By on April 5, 2015

U.S. truck sales chart March 2015The rapid ascent of the new Chevrolet Colorado finally slowed in March 2015 with month-to-month growth amounting to only 58 extra sales. Colorado volume has increased every month since the new truck arrived last fall, from 1491 units in its first full month of October to 6621 units in March.

But even with an overall pickup truck market that was 17% larger in March than in February, Colorado sales grew by just 0.9% during the same period.

Its twin, meanwhile, didn’t sell as often in March as it did in February, sliding from 2513 sales two months ago to 2434 last month.

While we’re not suggesting for a moment that Colorado/Canyon sales are on the downturn – we would need longer-term numbers and year-over-year figures to properly gauge such a trend – it does appear as though demand may not have the potential to grow too far beyond 10,000 units per month.

2015 Chevrolet ColoradoThe best-selling non-full-size truck in America, therefore, continues to be the Toyota Tacoma. March 2015 was the first time Tacoma volume has shot beyond 15,000 units in two years, surging to 15,885 sales and its seventh consecutive year-over-year increase. In other words, the arrival of new GM competitors instantly resulted in steady Tacoma sales growth.

Auto
March 2015
March 2014
%
Change
3 mos.
2015
3 mos.
2014
%
Change
Toyota Tacoma
15,885 14,445 10.0% 39,666 35,229 12.6%
Nissan Frontier
7,128 7,140 -0.2% 19,102 17,862 6.9%
Chevrolet Colorado
6,621 2 330,950% 19,126 17 112,406%
GMC Canyon
2,434 1 243,300% 7,152 2 357,500%
Honda Ridgeline
77 1,538 -95.0% 427 3844 -88.9%
Total
32,145
23,126 39.0%  85,473 56,954 50.1%

The Nissan Frontier also moved back into second spot in the category thanks to the Colorado’s semi-slowdown in March, the first time the Frontier’s slotted in behind the Tacoma since December. Frontier volume decreased by 12 units year-over-year but still totalled 507 units more than the Chevrolet; 1927 fewer than the Chevrolet and GMC combined.

Lost on the outside of the conversation was the defunct first-gen Honda Ridgeline, sales of which tumbled 95% to just 77 units. Excluding the Ridgeline, small/midsize pickup truck sales jumped 49% in March; 60% in the first-quarter of 2015. They account for slightly less than 15% of all pickup truck sales and 2% of all new vehicle sales.

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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45 Comments on “U.S. Small/Midsize Truck Sales In March 2015 YTD: Cain’s Segments...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Any chance we can get a breakdown of how many of those Frontier’s were sold to Enterprise? Their lots are packed with them every airport I go to.

    If that 7k is all retail, then their are 7k pissed off people right now, as the Nissan is a pathetic choice compared to a new Taco or the GM twins.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    The lightest Colorado is about 4000 lb. The lightest Silverado is about 4700 lb.

    The highest mpg Colorado 22 mpg combined. Silverado 20 mpg.

    I don’t see Colorado as that much of an alternative. Is there really a future for the “not as huge” class of pickups?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I believe the key to success of a smaller pickup is to actually make it smaller.

      Business folks love the word “differentiation.” You have to give customers a reason to buy your product. I believe a fundamental premise of a smaller truck is that a sufficient number of people don’t need everything a big truck does. Building a truck that is almost as big, almost as capable is not differentiated in their eyes.

      I think if Hyudai does release their small, unibody truck, and they hit a low price point with good efficiency, they will grab a sizable chunk of the market.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Sure some people would have liked to see the Colorado smaller in size and/or bigger in mpg to differentiate it from the Silverado. That doesn’t mean the Colorado isn’t the right truck combo for some folks (or better looking IMO)

    I’m curious how the Frontier can outsell the Colorado. I’m trying to figure out why somebody would pull the trigger on the Nissan when the new Toyota and GM twins just hitting the market.

    • 0 avatar
      Hezz

      That is an easy one. People buy the Nissan instead of the Toyota or GM because they like the dealer better, or they get a better price, or they have a history with a brand.

      Comparing these things on paper is always very different than the process of actually spending your own money.

      I think the Frontier is the best looking of the three, but I’d go with the Toyota for durability/resale reasons. The GM looks like it was stung by a bee to my eyes, and GM’s cars still strike me as low on material quality when I see them in person.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Hess,
        I don’t know exactly what Nissan is doing with the Frontier in the US, but when these new generation of midsizers hit our shores the big players like Toyota and Nissan went scrambling.

