By on January 8, 2015

2015 Chevrolet ColoradoGeneral Motors’ U.S. market share in the small/midsize truck category grew in December 2014 to 21.1% from 13.9% in November. According to inventory statistics from Automotive News, GM dealers had approximately 9400 Chevrolet Colorados and GMC Canyons in stock at the beginning of December.


• Tacoma and Frontier rising

• GM earning market share

• Small/midsize trucks account for 1/10 pickup sales


Yet a booming auto industry and a surging pickup market meant that even with this new level of competition from the GM midsize pickups, widely regarded as the modern members of the class, the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier each posted 12% year-over-year improvements in December.

Naturally, the arrival of competition that didn’t exist a year before brought down their market share, but the Tacoma added 1523 sales; the Frontier another 649.

Although the Colorado and Canyon arrived in numbers at the beginning of the fourth-quarter, we’ve yet to see their full impact. Toyota appears inclined to rest on their laurels – and their profit-building platform – with their refresh of the Tacoma which TTAC displayed last night.

December 2014 U.S. truck market share chartThe current Ridgeline is fading fast. Nissan has gone back and forth on future Frontier plans, but we do know we can expect something new in the not too distant future.

But we’re also approaching the slowest buying season of the year (consumers typically purchase and lease 25% fewer new vehicles in January than they did at the end of the previous year) which could hinder our ability to see how much progress the Colorado and Canyon are making.

Small/Midsize Truck
Dec. 2014
Dec. 2013
%
Change
2014
2013
%
Change
Toyota Tacoma
14,284 12,761 11.9% 155,041 159,485 -2.8%
Nissan Frontier
6,060 5,411 12.0% 74,323 62,837 18.3%
Chevrolet Colorado
4,037 2 201,750% 8,003 3,412 135%
GMC Canyon
1,533 2 76,550% 3,070 929 230%
Honda Ridgeline
481 1,563 -69.2% 13,389 17,723 -24.5%
Suzuki Equator
448 -100%
Total
26,395 19,739 33.7% 253,826 244,834 3.7%

Non-full-size trucks accounted for 11.3% of the overall pickup market in 2013, a figure which fell to 10.9% in calendar year 2014. Results at the end of the year didn’t tell a significantly altered story, as these five pickups combined to generate just 11.1% of the U.S. auto industry’s pickup volume.

The reason? While the small/midsize trucks combined for a 34% year-over-year improvement, sales of three major full-size pickups – Silverado, Ram, Sierra – jumped 34%, as well, driving the full-size market to a 211,000-unit total.

Will 2015 be any different?

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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30 Comments on “Cain’s Segments: Small/Midsize Truck Sales In December And 2014...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Isn’t Colorado/Canyon inventory still ramping?

    When you consider configurations and the number of Chevy and GMC dealers in the country, 9,400 units sitting on lots isn’t going to give buyers a lot of options.

    I’m sure there are some pockets where those numbers are more concentrated, and other dealers who may just have one unit sitting around.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    It’ll be interesting to see how buyers respond to the new Toyota when the next gen Tacoma hits the market. It makes the new Colorado/Canyon trucks look downright refined and restrained.

    I’m glad to see the GM twins moving some metal.

    It’ll be an uphill battle for this segment in light of current oil/gas prices. These aren’t “small” pickup trucks by any stretch of the word any more.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      The Colorado/Canyon with a V6 and six speed auto are showing up at around 20 MPG over at fuelly.com for mixed 50% City/Highway use.

      That’s not much of an improvement over full-sized trucks in real world figures. The good news is that the V6 gets about 18 MPG city – which ain’t the worst that I’ve seen.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    I am eager for an actual TTAC review of the colorado, the magazines cant contain their own drool over a product few americans asked for.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      True. IMO The Colorado is just an awesome looking truck. What engine? V6? Manual avail?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m curious too. I’m uncomfortable in Tacoma’s low cab and the “new” generation seems not doing anything for that. The GM trucks, however, do.

      • 0 avatar
        agroal

        Pete: I’m on my 2nd Tacoma. First one was a 2000 4 cyl, 5spd, 4X4 Xtra-Cab. My current one is a 2011 identically optioned. I still don’t get low seating gripe. I sat in a friend’s Frontier while he sat in mine. We came to the agreement that the Tacoma has more ground clearance, a higher truck. So maybe the floor is a little higher. Certainly no deal breaker for me. Same as back in 2004 Toyota is releasing it’s new mid-size shortly after GM released theirs. The new styling is an evolution of the current one. But if history repeats, the Toyota will have far better interior materials and fit & finish. The Tacoma’s bullet-proof reliability and insanely high resale values are what GM hopes to cultivate. It takes decades. 2016 Tacoma: http://www.caranddriver.com/flipbook/this-is-it-2016-toyota-tacoma-pickup

  • avatar
    insalted42

    The gas price fluctuation could be a huge boon for Small/Midsize Pickups. Those forced to give up their Silverado 2500s for something more gas efficient between 2009 and 2012 are happy they can afford to drive a truck again, but they’re still haunted by the still-fresh memories of $4/gallon gas and $150 fillups, so instead of buying another full-size pickup they’ll go for a smaller and slightly more efficient pickup because we associate “smaller” with “more efficient,”especially when it comes to cars…and perception is king.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Wrong, most people have incredibly short memories about gas prices. These smaller trucks will struggle to sell. Which is sad because I think they are “right”-sized. Full size trucks are already seeing gains due to low gas prices.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        No one is going from a 2500 to a Midsize.

