By on December 12, 2016

2017 Nissan Titan red - Image: Nissan USA

America’s pickup truck market exploded with significant year-over-year growth in November 2016. After the U.S. auto industry reported three consecutive months of decline through the end of October, auto sales jumped 4 percent in November, year-over-year.

Pickup trucks were responsible for half of the industry’s growth last month.

All 11 truck nameplates on offer in the United States — from the Chevrolet Silverado that posted a modest 0.6-percent uptick to the Honda Ridgeline that shot up 115,367 percent — got in on the action.

Even the Nissan Titan.

For the Titan, November’s 3,329 sales positioned the truck 11th in an 11-truck sector, but it still experienced a 363-percent improvement compared with November of last year.

With the regular-duty Titan now available, in addition to the medium-duty XD that barely moved the needle, Titan sales have now increased in three consecutive months after volume plunged to an all-time low in 2015 and fell flat in the early part of 2016.

Upon the truck’s introduction 13 years ago, Nissan reported 83,848 U.S. Titan sales in its first full year, 2004. 2005 sales increased 4 percent, but then Titan volume declined in nine of the next ten years.

By 2014, Titan volume was down an astonishing 86 percent from its peak a decade earlier.

Now the Titan is on its way back. Very slowly.

If November’s pace could be sustained over the course of a year, Nissan would sell 40,000 full-size pickups in a twelve-month period, less than half of what the company achieved in 2005.

Nevertheless, November 2016’s Titan result was its best since August 2008, a 99-month high.

U.S. pickup truck market share chart

In the grand scheme of the full-size pickup truck market, the Nissan Titan is scarcely a blip on the radar. Full-size pickup truck sales jumped 9 percent, year-over-year, in November and are up 3-percent year-to-date.

Only 2 percent of the full-size pickup trucks sold in the United States last month were Titans; fewer than 1 percent of the full-sizers sold this year have been Titans.

With the F-Series, Ford owns a GM-beating 36 percent of the full-size pickup truck in 2016. Last year, the full-size GM twins — Silverado and Sierra — combined to outsell the F-Series for the first time since 2009.

So far this year, sales of the GM duo are down 2 percent to 718,994 total sales, 14,293 behind the F-Series. In November, the Silverado and Sierra rose 4 percent with help from huge price cuts. GM’s average per-truck incentive rose 46 percent compared with November 2015 to $5,753, according to J.D. Power PIN data.

In order for Ram to produce an 8-percent surge to 36,885 November sales, incentives rose to an average of $6,062 per truck. Ram owns 22 percent of the full-size pickup truck market in the U.S. in 2016, up a percentage point from 2015. Ford incentivized its full-size trucks to the tune of $4,467 per truck in November and claimed 39 percent of the segment.

2017 Ford F-150 Lariat - Image: Ford

GM, of course, benefits from its entrance into a separate segment forsaken by Ford and Ram. The Colorado and Canyon twins owned one-third of the midsize truck category in November, slightly less than one-third year-to-date.

The Toyota Tacoma remains the predominant midsize truck in America, claiming 43 percent of the segment in 2016’s first 11 months and in November. Tacoma volume jumped 15 percent last month in a segment that surged 34 percent because of the GM gains and the Honda Ridgeline’s addition. Honda reported 3,464 total Ridgeline sales in November, ninth among pickup trucks overall.

Through the end of November, 17 percent of the pickups sold in America were Tacomas, Colorados, Canyons, Ridgelines, and Frontiers, the latter being the wildly more common of Nissan’s two pickup trucks.

Frontier volume was up by one-tenth of one percentage point in November, as growth has slowed now that Nissan isn’t pushing every available pickup truck buyer to the smaller truck. 2016 will be the best year for Frontier sales since 2001.

There’s nevertheless plenty of room for improvement at Nissan’s truck division. Fewer than 4 percent of the pickup trucks sold in America in November were Frontiers and Titans.

