Pickup Trucks Tanked In April 2017, Titan Quadruples

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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pickup trucks tanked in april 2017 titan quadruples

After improving in 11 consecutive months, U.S. sales of pickup trucks declined 4 percent in April 2017.

8 of the 11 truck nameplates on offer in America sold less often in April 2017 than in April 2016, causing declines in both the dominant full-size pickup truck sector and in the until-this-year burgeoning midsize category.

One month does not a trend make, but April’s downturn didn’t represent the first batch of evidence suggesting a forthcoming pickup truck sales slowdown.

Granted, not all trucks are heading in the same direction.

Nissan Titan sales quadrupled in April 2017.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A quadrupling of Titan volume, year-over-year, translated to only 4,033 total sales, equal to 2.2-percent market share in the full-size category.

Nissan eventually wants 5-percent market share for the Titan in the full-size category, which would have required dealers to have sold 9,300 Titans in April 2017, more than double the number actually sold. But the trend line for the Titan is decent, as only once (in March) since the light-duty, second-generation Titan became available in the second-half of last year has the full-size Nissan generated better market share than it did last month.

Also performing markedly better in April 2017 than in April 2016 was the Ram P/U, which grew FCA’s share of the U.S. full-size pickup truck market by nearly 3 percentage points to 23.4 percent last month. For the second consecutive month and the third time in the last eight months, Ram was America’s second-best-selling truck line.

TruckApril2017 ShareApril2016 Share4 mos. 2017 Share4 mos. 2016 ShareFord F-Series38.1%36.7%38.2%36.6%Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra31.0%36.6%32.6%35.7%Ram P/U23.4%20.9%22.5%21.9%Toyota Tundra5.3%5.3%4.6%5.1%Nissan Titan2.2%0.5%2.1%0.6%

Of course, GM’s pickup truck duo — Silverado and Sierra — still easily outsold the Ram. Yet while the Ram added more than 3,000 sales to its April ledger, the GM full-size tandem combined for an 18-percent year-over-year decline worth 12,967 lost sales.

The Ford F-Series, meanwhile, combined to outsell GM’s entire truck lineup, including the two midsize nameplates, by a 1,514-unit margin in April 2017. F-Series sales dipped slightly, a mere 117-unit drop, but the Ford truck lineup still garnered more sales than the Silverado, Sierra, Colorado, and Canyon for the third time this year.

GM’s midsize truck decline in April was consistent with a category that has now reported year-over-year decreases in two consecutive months. Aside from the Honda Ridgeline, midsize pickup truck sales are down 8 percent this year, a far faster rate of decline than experienced by the auto industry at large.

April was surely not all doom and gloom for the American pickup truck market, as the downturn hardly represented a serious reduction in pickup truck sales volume.

Indeed, truck sales are up 3 percent so far this year. The class-leading F-Series is on track for its best year since 2005, and that’s before the refreshed 2018 F-150 potentially spurs further demand. Until capacity improves, the top-selling midsize truck, Toyota’s Tacoma, is in relatively short supply.

But if General Motors does not soon prove its ability to cut its truck inventory glut, the overall state of the U.S. pickup truck market will continue to appear decidedly unimpressive.

Even if Nissan Titan sales quadruple. Even if Honda Ridgeline sales are 6,455 times stronger this year than last.


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 @timcaincars.

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  • Carguy Carguy on May 04, 2017

    While that is encouraging news for Nissan, 4 times very little is still not much.

    • See 9 previous
    • Jagboi Jagboi on May 05, 2017

      @TOTitan Friend of mine has a Tundra. He noticed the Frame was cracked just out of warranty and Toyota told him tough luck. Strictly true, but it had been in for a major front end rebuild under warranty (steering column occasionally would bind up and he would be unable to steer the truck). Pretty much the entire steering system and front suspension was replaced and nobody noticed the cracks right behind the suspension attachment points? It was at the dealer for close to a month while they threw parts at it, he was really wishing he would have bought the Ford he was going to.

  • TOTitan TOTitan on May 04, 2017

    I have also owned every brand of pickup made including a cornbinder way back when, but now Im more of a vehicle for every purpose guy. The Titan with the factory tow pkg, utility bed pkg, off road pkg, and my mods of big brakes, Bilsteins and air bags is a fantastic tow rig and more reliable/trouble free than any of the others ever were. For a daily driver to run errands around town a '16 Golf Sportwagen tsi built on the new MQB platform feels like it was machined from a piece of billet, and for long distance high speed road trips a BMW 335d which will, when wide open space is available, deliver 30 mpg at a 100 mph cruise.....effortlessly.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on May 04, 2017

      I'm down to three vehicles, if you count my run-around-town 1989 Camry V6, I bought used from my best friend. Although initially leery about buying the Toyota brand for the first time in 1988, I've become a fan, so I am going the whole hog on all-Toyota, all-the-time. At my age I am lucky to still be driving, in spite of the State telling me I have to pass a vision test and renew my license every year after age 75.

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  • John Not everyone pays that much for power. Mine is 10 cents per kw…..