        Most of those who have an HD need it’s capabilities, not 24/7 mind you.

        I have yet to see a Colorado or Canyon on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      AoLetsGo

      If you don’t need all the power of a full size this could be the “right” size and right price for some people. The 2.5 manual is rated at 27 mpg highway not bad considering my smaller 2006 Canyon reg cab 4 banger manual could only get 24.5 on the highway.

  • avatar
    insalted42

    Also: I legitimately did not know the Suzuki Equator was a thing…ever. I’d be embarassed to say that here, but its a Suzuki.

  • avatar
    challenger2012

    I am not a truck guy, so I have ask those who are concerning the Suzuki Equator. I saw 1 of these in my life. Were they any good or were they forgettable, much like most of what Suzuki produced?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It’s a rebadged Frontier.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The Equator was just a rebadged Frontier, so it is as good or bad as that.

    • 0 avatar
      CreepyMayne

      My dad was ready to replace his 2001 Mazda B3000 that he uses for his remodeling business. The truck served him well for over 10 years and over 100k miles, barely any issues, but it was at the point where it needed the front end rebuilt, the a/c fixed, brakes, etc… He doesn’t need a full size pickup, so we started scouring the market for Frontiers. They were all way overpriced in the used market, so I searched for an Equator, we found one at a small town Ford dealer about 100 miles south of Chicago, 2012, 7k miles, beautiful silver color, that the dealer marked down to $11k. Dealer said someone bought at as a daily driver and traded it in for a sedan. We hope to get as much life out of it as our orphan Ranger lol. Hit them where they ain’t!

      • 0 avatar
        CreepyMayne

        Anyway, my dad went out and brought it home the next day. We got $3500 trade in for the Mazda, I was surprised. What I was was really surprised about is that no one bought it earlier, dealer said it was sitting for a while and that they slashed the price multiple times. I found the original window sticker in the glovebox showing $19,xxx. If you search on cars.com there are plenty of Frontiers, but like 5 Equators. The price difference was astonoshing for an identical truck.

        • 0 avatar
          igve2shtz

          That is how I ended up with my 96 Mazda B4000. I wanted a compact truck, V6, 4×4, extra cab for cheap. Toyota Tacomas were over $8000 for 100k+ miles. Rangers were around $6-7000 with 100k miles. Did a quick search for the Mazda B4000 …. $5k, 35,000 original miles. Ad was on craigslist for weeks. Everyone looks for the Tacoma/Ranger/Frontier. No one really thinks of the B4000/Raider/Equator.

    • 0 avatar

      It really is a factor of locality. I see Mitsubishi Raiders everywhere, while some B&Bs claimed never seen one in person. I think I saw an Equator once, in Arizona.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Ha, I saw an Equator on my way to work this morning. It is literally just a Frontier with a different badge on the grille. If you don’t see it head-on or get close enough to read the tailgate, no one would ever know.

    • 0 avatar
      agroal

      So you’re the one who saw it.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I really like the Colorado but this will always be a lifestyle truck for those urban dwellers with jet-skies, Home Depot projects and mild off-road adventures.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      Why is it a lifestyle truck only? Isn’t it essentially the same size (if not bigger) than a full-sized truck from 20 years ago? Those trucks served carpenters, painters, landscapers, and urban cowboys just fine back then. It seems the big trucks have grown a lot.

      My neighbor is a full-time carpenter and his truck of choice has been a 4-cylinder 5-speed 2wd Tacoma for years. It carries wood and tools just fine while not costing him a fortune. It seems most of the full-sized trucks I see on the road are little more than “lifestyle” statements anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        Its a lifestyle truck as it rides well, gets good mileage in town for commuting and is small enough to fit in most normal parking spaces. Perfect for folks who like trucks and use it as their primary vehicle.

        However, it is no cheaper to own or run than the full size equivalent and so most working folk will pick the full size model. Of course bro-dozer aficionados will deem the Colorado to be too small and feminine :)

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Because it lacks a full 8′ bed option. So yeah it about the same size as an older full size but that full size had an 8′ bed.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    Bed is way too tall… Make the tailgate slide out if you need longer length. the little rear window is horrible and the over all package is just goofy especially with how unlevel the truck is…

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