Nissan owned 5.2 percent of America’s truck market in 2006.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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37 Comments on “You Know Truck Sales Are Strong When Even Nissan Is Doing Well...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    YTD, truck volume is up 6.2%, but the growth of incentives is outpacing that figure.

    Since this trend can’t continue forever, we’re probably at or near Peak Truck.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Since this trend can’t continue forever, and you-know-who is soon to Make Gas Prices Great For Exxon Again, we’re probably at or near Peak Truck.”

      I fixed it for you…and I do accept tips.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Well, the gas prices could go up a little but not much. Since the Fed is about to raise interest rates since the “wrong” person won the election, the economy could stall again ( not that it is very hot now) and gas prices will stay low.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I think the rate hike was a foregone conclusion no matter who won the election, but I’m sure Twitter Duce will find someone else to blame if things go bad.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Maybe he should continue President Obama’s policy of blaming George W. Bush!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Oh big ‘Murican Al, I’d love to buy you a beer sometime.

          • 0 avatar
            fiasco

            Why not, The Iraq war repercussions will be felt for another few millennia, if we last that long.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Well, there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world of which only 10% speak Arab.

            That is a whole lot of armed Predator drones that need building!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Even at 10%, too time consuming. Go N.B.C. to save freedumb.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            “Oh big ‘Murican Al, I’d love to buy you a beer sometime.”

            Buy several. And none of that Amy Shumer Budweiser crap. Sam Adams is Good. Blanton’ s Bourbon is better

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            “Why not, The Iraq war repercussions will be felt for another few millennia, if we last that long”

            well they were fighting a couple millennia ago so. I like to think though that in 2000 years we’ll be beyond oil and unless sand is the new energy source they can go back to whatever they were fighting about back then. But yeah, I have no doubt they will have found something to fight over.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @SCE to AUX
      They are about 19% of overall sales in Australia, no incentives. Just very strong demand

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I wish I knew what makes one truck better than the the others – I’m talking about full-size pickups.

    Is Ford better than GM? Why?
    Are Tundras that far behind GM & Ford, even if it is rumored they are better in many ways?
    Do Titans really stink? What makes them so bad?
    Are Dodge trucks really a risky investment, even if I think so, even if, to me, they’re better-looking than the rest?

    I’d hate to be in the market for one, because based on sales, Ford is the way to go, even if I may not like a Ford. Same with mid-sized cars. Do you buy a Camry because they sell so many when you’d really want something else?

    Lots of questions, but no scientific answers, just emotional ones.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      There’s plenty of scientific answers, it’s just that talking about one truck being “better” than another one isn’t exactly a scientific measurement.

      Do you wanna talk about ride quality? If so, the Ram is the way to go.
      Do you wanna talk fuel economy? The 2.7L turbo in the F-150 has a slight edge over the competition, not counting the diesel Ram.
      Do you wanna talk out-and-out reliability? You won’t beat the Tundra.
      Do you wanna talk tow ratings? Those are exceptionally easy to google.
      Do you wanna get one that’s been updated/redesigned recently? If so, skip the Tundra.

      You’re right, there’s lots of emotional answers to be found from the fanboys and on the message boards. But there’s definitely data out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Zackman – If you aren’t brand loyal then start with durability data and then start filtering the pack from there. Make a list of criteria important to you.

