By on August 1, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Silverado - Image: ChevroletAmerica’s auto industry is expected to report today its seventh consecutive month of decline, a drop of at least 5 percent based on forecasts and some sharp declines from three of the largest manufacturers: GM, Ford, and FCA.

Incidentally, GM, Ford, and FCA are America’s three biggest sellers of pickup trucks, and for the most part, pickup trucks are allowing a degree of buoyancy at the Detroit Three despite plunging passenger car sales. But after pickup truck sales rose 4 percent through the first-half of 2017, pickup truck sales declined in July 2017. Slightly. Somewhat.

And it was mostly General Motors’ fault.

Rank Auto Brand July 2017 July 2016 % Change 2017 YTD 2016 YTD % Change
#1 Ford F-Series 69,467 65,657 5.8% 499,327 460,901 8.3%
#2 Chevrolet Silverado 45,966 54,116 -15.1% 308,906 327,768 -5.8%
#3 Ram P/U 39,708 39,809 -0.3% 290,151 273,029 6.3%
#4 GMC Sierra 19,963 22,428 -11.0% 119,116 128,894 -7.6%
#5 Toyota Tacoma 17,372 16,580 4.8% 111,968 111,615 0.3%
#6 Chevrolet Colorado 11,206 9,195 21.9% 61,507 60,422 1.8%
#7 Toyota Tundra 10,546 10,474 0.7% 64,198 65,440 -1.9%
#8 Nissan Frontier 7,647 7,244 5.6% 45,460 52,255 -13.0%
#9 Nissan Titan 3,791 1,143 232% 28,255 7,242 290%
#10 GMC Canyon 2,761 3,532 -21.8% 17,649 20,894 -15.5%
#11 Honda Ridgeline 2,586 3,518 -26.5% 21,182 5,992 254%
Small/Midsize 41,572 40,069 3.8% 257,766 251,178 2.6%
  Full-Size 189,441 193,627 -2.2% 1,309,953 1,263,274 3.7%
  Total 231,013 233,696 -1.1% 1,567,719 1,514,452 3.5%

Midsize pickup truck volume actually grew 4 percent in July 2017, a gain of 1,503 units propelled by improvements at Toyota, Chevrolet, and Nissan. Sales of the two lowest-volume pickup trucks in America — the Honda Ridgeline and GMC Canyon — declined by 1,703 units. Yet even with those dropoffs, the midsize pickup segment grew its share of the pickup truck market to 18 percent in July 2017, up from 17 percent one year ago.

Full-size pickups, however, were down 2 percent even as the top-selling Ford F-Series reported its seventh increase in the last eight months. F-Series sales are up 8 percent this year, on track for a twelve-year high of roughly 890,000 sales. Ford says the F-Series’ average transaction prices were $2,500 higher in July 2017 than in July 2016, powered in large part by surging F-Series Super Duty demand and ATPs in the Super Duty range that rose $4,000, year-over-year, to $55,000.

Ram sales were essentially flat, falling only 101 units behind July 2016’s sales pace. Ram is on track for more than 500,000 pickup truck sales in 2017. Toyota’s 1-percent Tundra uptick in July represented its third consecutive monthly improvement after beginning the year in steady decline. Nissan’s 232-percent Titan increase, relative to a particularly slow period from 2016 prior to complete Titan availability, resulted in 2,648 additional sales for the full-size truck category.

But at General Motors, where full-size truck volume tumbled 14 percent, America’s full-size pickup truck segment lost 10,615 sales in July 2017, year-over-year. Exclude GM from the equation and full-size pickup volume jumped 5.5 percent in July. Exclude GM’s four trucks from the entire picture and U.S. truck sales were up 4.6 percent in July.

GM’s knack for reducing the overall pickup truck category’s rate of growth was nothing new in July. Throughout 2017, GM has seen its truck volume fall by nearly 31,000 sales, a huge departure from a category that, GM excluded, is up by more than 84,000 units.

July’s declines were the tenth in the last twelve months for both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The pickup truck category has lost volume only twice in the last twelve months.

[Image: General Motors]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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57 Comments on “U.S. Pickup Truck Sales Dipped in July 2017 – Blame General Motors...”


  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’m re-enamored with GM trucks as of late, for two reasons:

    1)Spent last weekend reanimating a friend’s ’98 K1500 Silverado (305, 4wd, stepside ext cab auto, 199k miles) and totally fell in love with the design, the maroon velour interior, burble of the stock exahust, the ease of working on it and the readily available parts.