        Toyota blinged the sh!t out of the Hilux and dropped it’s price a few grand. Nissan has dropped the price of the Navara (Frontier) by up to a staggering $10 grand and Mitsubishi now have turbo diesel 4×4 dual cabs for under AUD $30 000 ($22 500USD) driveaway no more to pay. The Mitsubishi’s used to be just over $40 000AUD.

        At the moment with the initial popularity of the Colorado/Canyon and limited production capacity GM will profit well from these.

        We also have the added competition of some Chinese pickups like the Foton Tunland, which is actually not to bad. It has a Cummins, Getrag, BorgWarner, Bosch, etc kit in it. A Cummins powered 4×4 dual cab, in leather, etc on the road is around $25 000AUD or $18 750USD.

        So far these Tunlands appear to be okay and getting better. They are the largest of our pickups as well, a single cab has a bed around 8′ long.

        More competition will force prices down.

    • 0 avatar

      I bet a bunch of the Frontier sales are to fleets. Rental agencies seem to be buying them – someone on one of the car boards I read mentioned getting one as a rental, and I’ve seen some for sale – labeled former rental vehicles – at my local Enterprise car sales.

      The Frontier also seems to have replaced the Ranger as the vehicle of choice to be bought – in white, with steel wheels and plastic fenders – as the cheapest possible transportation for construction companies, cable installers, security guards, and exterminators.

  • avatar
    Prado

    “While we’re not suggesting for a moment that Colorado/Canyon sales are on the downturn – we would need longer-term numbers and year-over-year figures to properly gauge such a trend – it does appear as though demand may not have the potential to grow too far beyond 10,000 units per month.”

    No. What you really need is for GM to have the ability to built more than 10k a month to determine if they could sell more. Right now demand exceeds supply.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The third shift should be online now, so we should see an increased supply in April and May as the new shift ramps us production.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The 3rd shift will also build Savana/Express vans. The Colorado and Canyon need their own assembly line, instead of just piggybacking. Savana/Express vans are experiencing severe order delays.

        The Tacoma has been piggybacking the Tundra assembly line and suffered production constraints and quality issues because of it. Now with Tijuana production of the Tacoma ramping up, production and quality should be up.

        But there must not be enough profit in it to justify a dedicated assembly line for the Colorado/Canyon. At least not in the US.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @DiM,
          It’s good to see you have actually made a factual comment. It makes me wonder why you can’t do this all the time.

          Colorado production can’t really increase above what it currently stands at.

          I do foresee Colorado/Canyon number bumping along as they are.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Big Al from Oz
            You mean Factory comment, I did not realise some of the delays have been attributed to poor shifts at the factory, it is nice to get an insiders view

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @RobertRyan,
            Yeah, the guy is some stooge or thug from the UAW. Why else would he fear the lose of the Chicken Tax and the alignment of the US to all of it’s major trading partners.

            I’d bet he’s one of the ones who will not reduce his high UAW pay to help out his comrades, or as the socialist call them now “friends”.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @RobertRyan,
            I’m surprised TTAC hasn’t gotten onto this great article, penned by Eddie Niedermeyer of (old) TTAC fame from Bloomberg and the issue the UAW are confronted with.

            Interesting piece. It’s amazing how the UAW really screwed up. We’ll greed and a lack of common sense causes this.

            They were nearly apart of collapsing the US auto industry once, I wonder if they can actually achieve it this time round.

            Essentially the overpaid workers on the highest tier will not sacrifice their pay to assist their comrades. The UAW is going into bat for the lowest paid.

            I do know the UAW are treating the guy at places like American Axle poorly. These guys are only on $10ph. P!ss poor I say.

            I suppose to a part of the UAW means to staunchly oppose egalitarianism.

            http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-04-03/showdown-at-the-uaw-corral

    • 0 avatar
      thx_zetec

      “right now demand exceeds supply”

      Generally speaking supply and demand are equal. Dealers get a finite number of vehicles and adjust price to move those vehicles. If supply really exceeded demand you’d see dealers tacking huge extra charges on or people standing in line. I don’t see this.

      I agree that if GM builds more and is willing to charge appropriate price to move them they can move more of them. But in era of 2 dollar gas how many people want to buy a vehicle with 10% better mileage than a Silverado?