      Is Ford better than GM? Why?
      Depends on your metrics and varies often from one model to another.
      Are Tundras that far behind GM & Ford, even if it is rumored they are better in many ways?
      Tundra has a pretty limited number of options and the 5.7 is a durable engine but is one of the worst with fuel consumption.
      Do Titans really stink? What makes them so bad?
      The new Titan XD Diesel weighs as much as a HD pickup but has a poor cargo rating. The tow rating in in the ball park for a 1/2 ton but is limited by its sh!tty cargo rating. TFL Truck tested the Titan XD with a 5th wheel trailer. The only way it could tow max capacity was by deliberately loading the trailer tail heavy and they could only have 1 driver and 1 passenger on board not to exceed truck cargo capacity.
      Are Dodge trucks really a risky investment, even if I think so, even if, to me, they’re better-looking than the rest?
      JD Power and Consumer Reports rate them pretty much the worst year after year.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    At the end of November I went to the local auto show. I was very impressed by the Titan. The local dealers were selling Titan XDs ( diesel V8) crew cabs, base models for 34k. A diesel Canyon/Colorado is 40k. Unfortunately that Titan is huge. Won’t fit in any regular garage.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, it makes sense Titan sales are up…isn’t this a new model?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      You know, I was thinking the same thing when I read the title. If this was the old Titan and its sales were going up for some reason, that would make more sense IMO.

      All new model after a decade of stagnation = sales increased? Not hard to figure out.

      Now, the incredibly old Frontier with a tiny up tick in sales is interesting. Who wouldn’t just buy a Colorado/Canyon if they couldn’t get a Tacoma,(assuming that was their first choice)? I guess someone who doesn’t want to be seen driving some terrible American travesty when they can drive a far worse truck with a Japanese name.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that I don’t know sh*t. We elect a buffoon who only needs a rat-tail comb in his back pocket to complete his look and the company that started the small truck market cannot compete in the segment. The response of the exploited masses for change is to give unchecked power to the exploiters, while buying the fiction that all the economy needs is less regulation. Hasn’t anyone been watching Japan since 1992 or Europe and their German-dictated “austerity”? If I could buy a new 1966 Datsun pickup I would. But I’m obviously a dinosaur with poor prospects. I am actually glad I have a short time left on this rock. We Boomers have royally screwed the pooch. We are doing the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “We are doing the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.”

      Whaddaya want from old farts? Getting all proactive in our youth only served to bamboozle us with kumbayah and caused us to fly around the globe Saving the Children. Who are now grandparents, the way *they* breed.

      We had a nice bubble and now it’s all gone.

      Next.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “…the company that started the small truck market cannot compete in the segment.”

      Well, yeah, I think Trump was a dumb choice too, but I’m not sure how you correlate a company losing its’ grip on the small truck segment with his election. I’m assuming you’re referring to Nissan, and frankly, if they have lost in this market, they don’t have anyone to blame but themselves. And if Trump turns out to be a disaster – and I’ll wait and see – then we have no one to blame but ourselves too.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      “We are doing the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.”

      So we have moved on from calling Politicians we don’t like Hitler to comparing them to Nero. Maybe that is progress.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yes, electing someone with bad hair is the worst ever. And, let’s not give him a snowball’s chance in hell, we gotta condemn him for everything a month before he takes office. All problems, past and future, are his fault.

      You can go buy yourself a fully restored Datsun and love its 65 HP and 65 mph top speed and its “maybe we will stop…eventually” brakes and its tiny cab and back-breaking ride and MPG similar to modern midsize truck. And, cargo heavier than a duffel bag will have its ass dragging and its nose in the air.

      You like the idea of a small little truck, but you’d be out of it in a month if you actually had to live with it. Nostalgia can be a B¡tch. You don’t remember clearly jusy how terrible to sit in and drive those little trucks were.

      That said, I would like to have an old Datsun truck, 1979 or earlier, but it would be something I would probably rarely drive.

      Even my 1986 Isuzu Trooper was painfully slow, annoying to live with (carburetor) and about as comfortable as a barbed wire chair. I still loved it, but when the opportunity came, I sold it and bought something with a V-6 engine, automatic, fuel injection and cruise control. After being used to modern conveniences, its hard to go back to something real old school.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Yes, electing someone with bad hair is the worst ever. And, let’s not give him a snowball’s chance in hell, we gotta condemn him for everything a month before he takes office. All problems, past and future, are his fault.”

        And one might wonder why so many people feel this way. Could it be…that this guy has turned off many citizens (myself included) with his continually open yap?

