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.
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.
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.