By on November 25, 2014

2015 Chevrolet ColoradoU.S. sales of small/midsize/non-full-size pickup trucks jumped 19.4% in October 2014, a gain of 3672 units compared with October 2013.

Sales of the Toyota Tacoma were up 5%. Nissan Frontier sales shot up 25%. Not surprisingly, the slowly disappearing Honda Ridgeline was down 35%. GM’s new pickup trucks contributed an extra 2158 sales. Even without those additional Colorados and Canyons, the category would have risen 8% despite the Ridgeline’s sharp but relatively inconsequential decline.

With those extra GM truck sales, these not exactly small pickups accounted for 11.2% of the overall pickup truck market in October 2014, up from 10.3% a year ago. Overall, pickup truck sales were up 10% in October and have grown 5% this year. We covered the full-size portion of the category earlier this month.

We know that the launch of the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will reveal far greater sales figures over the coming months. They will steal market share. Indeed, they already have. At this early stage, however, they haven’t stolen sales – or at least not a sufficient number of sales to slow YOY growth – from the Tacoma and Frontier, as both of those older established pickup trucks posted meaningful gains in October.

The Tacoma’s share of this pickup truck sub-segment fell from 65.5% to 57.7% in October. The Frontier’s share grew from 27.8% to 29.1%.

Heading into November, Automotive News reports that GM dealers had 4300 Colorados in stock and 1800 Canyons, plus 274,000 Silverados and Sierras. Clearly then, we’ll be waiting a while if, in fact, it’s possible for us to ever see Tacoma and Frontier-beating numbers from these trucks.

Auto
October
2014
October
2013
%
Change
10 mos.
2014
10 mos.
2013
%
Change
Toyota Tacoma
13,010 12,351 5.3% 127,739 134,123 -4.8%
Nissan Frontier
6,568 5,242 25.3% 61,931 51,423 20.4%
Chevrolet Colorado
1,491 29 5,041% 1,600 3,404 -53.0%
Honda Ridgeline
802 1,239 -35.3% 12,373 14,807 -16.4%
GMC Canyon
667 5 13,240% 683 923 -26.0%
Suzuki Equator
448 -100%
Total
22,538
18,866 19.5% 204,326 205,128 -0.4%

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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38 Comments on “Small/Midsize Truck Sales Up 19% In October 2014...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    We tried to tell Ford, but would they listen? NO!

    “Not surprisingly, the slowly disappearing Honda Ridgeline was down 35%”

    Because, Crossover, not truck

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    That 13,240% rise for the GMC Canyon is pretty impressive.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So does this mean the terrorists -by which I mean the small truck jihad- win?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Not until we bring Ford to their knees and make them give us the Frontier, Ranger and Troller

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        It’s possible, but I believe last time we had this discussion it came out the same way. Homogenization for US markets would mean they would have to sell a considerable number and therefore make it unprofitable compared to just leaving 20K units on the table when 5K units of F-150 will make the same money.

        It’s not market serving, it’s profit margins. This is basic economic theory where stable markets and monopolized players simply do not bend to niche markets unless there is incentive to.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Well, if the car companies were like Apple, they would have just three specific models with a number of trim levels. Instead, they all have dozens of different models trying to appeal to all customer markets–and leaving one massive hole that has customers BEGGING to have a model fit that hole.

    • 0 avatar

      Inevitably they will.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Just don’t mention Gallus gallus domesticus.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        All kidding aside this is interesting. Traditionally falling fuel prices precipitate a shift towards larger vehicles.
        I can see Frontier stealing Tacoma market share. If one is going to buy an outdated pickup then one might as well buy the cheapest one (as per DenverMike’s cheapskate theory).

        I’ve only seen 1 new Colorado and 1 new Canyon. The Canyon at first glance reminded me of the Ridgeline snout. Second look had “mini-me” Sierra all over it.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The last time we saw fuel prices fall by 20% or so, the rebound was more than double. Now’s the time to get rid of that gas hog while the market is high, because I’m betting by this time next year the national average for the US will be over $4/gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        spam bots at it again. I lost my “serious” post. I’ll wait to see if it miraculously appears.

        • 0 avatar

          Will await!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            lets try this again. I’ll reword it just in case i said something really offensive…

            These sales are interesting but are too early to tell if the Colorado/Canyon s!blings have any affect on the market place.

            The odd thing is that when fuel prices drop we tend to see a migration towards larger vehicles.

            I can see Frontier stealing Tacoma sales because if someone is going to spend money buying an old outdated platform they might as well buy the cheapest old outdated platform. (That does fit DenverMike’s cheapskate hypothesis).

  • avatar
    multicam

    I see it here in Hawaii… Well based on the number of Tacomas of all years tooling around here I guess this place is an anomaly. Space is a premium here.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’m going to be patient. Meanwhile, I’ve sold my Road Whale of an F-150… Finally!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a new Ridgeline – didn’t Honda commit to that already?

    Also, the uptick in the line at the rear door on the Colorado still bothers me. I can’t get past how cheap it looks. The matte b-pillar trim doesn’t work for me either.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Ridgeline has always been a “chic” trucklet even though many ladies in my area use them like a real truck to haul and tow just like a real truck.