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      Mine should be getting built this week. Z71 crew cab 4×4. Unfortunately the Trail Boss isn’t coming to Canada but I may just upfit the tires if I can find someone to take the old (brand new) ones off my hands.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Current cash incentives:

    Canyon/Colorado: $750
    Frontier: $500
    Tacoma: $0

    GM is obviously making an effort to push this thing. Once the pent-up demand has burned off, sales should be modest ala the Frontier.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There’s nothing like GM competition to make people realize how great the Tacoma has been all these years.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Psych101,
      I do think you are incorrect with your numbers. This appears to be a continual issue with you.

      Colorado, March 2015, $500.

      2015 (Al) F-150, March 2015, $750.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Edmunds says $750 on the Colorado until 9/30/15

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Edmunds is indeed one of the more credible sources for incentive and rebate information.

          Why this Aussie high school dropout follows me around providing “facts” that are never true is beyond me. He’s too dumb to realize that I don’t even read what he posts, since the only thing that he provides are examples of how dumb he is.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @CJinSD,
          It appears GM/Chev and this site have a different view.

          Chev actually states there are no deals.

          http://www.kbb.com/chevrolet/colorado-crew-cab/2015-chevrolet-colorado-crew-cab/work-truck-rebates_and_incentives/?r=709129319512018700

          http://www.chevrolet.com/current-deals.html?x-zipcode=08204&x-bodystyle=colorado&x-carline=colorado&x-year=2015

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Incentives are regional.

            You can’t expect an Australian to know what a ZIP code is, any more than you or I know the intricacies of sheep stations or the technicolor yawn.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Dan,
            Have a look at the Chevrolet link.

            Doh!

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            $750 Bonus if your a USSA member. Of course good luck finding anything even remotely close to the truck you want. The pickings are pretty slim.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    The 1965 Chevy C10 was built with ancient technology and crude materials with large safety margins. It was designed by engineers smoking un-filtered cigarettes, drinking percolated coffee, wearing pocket protectors, and using a slide-rule at best. It weighed 3200 lb.

    The 2015 Chevy Colorado is build with high-tech, advanced material, new manufacturing processes, and with advanced statistical control. It was design by engineers drinking gourmet free trade coffee, and using advanced FEA and CAD code running on super computers. It weighs 4000 lb.

    No wonder we can’t go to the moon anymore, the rocket would be too heavy.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @thx_zetec,
      You can’t go to the moon anymore because of costs.

      It has nothing to do with the weight of pickup trucks.

      Or, do you think they take pickup trucks on rockets to the moon to drive around and the added weight on the new pickups makes it not viable?

      A little confused, today?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I did a quick piece of research.

    1. The Colorado is sitting on the lots for a shorter period overall than any other brand/model. I do know someone will state that the F-150 is not sitting on the lots that long as well. But the fact remains the Colorado is overall the shortest.

    2. 41% of all new Colorado buyers are buying a Colorado instead of a full size. This supports my argument further that the Colorado/Canyon is considered by some to be a full size 1/2 ton alternative.

    3. The Colorado is offering least in rebates. This sort of matches, time sitting on the lot and production capacity.

    It’s good to see how successful the Colorado is in the US, it’s growth has quickly maxed out production. Here in Australia when the new breed of midsizers came onto our markets back in 2010 onwards, their takeup was rather slow.

    Toyota with the Hilux, the Navara and Mitsubishi Triton did maintain their standings quite well. Toyota was forced to have realistic pricing, the Navara and Triton dropped in prices by up to $10 000AUD ($7 500USD) overnight.

    4-5 years on and the Hilux is still the biggest seller. The Navara and Triton (which share the same assembly line) are still selling well, due to excellent pricing. It will add the Ranger/BT50 twins do outsell the Hilux.

    The Ranger, BT50, Amarok do command the highest prices overall for our pickups. Toyota is up there, but it doesn’t have the vehicle to dictate a higher price, as this will make it uncompetitive.

    The US will be the same. The take up of the new Colorado/Canyon will not appear magically overnight. The Frontier will also chip away as well.

    You can understand why the take up is slow, by just reading some of the more useless comments regarding them on TTAC and other sites. It’s the same here. People are passing judgment on past experiences.

    • 0 avatar
      thx_zetec

      BAFO

      If we compare Australia to US one factor is fuel price. I see Australia 3.80 $/gallon and US 2.10. So I think fuel price is one factor favoring giant pickups over “mid size”. Adoption in US might not be as great as in Australia.

      I base Aussi fuel price on 1.34 AD/liter, 0.76 AD/USA and 1 liter = 0.264 gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Tic_Zhit,
        Actually learn a little more about the vehicle market. Did you know the Aussie vehicle market is used as a litmus for many global markets.

