Does Ford Really Need A Ranger In America? Ford F-Series Sales Are Soaring, Topping GM's Entire Truck Quartet

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

In March 2017, for the second time in three months, the Ford F-Series range generated more total U.S. sales than the entire General Motors pickup truck lineup.

Total F-Series sales jumped 10 percent to 81,330 units in March, a total that far eclipsed the 71,786-unit figure achieved by the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon — combined. The F-Series’ 10-percent jump occurred as GM pickup sales tumbled 13 percent; as the total truck market grew just 2 percent, year-over-year.

The F-Series’ March performance also represented its sixth consecutive monthly improvement, a sign of consistent growth that suggests Ford may well sell 900,000 pickup trucks in 2017.

Moreover, the F-Series’ consistent growth was cemented in March even as midsize pickup sales growth hit the skids.

New Ranger?

Ach, who needs it?

While all of GM’s pickup truck sales growth in 2016 stemmed from the rise of the still-fresh midsize twins — a pair of appealing trucks that added nearly 32,000 sales to GM’s ledger while the Silverado and Sierra both declined — Ford’s pickup sales growth in early 2017 is occurring in large part because of the biggest trucks in its lineup.

Ford, like GM and Ram, doesn’t provide a breakdown of light-duty and heavy-duty truck sales. But with Ford touting a 26-percent March uptick in retail F-Series Super Duty sales, we looked at production figures to see if we could get a better feel for 2017’s Super Duty emphasis. Through the first-quarter of 2017, the Super Duty accounted for 34 percent of total F-Series production, up from 29 percent in Q1 2016. Total Super Duty production is 17 percent higher this year than last. F-150 production, meanwhile, is down 8 percent, year-over-year. In early 2016, Ford amplified F-150 production to build up inventory after changing over to aluminum.

If we assume the production figures translate to sales, Ford has sold roughly 70,000 Super Duty pickup trucks already this year. (And around 135,000 F-150s, enough to be the top-selling vehicle in America sans Super Duty.)

Not only is the volume high, but Ford also says the three highest Super Duty trim levels — Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum — generate more than half of all Super Duty volume. Average transaction prices on Super Dutys rose by $6,100 in March 2017, year-over-year.

Time this Super Duty surge with decreased GM truck sales and Ford’s dominance of America’s pickup truck category becomes particularly obvious in early 2017.

Ford’s market share in March, for instance, grew by more than 2 percentage points, year-over-year, to 33.6 percent. GM’s March pickup truck market share, meanwhile, slid 5 percentage points to 29.7 percent. In fact, March was just the third month since 1999 in which the Ram P/U line, which we’d all prefer to know as the Dodge Ram, outsold the Chevrolet Silverado.

Excluding the Honda Ridgeline, midsize pickup truck sales are down 8 percent this year, as Toyota attempts to expand Tacoma production, as the Frontier loses its hold on Nissan’s pickup division to the ramped-up Titan, as the Colorado/Canyon become 2.5-year-old trucks with not-quite-so-fresh faces.

Nevertheless, it’s entirely possible the midsize pickup truck market is healthier than it presently appears. Another truck may simply be needed to spur interest in the segment, just as the Colorado and Canyon did in late 2014.

That other truck is the upcoming Ford Ranger, due nearly two years from now. But does Ford even need to tap into a segment worth only 16 percent (and currently shrinking) of the overall truck market when the Blue Oval is exerting such control with larger, high-dollar F-Series pickups?

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.

Timothy Cain
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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Apr 10, 2017

    @highdesertcat--Agree the prospect of paying 60k for a turbo 4 cylinder engine with less than 2 liters is not something that interest me. I like 4 cylinder engines but I don't think they belong in heavier vehicles and I only see more mechanical issues. I did forget to mention the advent of air conditioning--that is something that I will not do without.

  • Cnate Cnate on Apr 12, 2017

    why would people buy what everyone else already have and seen it everywhere they go?

  • Tane94 Carmela Harris is supportive of EV adoption, so government incentives will be continuing under her watch.
  • Dr Mindbender I like the look of the new little hot hatch GV they showed in Orange...it will be interesting to see if they start making larger hybrid drivetrains on their own or find a partner. I looked at Teslas in 2018...EVs don't meet my needs until solid state and prolific recharge in the open desert of SW USA is a reality. Even Porsche expanded their hybrid tech to the flagship, and Kia is all about aping Porsche, perhaps we'll see a T-hybrid in the Genesis lineup???? I always wondered when using a battery to pre-spin a turbocharger would actually work. In general tho, I find the Genesis design language to be quite awful, but I also think the Cayenne is a thing of magnificent beauty...so that balances out I guess. The focus on luxury over performance is where I think they go wrong...but again, Porsche...so I guess my lenses are quite tinted.
  • Slavuta So, Trump was hyperbolic... big deal.
  • Slavuta The question was, "does it make sense for Elon...?" I don't know why people jumped into conclusions in this comment section. My answer is this - if he does it, it makes sense to him. He knows better than any of us here. May be with his donations he can become an ambassador to an important state or secretary of energy, or chief of NASA. This is how America works. Donate $1m - ambassador to Poland, $3m - japan, $5M - Germany, etc. $20,000 could buy you Kenya or something
  • CanadaCraig We should be able to give comments a 'dislike' or 'thumbs down'. We're not 6 years old. I'm sure we cope if someone doesn't 'like' our comment.
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