    2)GM starting to make the crewcab 1500s in Flint

    3)Realizing that removing the front airdam and installing a 2 inch leveling kit totally solves my aesthetic and functional qualms about GM’s chin-dragging front end.

    Who knows maybe I can convince my friend to work out some kind of trade of his GMT400 for my Ranger once it’s sorted.

    • 0 avatar

      Despite being a mopar guy I have always been fond of the GM trucks. Ease of repair and availability of low cost of parts are a big reason. That and as ugly and plasticy as the interiors are they tend to be worn couch comfortable.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “4wd, stepside ext cab”

      Jeez, that can’t be a common configuration. Who the heck would even order that?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Yeah it’s a pretty neat setup. I never used to care for stepsides but after climbing all over it while pressure-washing it (controversial move given the flaking clearcoat, but it needed to be done), I really grew to like it a lot both for the utility and even aesthetics. Plus the fenders are fiberglass, will never rust out! I even took a ride in the rear seat, not horrible for short trips at my 5’11”. It was a weird mix of options: Overhead console and buckets seats and factory CD player, but it still had a manual floor shifted t-case (which I vastly prefer to the failure-prone pushbuttons).

      • 0 avatar

        I had a customer who had a thing for odd GM trucks. He had a 6.5 Tahoe and a 80’s reg cab short bed with a 454. His daily driver was a Gmt 400 ext cab step side 6.5 diesel
        .

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      My cousin has a 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Z-71 ex-cab step side with red interior. Fairly loaded, power everything, console, etc. Manual transfer case, automatic transmission.

      He bought the truck with a seized engine (overheated) and had the 350 out of his 1995 K1500 single cab put in it. The transmission was slowly failing in the single cab.

      We use it for going to the fishing camp, going off road, and general “truck” things. It is a PITA sometimes.

      But, we have fixed several of its issues aside from the engine. It now starts (AND TURNS OFF) by the key!! Isn’t it wonderful? Lol, had to replace the entire steering column for that (swapping just the ignition didn’t fix it), also from the parts truck.

      It stalls a lot, drinks gas, and refuses to go in park 80% of the time. The spider injection is, as you’d expect, likely to blame for the runability issues. They swapped all that from the original engine because the old (parts) truck had the same issues. This was wasted effort, this truck has the same issues. Sometimes he unplugs the MAP sensor and it runs better for a few days, then it gets bad again so he plugs it back in. I told him to buy a replacement but it’s evidently not a priority.

      Its not uncommon for me to go to drive it and find the shifter in N, the parking brake on, the key left in “ON” since its not in park, and the battery unhooked. It has a slow drain anyway so there is a quick disconnect on the negative battery terminal.

      Oh, and don’t park it with the driver’s window up. The inside door handle is for decoration only. So was *every* C/K and similar SUVs in the junkyard.

      On the plus side, it takes abuse and always gets us there, and back. We usually take the dirt road over there (its like a 1 mile difference lol but we enjoy the slower, more relaxed drive) and its good to not worry about scratches or such.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Sounds like it sucks. He should get an Olds Regency or Lesabre, rip out the trunk carpet, roll on truck bed liner, and put on all-terrain tires.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Dunno, sounds like an abused and unmaintained beater of a truck. The one I worked on has 199k on what looks like original under-hood components, original engine and transmission (the band for 3-4 I think is fairly worn and shifts sloppily when hot), aside from the alternator and power steering line it’s had a brake line replaced, and needs the fuel gauge looked at. Original stainless exhaust still looks basically new, shocks feel fairly tired but it still drives tight. The single biggest demerit to it is the flaking clearcoat, seems like a serious issue with this era of GM truck.

        Overall, out of the 90s trucks, I will say unequivocally the GMT400s are the best of the breed as far as half-tons go. The most rust resistant bodies, the Vortec 5.7L is the best balance of power and fuel economy and quite robust (some fuel injector spider issues notwithstanding, and Dex-cool). The 4l60E transmission, well… I’ll call it average in longevity. Not exactly overbuilt, but not unexpectedly failure prone either. I think they have the best on-road manners and longest lasting suspensions as well. Finally, I think they’re perhaps the handsomest looking trucks made in the last 40 years.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t know I think they all had something to offer. The OBS Ford with a 300 six in reg cab long bed format should be what you see when you look up pickup in the dictionary. Ram had the must rugged and off road friendly front suspension as well as the most reliable V8 with the 318. Of course they all have rust issues but I agree the Chevy has an edge there. I really think it’s a toss up depending on what your looking for.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah I don’t mean to say that everything else is junk, I just think the GMT400s struck a very good balance in terms of quality, ruggedness, performance (including fuel economy) and comfort. Rams have their fast wearing suspensions and quick rusting bodies, crumbling interiors and dicey transmissions, the earlier pre-jellybean Fords felt prehistoric and rode like ox-carts by comparison (but were indeed quite rugged). I don’t really have a dog in the fight (not at the moment anyways).

