worth mentioning, let alone getting a hardon over. Of course if GM had any brains, they’d have 4500/5500 series’ commercial trucks too, on their fullsize pickup platform, and of course, a “4500 Pickup”.

            Ram at least has heavy 4500/5500 commercial “cab-n-chassis” trucks based on Ram pickups. It’s just a matter of time before there’s a Ram 4500 Pickup. Common frickin’ sense!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Frantz – both Ford and Ram count 450/4500 in the pickup tally. Ford counts anything sold with a box on it as a pickup. Anything over 450/4500 is counted as a commercial vehicle. Ford did “de-rate” the F450 slightly to keep it in the “light truck” category.
            GM used to do the same thing when they made trucks bigger than 3500.

            The original F450 pickup marketed by Ford was meant to be a “tow monster”. The F350 when properly equipped actually had a greater payload. Ford had a hard time selling the original F450 since it was more commercially biased. Recreational towers did not like the speed limited truck due to commercially rated tires.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          The big dividing line goes between the half ton and the 3/4, not the tiny amount of (individually very profitable) F450 sales.

          Including 3/4, 1 and 4/3 (or whatever the F450 is) tons, not only obfuscates the Main Event, which is half tons, brand over brand, but also ends up overstating half tons’ importance versus midsize.

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    Years ago when my BIL was shopping for a new truck, a salesman told him that a GMC came standard with what were options on a Silverado! :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      I know that that’s true on many GMC products so the comment isn’t entirely from ignorance. Look up what’s standard on a Suburban LS vs Yukon XL SLE.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        GMC trim levels SL, SLE-1, SLE-2, SLT, Denali

        Chevy Trim Levels LS, LT-1, LT-2, Premium

        So Suburban LS proper comparison would be Yukon XL SL. I have noticed that many GMC vehicles do have sub-woofers standard at lower trim levels than their Chevy counterparts and that a Terrain seems to have more sound-deadening than an Equinox.

        So GMC – Chevy with a nicer stereo and quieter inside!

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The most effective use of Ford/GMs time would be to spend every waking hour devising new, stylish lights and grill options for their next generation trucks and equally polished and targeted advertising.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    I have to say, trucks have always been my weekend vehicle. Used to pull a trailer or bass boat, but never for daily driving.

    That changed with my 2015 F150 2.7 ecoboost. This is frankly the best overall vehicle I’ve ever owned.

    It does your normal truck stuff, including towing more than my last V8 powered F150 could do, while getting me 23 mpg average commuting miles. That’s just 2 mpg down from my last daily, a VW CC 2.0T on the same commute.

    It seats six comfortably and capable of 0-60 in less than 6 seconds. It’s actually faster in a straight line than all the cars I’ve owned including a BMW E46s, E90 and Subaru BRZ.

    I also bought the first year of a complete re-design, just like my old Integra and E46s. So far flawless.

    • 0 avatar
      True_Blue

      Agreed, here too, same year and engine. I finally got to try it in deep snow with the 3.55 locker and even on factory tires it went through a 28″ deep blanket.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “I also bought the first year of a complete re-design, just like my old Integra and E46s. So far flawless.”

      Just don’t take it to a car wash. The beer can metal is so weak the antenna will be ripped from the fender and your truck will be beadt with it causing $6k in damages.

      And saying that it tows more/better than your last V8 F-150 isn’t saying much. The old modular engines were garbage and made awful power.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Thirded, but don’t go trumpeting F150 mpg on these forums or you’ll draw the ire of those down under. I am at 22 over 20,000 miles in my 2015 2.7 crew cab. And yeah, I unscrew my antenna prior to a wash but honestly the first time I ever saw a car wash rip one out like that it was back in the 90s on a chevy Astro the dealership I worked at. It happens from time to time.


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