        As for the price of fuel, look at it from a slightly different perspective. In the US a US gallon of fuel costs roughly 2.6% of average weekly earnings, in Australia it’s 2.8% of average weekly earnings.

        Our average weekly earnings is now over $75 000AUD a year. Not bad.

        Not much in it. Why do you think we have many V8s and the worlds largest percentage of performance cars?

        • 0 avatar
          thx_zetec

          Wow, you can insult Americans personally but claiming you can waste more oil than us?
          http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IS.ROD.SGAS.PC

          We use something like 70% more oil per capita than Australia.

          What’s next? Claiming you can beat us in obesity?!

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @thx_zetec,
            I did think about your comments.

            Firstly, judging by your comments you are young.

            Secondly, have a look at the connections you have made in your comments.

            Oil consumption isn’t completely driven by motor vehicles. That’s not to say it doesn’t significantly influence oil consumption.

            Total oil consumption and the cost to the consumer isn’t completely driven by market size. There are other variable that influence energy costs.

            I learn you.

            1. Australia buys crude at Tapis prices. Currently Tapis prices are sitting near on $60 per barrel. WTI is around $50 per barrel.

            2. The cost to the consumer at the bowser is driven by fuel taxation and earnings combined with local crude prices and refining costs.

            3. As an example the Canadians’ use more crude per capita than the USA. If you look at their vehicle market they do drive smaller vehicles overall on average.

            4. Income per capita plays a role as well in the affordability of fuel to power motor vehicles.

            There are countries that have much lower fuel prices than the US, but yet their crude usage is small in comparison.

            5. Look at the industries that use crude, as I pointed out not all of the crude is used to power motor vehicles.

            You have heating for homes and business, the petro chemical industry, aviation, shipping, rail, electrical generation, etc.

            These industries do impact the overall or total usage of energy by a nation.

            The link below is a more accurate illustration of total energy consumption by nations.

            When looking at the consumption rates take into account what the economies of those nations are, ie, manufacturing, climate, etc.

            You will see that the nations that are more exposed to greater latitudes tend to consume more energy.

            Here’s an interesting link. It show that the US is using less energy than Canada.

            The US is using 20% more energy than Australia.

            http://www.energyrealities.org/sustainability/per-capita-energy-consumption/

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Tic_Zhit,
          Your comment is akin to asking an obese fat person what is the best food to eat?

          He’ll tell you onion rings, Burger King and Coca Cola.

          Ask a thin person what to eat? Lettuce, celery and chicken breast (without the 25% tariff).

          Does this make the fat persons food any cheaper?

          Well, what is your oil used for???

          What is our oil used for???

          Have a good read and understand the breakdown of your energy.

          It isn’t all used in motor vehicles.

          The NE is the largest consumer of distillates.

          Why?

          Central heating.

          Power generation. How much oil is used in the US to fire power generation?

          I can see why you have problems if your logic is just as you expressed.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            “Did you know the Aussie vehicle market is used as a litmus for many global markets.”

            No, I didn’t. A litmus is a piece of treated paper. What you’re struggling to say is litmus “test”. Typical of your jumbled blathering.

            So I entered “Aussie vehicle market is used as a litmus test for many global markets” into google search, and nothing came up.

            Not a sausage. Zip, nada, nil, bugger all.

            It’s such a big secret, only you and Sir Robert Ryan, who imagines himself a well-known executive but often poses as an illiterate, know it. Voices in the head? Seems like the only likely explanation.

            Delusions of grandeur is sometimes a treatable condition, especially in Australia, which I am reliably informed is paradise on earth and has the world’s #1 health care system to look after the ravers. Something to ponder as you type Sermon #14,673 for inclusion in BAFO’s Big Book of The New World Order – Australia on the Astral Plane, Facts and Figures from the Fifth Dimension.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @wmba,
            It’s a pity you are the way you are.

            There are only a few people on TTAC that I personally have an issue with.

            As most are aware now call me BAFO and I’ll interact with you like you are a turd.

            I’ll continue to do so. This isn’t facebook.

            The type of person are the ones who for some reason or another lie, overstate and distort.

            DiM is a classic example. He’s even been caught out stating he lives in an apartment in Winnepeg, and he was stupid enough to post it.

            Psych101, manipulates data and information.

            Yourself, you seem to be similar to a sheep following the flock, lead by a goat.

            It also seems apparent the ones who disagree with me are ardent socialist UAW supporters.

            It’s not that I disagree with unions, it’s I disagree with their protectionist views that costs everyone additional money and costs a nation jobs.