        Could it be because the moron he is going to have as his second-in-command wants my gay kid to ride the back of the damn bus…and use HER tax dollars to enforce that?

        Could it be because I have two young women living in my house who have actually suffered what ol’ Orange Hair Duce bragged about doing?

        I’m willing to give this moron a chance. But I’m not willing to give him much rope to hang himself with. Millions of other people feel exactly the same way I do. And you know what? If that’s the case, then he has no one to blame but himself. THAT is his fault.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    I just bought a new Frontier so yay…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Nissan and its pickup range will gradually make inroads in the US.

    When the next Frontier (Navara) hits the dealer’s lots Nissan sales will improve. The biggest hurdle for the Frontier is engines.

    The Titan will incementally improve in numbers as well.

    Nissan has a far better future than current numbers illustrate.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Nissan has a far better future than current numbers illustrate.”

      Maybe so, but judging by the Nissans I’ve driven recently, their present is full of suck.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      So how gradual are we talking? The introduced the Titan 12 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Nissan will not replace the Frontier with the newer design they sell elsewhere. They have said so.

      Their “gradual” increase (the article points out that the Titan is on track to sell 1/2 what it did in 2005) might would speed up a bit if they didn’t wait a decade or so before updating their trucks.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    To be fair, if all you’re doing is light hauling and possible off-roading, all modern full-sizers in North America are pretty decent vehicles. It’s only for specialized applications and fleets where every little thing can make a difference.

    Working in fleet management, the NV200 vans the other guys use are pretty good vehicles, durable as hell but outdated powertrains. All Nissan needs to do is drop the Cummins in there and put manual regen and they have a certified winner. Our honeymoon with the Transit turbo diesels (disclaimer: I didn’t buy them nor approve of them, they were there when I was hired) is ending very badly with the silly regen systems and clogged filters. As I write this, I have the unfortunate task of finding the future vehicular path for our company and that’s not fun. The Promaster is total shit, the Express should be more reliable for something designed by Barney Rubble with driving dynamics by Fred Flintstone, so that leaves Mercedes with the Sprinter, which could very well be a Transit but I’ll have to now procure more expensive parts from Fritz, or the Nissans, which are very good but guzzle gas like a mofo. I’m inclined to go with Nissan.

  • avatar
    mtmmo

    This isn’t a surprise given the alpha males have been given a mandate to fix all of the problems created by the pajama boy crowd. The next 8 years look spectacular. Dow 25,000 hear we come.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Yes, because Trump is inheriting an economy in free fall, while Obama got one that had been growing for years, had a fairly low unemployment rate, and low inflation.

      Oh wait, do I have that mixed up?

      • 0 avatar
        mtmmo

        Ah I see we have a kool aide drinking fake news subscriber. In the real world Obama is releasing terrorists from GITMO and we still have close to 100M Americans out of work. Next time you come up in between your fake news gulps you’ll notice the GOP is in the majority at every level of state and federal government. Yeah Obama has been great…for the GOP.

        I’m a lifelong Dem but I gladly voted for Trump as I stopped drinking the polluted Dem kool aide last year. Now run back to your safe space and get yourself more kool aide and nice side of identity politics. In the meantime the economy will experience real growth and stability and thus things like trucks will keep selling at record numbers. That’s what happens when the Alpha males take over.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          Heh… mtmmo, actually reading your comments reminds me of mowing a lawn, seeing an old dog turd too late and thinking “Well, it’s ancient and utterly desiccated… how bad can it stink?”

          Never underestimate ancient dog turds.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Some time ago, we had an overhaul of policies here that promised fewer personal attacks and less political fecal matter.

          …What happened?

          • 0 avatar
            fiasco

            The election happened, and either way we’re probably headed for the second civil war. Hillary would’ve appointed a cabinet of corporate shills, Trump is going for alt-right/teabag nut job corporate shills.

            In terms of trucks, I’m thinking the Damnation Alley Bandmaster might be the best choice at this point…and that’s why I love cars.


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