      It’s not unusual to see a lady hauling hay and feed in the bed of her Ridge while hauling a one-horse trailer behind it.

      That said, sales have been disappointing for Honda, especially when compared to those of the Tacoma and Frontier.

      Regardless, this is an excellent time to buy that new car, truck or trucklet. The next two years promise cheap financing, easy money, political stability, a do-nothing Congress, and an impotent administration.

      Best times in a long, long while for new car buying.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The Tacoma gave up its advantage over the Frontier, when Toyota killed off the regular cab Taco, and the heavily advert!sed $14,995 loss leader (one at this price).

    The Frontier is much better priced than the Tacoma anyways, extra cab to extra cab (Access Cab vs King Cab) and Crew cab to Crew cab.

    The Frontier is probably a better truck too. So watch it further cannibalize the Tacoma.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I know several people who currently own an older midsize truck who are waiting for the new, updated Tacoma to come out (probably for 2016 Model Year).

      For whatever reason, these buyers are not swayed by the intro of the new GM midsizers. Maybe that is because they did own GM in the past, and switched.

      But if the Frontier was such a great truck, it should have been the best-seller in this class, like the Tacoma is.

      A stock 4-door 4×4 V6 Tacoma SR5 on 31″ tires is not only a delightful sight to behold, but it is also an erotic joy to drive both on and off road. My youngest son has one and he prefers it over the Border Patrol 4×4 Tahoe he was issued.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I’m betting that the Frontier is taking off because the double-C twins are too big. Meanwhile, on taking a test drive (and test fitting) of the Tacoma, there’s a lot to be said about it, but the driver is simply too crowded even in the extended cab version. I’m sorry, but some people NEED leg room and the driver’s seat of the Tacoma simply doesn’t move far enough back to making sitting and driving comfortable. As for the Frontier, I’m not a fan of the looks of the interior, but at least it sits comfortably.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Vulpine, I highly recommend the Tundra DoubleCab for leg room, even the V6 version. Plenty of room for not a whole lot of money!

          Secondly, if Toyota fails to tickle your fancy, the Ford F150 SuperCab 3.7 V6 will be a great match, IF you don’t prefer a 4-door. The XLT is competitively priced if you can find one.

          Both can be had for under $30K, certainly less than any SR5 Tacoma.

          I am becoming increasingly more anticipatory about trading my 2011 Tundra 5.7 DC LB 2WD for a CrewMax 4X4 Tundra 5.7. I am becoming increasingly more fond of the 4-door pickup truck, ever since we got the 2015 Sequoia.

          Love those four BIG doors!

          My new truck doesn’t have to be trimmed with the top level trim, just the stuff that I need. Most of the crap that came with our Sequoia we’ll never use, just like we never used the excess that came with our 2012 Grand Cherokee Overland Summit.

          BTW, there is a way to move the driver-seat mounts further back so the driver seat gives more leg room. A brother-in-law of the wife is 6’5″ and weighs 340lbs and that’s what he had the dealership do on his “older” Tacoma 4-door 4X4. He’s had it for many years. Goes hunting and fishing in it with his buds in Idaho and Colorado all the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Hmmm… Now let us see here…

            If the Canyon/Colorado is too big for me, then why would I choose a BIGGER truck when what I want is something smaller? That’s not logical.

            It’s not the price that’s the sticking point for me, it’s the bloomin’ overall SIZE of a full-sized truck. I just sold my 1990 F-150 XLT Lariat because it was too big–mostly in width but also in length. A pickup truck based on the JK Wrangler (or its next-gen replacement) would still be narrower than that old F-150, not even mentioning the newer ones.

            But what I’m really hoping for is something significantly smaller–a 75% full-size instead of a 90% full-size. If one of those come out in the next few years, I’ll be quite tempted to finally buy another NEW truck.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ” why would I choose a BIGGER truck when what I want is something smaller?”

            I commented based on your previous statement, ” some people NEED leg room and the driver’s seat of the Tacoma simply doesn’t move far enough back to making sitting and driving comfortable. ”

            If the Tacoma’s size is acceptable, then moving the driver seat mounts back a few inches may be the best all around solution for you, (today).

            When Ford dropped the Ranger in the US they must have reasoned that there was no profitable market for a truck of that size.

            A lot of Ranger fans were disappointed and some ultimately switched to Tacoma. Among them my wife’s 6’5″ 340lb brother-in-law.

            Even ’94 and up Colorado/Canyon trucks were discontinued because GM reasoned there was no profitable market for them either.

            The new GM midsizers of today are roughly the size of the old Dakota, and yet even the Dakota was discontinued.

            It is always possible that something becomes available that matches your wants and needs.

            But I cannot imagine not having a truck in my household, and I basically have had to scale up as the years progressed. I went with the flow.

            You may recall that my very first truck I bought myself was an old 4-dr IHC Air Force flightline truck and that worked great for everything I needed in a truck, for many years.