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Oh I’m sure it is. It is a beater, and that’s what it was bought for. No need to worry about denting or scratching it.

          My ideal GMT400, as you call it, would have the South American (Brazilian) Vortec version of the old 250 cubic inch Inline 6 they discontinued here in the 1980s (and it was carbed then, replaced by the 4.3L V-6). From what I understand, they’re MPFI.

          I would like it in a two door Yukon 4×4, but really any 4×4 version would work.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    But how can that be possible? GM pickup truck beds are made of STEEL! Toolbox-resistant, bear-proof STEEL!!!

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Could have something to do with incentives. I can only get $1500 rebate on a Silverado Crew Cab LTZ. I can do much better on a Ford or Ram of similar equipment/luxury. I’m looking to buy as well and I’d like a 2017 or 2018 Silverado LTZ crew but I want more cash on the hood. Ford and Ram will put more cash on the hood for me.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    F-150 will be receiving an update soon, savvy buyers may be holding out for the 2018s.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I guess I m getting old or something. I used to HATE GM. But, now i have a strong preference for US made cars. What bugs me now is China made crap and Mexico made cars. I WONT BUY ONE. I was interested in a new Compass until I saw that they are henco en Mexico.

    Flint made 1500 s sounds good to me.

    Signed
    Previous Flintoid.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The issue with GMs is that they are unfortunately chock-full of “Chinesium” as well as the finest that Malaysia or whatever bottom-bidder has to offer. Buying a replacement alternator for that K1500 I mentioned above, I specifically had my friend get a remanufactured-in-Mexico AC-Delco unit which tellingly is about $35 MORE than a NEW Chinese-made AC-Delco. The remans are mostly old US-made cores refurbished south of the border, the new units are all Chinese and best-avoided altogether unless you want to be revisiting that job in a year or so.

      A surprising anecdote when I bought oil filters for my fleet of cars last week: the Denso filters for the Camry and 4Runner were Chinese (ugh), the Motorcraft super-sized FL1A for the Ranger was made in USA!

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        That “rebuilt” in Mexico unit will not be any better than the Chinese new unit.

        The “rebuilt” is likely sourced from many suppliers and will mostly be full of used parts if not 100% used parts. When they do replace a part guess where they get it from?? Most likely China.

        Here is the way the “reman” business works now.

        The rebuilders get “cores” from a consolidator who picked them up at wrecking yards. Only usually they aren’t cores that were turned in when someone bought a used unit, they are just used units.

        The company then tests them and rates them.

        If it works good and is relatively clean they will clean up the outside and stick it in a white box.

        If it is really dirty or isn’t working they will put it in the pile for disassembly, cleaning and testing. Once they have tested all the wear parts they toss the bad ones aside along with the best of the excess cases.

        Then they build up as many units as they can out of those 100% used parts and stick them in a white box.

        Then they take the left over cases and assemble them with some new or 100% new wear parts, from China of course, Stick it in a fancy 3 color box and charge a 30% premium for it.

        So I won’t buy a reman starter or alternator. My first choice is to go get the parts and fix the problem myself, second it to go to the wrecking yard, 3rd is the 100% new Chinese unit, 4th is the Napa 100% re-manufactured line which are the prime condition cases.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I think the one scenario with the reman where you luck into a fully-factory used unit or one assembled from good used parts with a good bearing that just needed to be cleaned up is why they have the half-decent reputation (in my mind) that they do and why they are priced higher than a new-Chinese unit. I’ve had bad luck with reman CV axles (never again). But we’ll see how this alternator does. I agree that the new components used in the remans are of the same dubious provenance as the all-new Chinese units.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Well part of the reason that the reman unit cost more is that it was shipped all over the country and went through so many hands that all got a slice along the way.

            Wrecking yard -> Consolidator
            Consolidator -> Rebuilder
            Rebuilder -> Brander
            Brander -> Wholesaler
            Wholesaler -> Retailer.

            The bulk of that was at US prices for the labor and shipping back and forth across the country and now often out of the country.