            They are not protecting anything other than their own asses at the expense of their country. That’s how selfish these guys are.

            Like my above article, American Axle workers only earn $10ph. What a disgrace. I bet they require food stamps to survive.

            Yet the highest tiered UAW socialist will not forfeit any income to help their “brothers”.

            The UAW wants input, but the UAW doesn’t want to accept accountability. It’s always someone else’s fault.

            Is a unionist egalitarian? Not a UAW worker.

            You can see why I think the UAW is a lost cause.

            And I don’t comment to make friends on this site. If you do that then why not just go to a more social website.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @wmba
            You are going for the biggest dimwit prize amongst your esteemed, UAW colleagues. You have no idea at all

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “While we’re not suggesting for a moment that Colorado/Canyon sales are on the downturn – we would need longer-term numbers and year-over-year figures to properly gauge such a trend – it does appear as though demand may not have the potential to grow too far beyond 10,000 units per month.”

    Pretty are hard to sell something you don’t have. The numbers you posted are next to meaningless until the dealer pipeline is filled.

    I live in a western suburb of Minneapolis, MN.

    One local Chevy dealer has 1 Colorado extra-cab in inventory. They have 86 1/2 ton Silverados.

    The other Chevy dealer has 2 Colorados. Well actually 1, an extended cab 4 banger. The other one is in transit. That’s a crew cab Z71. Special internet pricing is the full $36K+ MSRP. They also have 86 1/2 ton Silverados they could sell you.

    This inventory situation is not unique to Mpls. but representative with what is happening at most/all Chevy dealerships in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Carlson Fan,
      I think the Colorado Canyon have hit their production limit for the moment.

      I don’t know how many more pickups GM can squeeze out of the plant.

      The pickup has been more successful than what GM has considered by the looks of it. Maybe the vans could be dropped at Wentzville.

      The upside to this is GM will have a larger transaction price and they can concentrate on the more lucrative higher end models.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I did a search on Auto Trader for my area. I specifically selected 2015 and above to filter out any leftover old style Colorado / Canyons still collection dust on the showroom floor.

    GMC Canyon within 25 miles of me: 6
    GMC Canyon within 50 miles of me: 9
    GMC Canyon within 75 miles of me: 13
    GMC Canyon within 100 miles of me: 14
    GMC Canyon within 200 miles of me: 22

    The lowest sticker price going 200 miles out, almost $36K

    Chevrolet Colorado within 25 miles of me: 14
    Chevrolet Colorado within 50 miles of me: 25
    Chevrolet Colorado within 75 miles of me: 32
    Chevrolet Colorado within 100 miles of me: 36
    Chevrolet Colorado within 200 miles of me: 48

    Loest sticker price was $23,575 – and there were only 4 within 200 miles under $30,000.

    For giggles I went 500 miles out – which covers multiple major metropolitan areas and what many would consider red voter rural truck country. Chevrolet Colorado? 69 of them. GMC Canyon 500 miles out? 32.

    101 total within 500 miles of me.

    I did one last check – curious on regional inventory. So I picked Houston, Texas (77070) within a 500 mile radius. So I’m including DFW, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, Beaumont, New Orleans, possibly as far west as Amarillo and well into Oklahoma, and parts of Arkansas, and large areas of Louisiana.

    199 GMC Canyons within 500 miles of Houston and 248 Chevrolet Colorados.

    In comparison, within 500 miles of Houston there are 1916 new Tacomas (2014-2015) on the lots according to Auto Trader. There are 787 Tacomas within 500 miles of me. If you want to be pedantic there are 788 Tacomas, counting the city of Tacoma itself, which is 500 miles from me. There is also the ferry Tacoma, so that would be 789.

    There is no inventory on the Colorado or Canyon out there – hard to sell vehicles in any volume when:

    1) There isn’t a whole lot to pick from

    2) What is coming from the factory is in high end trim

    The numbers of available Tacos is even higher when you consider there is a Chevy dealer in every corner, and far fewer Toyota dealers. So by vehicles per dealer in those 500 miles, each GM dealer might have just a couple (with a few volume dealers as exceptions).

    By the way, Toyota has regional incentives on the Tacoma – in Texas (do a search on 77070) they have $1000 on the hood. In the Boston area they have “give me” lease deals.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    APaGttH – I have seen one 2015 Colorado in the wild and only two on the lot at one time (One Colorado and one Canyon). I did not notice any when in the lower mainland/Greater Vancouver region over the weekend. GM must be shipping them somewhere but not many in British Columbia.

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