            The first new truck I bought was that 1988 Silverado ExtCab Long Bed. Today’s trucks, including my 2011 Tundra DC LB, are even bigger than that one was.

            Hell, my last truck may very well be an F250 4-dr 4×4 long bed if Toyota drops the Tundra 5.7 in 2016.

            And since I have seriously cut back on working, towing and hauling since I turned 68, that would be overkill — even for me.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    With GMC offering a 20% straight up cash rebate from the factory on certain Sierra pickups, plus whatever you can beat the dealer up for, the Canyon is going to be a tough sell for the time being. Especially if you’re looking at a loaded up Canyon versus a moderately equipped Sierra.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That sort of assumes the conclusion — that people would rather have raw size than amenities.

      The most difficult comparison isn’t loaded Canyon to “value equipped” Sierra, it’s stripper to stripper. There will be plenty of market for loaded $35k compact trucks when the equivalently equipped full-sizer is over $50k.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Ahh, you’re missing my point.

        A loaded Sierra is a Denali, and you’re getting close to Cadillac amenities now.

        A moderately equipped Sierra is quite, loaded, even over say a “moderately” equipped Silverado. Sierra is by its nature more upscale out of the gate.

        The Canyon doesn’t have many of the key near luxury, luxury, and creature comfort options that you have on the Sierra tick sheet.

        A “moderately equipped” Sierra is going to be close to a “loaded” Canyon.

        I’m not comparing a cloth bench seat stripper to leather in my post above.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The price differential between a ‘moderately loaded’ Sierra and a fully-loaded Canyon will still be enough to at least cause the buyer to stop and think about it first.

          Me? No question. I wouldn’t buy either of them because they’re both too big for my needs and wants. FAR too big.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Now when there is 20% cash rebate on the hood of Sierras.

            Lets say you’re looking at a Sierra with a sticker of $48K and it is in the rebate program.

            That’s $9,600 factory to dealer incentive right off the top.

            Now we’re down to $38,400.

            Lets say you beat the dealer up for 4%. Just 4%. Rounded math, that’s another $2,000.

            $36,400 now.

            That’s a lot of truck for Canyon money.

            That’s my point – it’s a temporary problem as long as GM doesn’t extend the 20% off rebate on certain GMC Sierra trucks.

            If I could remotely justify a new car purchase right now, I would have a Regal already sitting in my driveway.

            If GM was including the Enclave and Encore in the 20% rebate program, the other half’s Subbie might very well be gone right now.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “That’s a lot of truck for Canyon money.”

            Yup. Too much truck. Sure, it may be cheaper, but if I can’t take it where I want to drive comfortably, then it’s simply too big for my needs.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “…if I can’t take it where I want to drive comfortably, then…”

            Where’s that? Sherwood Forest??

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Ever been in downtown Annapolis during an Army-Navy game?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The figure is interesting, but I don’t think it’s really substantial….yet.

    If the Colorado/Canyon sales are significant and Toyota and Nissan can maintain their current sales, then I do believe there will be some permanence to the increased numbers.

    Since we have a much freer vehicle market in Australia I do predict some trends in the more controlled US pickup market.

    Toyota and Nissan had maintained numbers here in Australia with the Hilux and Navara sales. The Mitsubishi Triton also held onto their sales numbers.

    This was achieved via heavy discounting by them when the much more refined Amarok, Ranger and BT50 arrived. As platforms go I do think the Ranger/BT50 is rivaling the Toyota Hilux in numbers.

    Our Colorado here was sort of a flop because it didn’t offer any of the gains in refinement that the VW, Ford/Mazda offered.

    So, what I see in the US is Nissan and Toyota discounting their mid sizers to take on the much more refined Colorado/Canyon, which with the current “protected” market makes it harder for any new competition to enter into the US market.

    I do see the a significant increase in US midsizers coming up. I will predict judging by our figures at least a 25% to 50% increase in sales numbers.

    With the highly refined Colorado now the US pickup owner can choose between a very large vehicle and a large vehicle with very similar levels of comfort and performance. The only benefit is the mid sizer will offer better FE in real life. It doesn’t have to accelerate an extra 1 000lbs of weight.

    Also, cost will play a role as full size trucks increase in cost.

    Another aspect of mid size pickups I see is a rapid increase in the average transaction price in the US as more people buy these (Colorado/Canyon) as a full size alternative.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAFO – Weren’t you the one that said aluminum trucks were going to cost more than mere mortals could afford? But without all this “protection”, could the Tacoma, Frontier, Colorado/Canyon, Ridgeline, Tundra and Titan even exist???

  • avatar
    turf3

    Wait, what about all those people who keep saying people won’t buy small trucks?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      In my case, I’m waiting for a still smaller truck.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Congrats on selling your old F-150. Now what? Wait for forever for ’80s mini-trucks to be made again?

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Nope. Wait a couple years for the NEW versions to arrive. Personally, with all the little events we’ve been reading about lately, it seems those Central/South American small trucks may at least make a try for the US market.

          Meanwhile, I’m still expecting the opportunity to snag my step-father’s low-mileage ’94 Ranger. He just doesn’t want to give it up yet.

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