By on February 10, 2015

Midsize truck sales chart January 2015Although General Motors’ full-size truck twins failed to outsell the Ford F-Series in January 2015, GM still came out on top as the best-selling truck manufacturer in America last month.

In the previous five months, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra had accomplished this feat on their own, outselling the F-Series by 939 units in August 2014, 7076 in September, 2120 in October, 6294 in November, and 6918 units in December 2014. (The F-Series outsold the Silverado/Sierra by 12,263 units in calendar year 2014 and the total GM pickup truck family by 1045 units.)


• Colorado/Canyon sales steadily rising

• 14 of GM pickup sales generated by midsize trucks

• Still not approaching historic levels


Fast forward to January, when pickup truck volume jumped 22% year-over-year and the F-Series’ core F-150 line became more available in new aluminum-intensive form, and GM’s bigger set of twins fell 5643 sales short of overtaking the F-Series for a sixth consecutive month. But viewed as a full-line pickup truck manufacturer, GM’s 42% YOY improvement to nearly 57,000 sales was more than enough to fend off Ranger-less Ford.

That oranges-to-clementines comparison is hardly the point, however. Rather, the significant story is that GM’s midsize trucks – their big small trucks – made a significant difference to GM’s total monthly sales output last month. Including the Colorado and Canyon, GM sales jumped 18.3% to 202,786. Without them, GM sales were up 13.5% to 194,639, slightly behind the growth rate of the overall industry.

In their previous best month, December, the new versions of the Colorado and Canyon accounted for just 2% of GM’s U.S. volume. That figure doubled to 4% in January, of far greater value (on volume terms) than the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark (3.3%), Cadillac’s cars (2.7%), commercial vans (2.8%), or the Aussie-import SS and Caprice (0.1%).

We previously established that the trucks earned 31.8% of the small/midsize truck segment, a category dominated by the Toyota Tacoma. That compares unfavourably with the 34.6% market share GM earned in the full-size truck segment last month. But the smaller twins are still making headway, with the new Chevrolet Colorado overtaking the Nissan Frontier for the first time in January and the new GMC Canyon topping the 2K mark for the first time.

2015 Chevrolet ColoradoBack to their impact at General Motors specifically, the Colorado and Canyon generated 14.3% of the company’s pickup truck sales in January; 5.9% of GM’s overall light truck volume. Those are huge increases from the 6.4% pickup truck share and 2.9% light truck share that GM’s new midsize trucks earned in the GM U.S. realm in December and the 4.7% and 2.2% figures the pickups put up in November.

Therefore, we’ve likely not seen the full range of their capability when it comes to attracting U.S. pickup truck buyers. But what kind of tidal change is required for these trucks to return to the levels achieved a decade ago? Chevrolet sold 128,359 Colorados in the United States in 2005, or approximately 10,700 per month. Canyon volume was running at nearly 3000 monthly sales in 2005.

The difficulty? Matching those sales in a market that has long since shifted to full-size pickups.

The possibilities? GM’s trucks aren’t competing with the Ranger, Dakota, Raider, Equator, B-Series, or Isuzu i-Series trucks, pickups which produced 7.2% of the total pickup truck category’s volume in 2005 and fully one-third of small/midsize truck sales that year.

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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9 Comments on “New Colorado And Canyon Are Now Worthwhile Parts Of GM’s U.S. Lineup...”


  • avatar
    Ion

    I feel like in terms of data we jump to conclusions real quickly these days. I understand this segment is a source of heated debate so I won’t discount it as a niche. but I’ve seen cars like for example the BRZ/FRS,SKY/Solstice and TLX championed as leaders if their segments based on first month sales alone. The latter two fizzled out months later. We should take at least two quarters worth of sales before we champion anything as success these days.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    These Tacomas they’re selling so many of – where do they go? I very rarely see a new one, most of them are the circa 02-05 version. Always being driven slowly by an old dude, and almost always with a cap on the back.

    Are old dudes saving them to drive around while most people are at work, having their own little Tacoma party?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I kind of have to agree – I see TONS of old Tacos running around but I don’t see a lot of new ones. Nissan Frontiers are rare birds around here also. I have yet to see a Colorado/Canyon in the wild.

      I’m going to conclude that the newer midsize pickups just aren’t all that popular in Puget Sound.

      Here is a weird one – there are a TON of Chevrolet Avalanches around here. I can’t believe how many I see of them around here.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      Texas… they are all in Texas… Definitely notice the new headlight style and about 50% of the Tacos here are the newest generation…

  • avatar
    geozinger

    It’s interesting to see that the Canorado has made such a big splash in a short time. Time will tell if this is sustainable or if the 35 people who *really* wanted a mid sized truck other than a Taco have already bought their truck for the decade…

    Regardless, I was at a smaller car show in Michigan this past weekend. The two cars at the Chevy display (besides the Vette) with the most traffic were the Trax and the Colorado. I don’t know if this is just the beginning of a trend or not, but it does seem promising.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      My best friend currently has a ’93 S-10 ExtCab. He told me the new Canyon/Colorado are just too rich for his blood, and up there in price with the Tacoma.

      There are a number of people who currently own an old-version Colorado or Canyon that will eventually need to be replaced, so the market is out there.

      But were I in the market for a midsize pickup truck, I would go with the majority buyers and upgrade to the 2016 Tacoma, based on that it is a further improvement on the best-selling midsize truck in America.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    “GM’s trucks aren’t competing with the Ranger, Dakota, Raider, Equator, B-Series, or Isuzu i-Series trucks, pickups which produced 7.2% of the total pickup truck category’s volume in 2005 and fully one-third of small/midsize truck sales that year.”

    Exactly. This is why GM jumped back into the segment, because it saw everybody else leave. Who knows how well they will ultimately do. I think the mid-size segment will stagnate, and with the new Honda Ridgeline, and a possible new entry from Ram (Fiat really) it could get even more crowded.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I have seen 5 Colorado/Canyon trucks and all of them were seen on the dealer lot. I do see a large number of Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4×4’s. Most are SR5 or TRD level trim trucks. Most are newer models. Most are driven by younger people in their 20-30’s.
    I do think that pent up demand is driving some sales and so far it appears that these new GM offerings aren’t poaching Tacoma customers.

    Anyone on this board from California? That state is supposed to be the small truck kingdom.

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