Cain's Segments: Trucks Redux

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
cain s segments trucks redux

February 2014 sales of America’s six continuing full-size pickup lineups grew 1.8%, but GM’s truck twins, the newest trucks on the block, fell 8.9%. Ford, Ram, Toyota, and Nissan combined for an 8.7% year-over-year increase to 94,225 units. The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra’s decline equalled a loss of 4960 units compared with February 2013.

These full-size trucks accounted for 12.2% of the U.S. auto industry’s total February 2014 volume, up slightly from 11.9% in the equivalent period one year earlier.

Although the F-Series’ gain of 2.6% appears slight, this improvement occurred in an auto market which grew not at all. Moreover, a 2.6% increase for the F-Series adds 1393 extra units of a very profitable vehicle, more added sales than the Chevrolet Volt managed in total.

Total Ford brand sales slid more than 7% in February as car volume plunged 16.8% and sales of the Blue Oval’s five utility vehicles dropped 4.3%. Ford’s car division outsold the F-Series by just 1354 units; the F-Series outsold the utility vehicle lineup by 3040 units. 30.5% of the new vehicles sold by the Ford Motor Company last month were F-Series pickups.

At the Chrysler Group, where car sales dropped 14.7% and generated just 29% of the company’s February sales volume, the Ram Pickup range’s 28.4% improvement was more than welcome. And it was also expected. Over the eleven months leading up to February, the average year-over-year Ram P/U sales increase weighed in at 25.5%. From 16.3% in February 2013, Ram’s share of the full-size truck market (extinguished Escalade EXT and Avalanche excluded) rose to 20.2% in February 2014.

Often mocked for its inability to crank out sales like the top-selling Detroit trucks, the Toyota Tundra continues to be a somewhat popular vehicle by conventional automobile standards. Through the first two months of 2014, it ranks 41st among all vehicles in total U.S. sales, having ended 2013 as America’s 43rd-best-selling vehicle. Tundra sales have increased in each of the last five months, but the current pace won’t have Toyota matching 2007’s high-water mark. Toyota could easily sell more than 120,000 Tundras in 2014 – 196,555 were sold in 2007.

Analyzing the Nissan Titan’s market penetration as it begins its eleventh full year without any meaningful refresh is like studying the merits of a veteran linebacker’s knack for sacking in the twilight of his career. The Titan has for the most part become irrelevant, a fact which won’t make the reintroduction process an easy one when the new Titan arrives. Titan sales reached their peak in 2005 at 86,945 units, fell below 20,000 units four years later, and totalled just 15,691 in 2013. Titan volume is down 33.8% this year and February market share in the category fell below 1%.

From a market share-losing perspective, the Chevrolet Silverado’s decline was worse. (Obviously, the Silverado is America’s second-best-selling vehicle. The Titan is not.) 29.2% of the segment’s sales were Silverado-derived at this time last year, but last month, that figure fell to 25.2%. GMC Sierra market share declined by only a hair, from 9.9% in February 2013 to 9.8% last month.

As a whole, the pickup truck segment generated 11% of its February 2014 sales with small/midsize trucks, on par with results from the equivalent period one year earlier. Thank the Nissan Frontier. Sales of the Titan’s little brother shot up 112% to 5791 units.

TruckFeb.2014Feb.2013%Change2 mos.20142 mos.2013%ChangeFord F-Series55,88254,589+ 2.6%102,418101,330+ 1.1%Chevrolet Silverado36,58441,643– 12.1%65,51077,088– 15.0%Ram P/U29,30323,289+ 25.8%54,37443,763+ 24.2%GMC Sierra14,23214,133+ 0.7%25,35026,979– 6.0%Toyota Tundra79237306+ 8.4%15,81314,310+ 10.5%Nissan Titan11171634– 31.6%20043028– 33.8%—— —————Total 145,041142,494 + 1.8%265,469 266,498 – 0.4%TruckFeb.2014ShareFeb.2013Share2 mos. 2014 Share2 mos. 2013ShareFord F-Series38.5%38.2%38.6%38.0%Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra35.0%39.1%34.2%39.0%Ram P/U20.2%16.3%20.5%16.4%Toyota Tundra5.5%5.1%6.0%5.4%Nissan Titan0.8%1.1%0.8%1.1%—————Full-Size Share Of Total Pickup Truck Market89.0%87.6%88.7%87.2%Full-Size Pickup Share Of Total Industry12.2%11.9%12.0%11.9%
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2 of 58 comments
  • Pch101 Pch101 on Mar 11, 2014

    To summarize: For every ten sales that GM has lost YTD, Ford has gained one and Chrysler has gained eight. It should be obvious what this means.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Mar 11, 2014

    GM did a half assed job on the Silverado/Sierra. GM only improved on what GM had on offer. GM hasn't produced a truck to be competitive against the Fiat Ram and F Series. GM did a half assed job with the global Colorado. GM only improved on the previous Izuzu based truck. Ford/Mazda and EVEN VW produces better pickups than GM in the midsize market. GM has realised this with the Colorado and has hopefully rectified the problem for the US variant. What caused this to occur, a lack of money.

  • Tim Healey Lol it's simply that VWVortex is fertile ground for interesting used cars!
  • Jalop1991 I say, install gun racks.Let the games begin!
  • EBFlex For those keeping track, Ford is up to 24 recalls this year and is still leading the industry. But hey, they just build some Super Dutys that are error free. Ford even sent out a self congratulatory press release saying they built Super Duty’s with zero defects. What an accomplishment!
  • Norman Stansfield This is what you get when you run races to keep the cars bunched together for more excitement. F1 doesn't seem to have this problem after the first few laps.
  • SCE to AUX Too many cars = more wrecks. With today's speeds on essentially the same old track, starting with half the cars could reduce the congestion at the end. Or maybe it would increase the problem because the herd wouldn't thin early on.I say no overtime - finish at 500 miles and no more.