            With the Chinese unit one or two of those middle men are taken out of the equation, the bulk of the labor is at Chinese rates and while it may have traveled a little further to get across the ocean that is usually less cost than a handful of LTL trips around the US, to Mexico and back.

      • 0 avatar
        cicero1

        Am i wrong or isn’t this another reason to avoid start/stop feature on cars. I rented a Malibu and there was no way to turn off the start stop feature. I find it hard to believe the alternator and associated starting parts are engineered for the multiple start/stops; and if they are Chinese, all the more likely to fail quick and often.

        • 0 avatar
          redapple

          Any body smart know for real, how much gas is saved with start/stop?
          I hate it.

          All that shaking to save 2 gallons a year.
          I had a 4 banger Impala rental in DTW last week.
          Couldnt turn off the dam start/stop.

          I WILL NOT BUY A CAR WITH START/STOP THAT I CANNOT TURN OFF.

          BLOOD OATH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I HATE THINGS I DONT UNDERSTAND!

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “Any body smart know for real, how much gas is saved with start/stop?”

            Rounds to zero. Even a bad old V8 only burns around 0.4 gallons per hour at idle. The little tiny fours that go in everything now will run SIX HOURS on a gallon. Do the math.

            Then factor in the couple hundred bucks per car that the stop start components cost, which is to say how much extra you paid for it, and you should be ready to punch the nearest Democrat in the face even before getting to the fun of putting a new starter in.

            https://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-861-february-23-2015-idle-fuel-consumption-selected-gasoline-and-diesel-vehicles

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “I HATE THINGS I DONT UNDERSTAND!”

            That is a universal truth.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The alternator won’t see any significant change in service life. The starter on the other hand probably will, though some mfgs actually build it with the knowledge that it will be in an auto stop application in mind.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The funny thing is that we have a local dealer who is running ads for their Chevy store with words to the effect of: You know the Chevy truck, the one that is killing the competition with 20% off of MSRP and supplier pricing?” Hmm massive discounts and sales still falling doesn’t sound like they are killing the competition.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I contributed to the first 1/2 year increase. I bought a Ram 1500. I looked at the f150, Tundra and Titan as well. I didn’t even bother looking up anything from GM.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Sales are dropping because there aren’t any new tiny cramped sub $14,000 regular cab vinyl interior manual transmission 4×2 brown pickups on the market. That alone would push sales above a two million a year.
    Oh, and they all need a diesel.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Those lost GM sales are moving over to FCA and Ford.

    Are we now seeing the beginning of the decline in pickups?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “Are we now seeing the be…”

      Read more, BAFO less! It’s right there in the article, it’s just GM fullsize pickup sales taking a nosedive. The rest of the pickups, big and small, are maintaining, up slightly or gaining a lot.

      This while the rest of the car market is way down.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Reading is not required when you’re the smartest guy on the internet. Your answer will be far more insightful than anyone else’s, no matter if it answers questions already answered (and the answers you type are wrong), makes no sense/is totally unrelated to the discussion topic, or just rambles on incoherently. Especially true if its all of those things.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Definitely not the decline of pickups, just a move to the better pickup, the Ford, or the cheaper pickup, the Ram.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        That is how I see it. The GMT K2XX trucks were post bailout products and it shows. I had read somewhere that GM was planning on releasing an aluminum pickup before Ford but was foiled by their collapse.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Well the Canyado isn’t helping matters at GM either. Yes the Chevy is up a bit but that unit increase is more than offset by the drop in GMC for a net loss.

          Overall the less than full size trucks are down if you exclude the Ridgeline. The Ridgeline wasn’t available until mid June so certainly their sales will be up significantly compared to essentially 1.5 months of sales up until this point of 2016.

        • 0 avatar

          The ram is older but still keeping up in sales.

  • avatar
    JDG1980

    Are these lower sales spurring better deals? How much can you usually get off MSRP on a Silverado? Is the Colorado being discounted or still holding its price?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “…Are these lower sales spurring better deals?”

      I wouldn’t hold my breath, especially on the Colorado. If you do get big incentives on the Silverado, it’s probably overpriced for what it is.

      But this is supposedly a “leaner meaner” GM. They’re cutting back production *before* there’s a glut of GMs on dealer lots, while fully realizing, rebates will be the (2nd!) death of them.

      Rebates add up to billions pretty quick, especially at (the former) New GM

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      You should be getting 20%-25% off on a Silverado and 10%-15% off on a Colorado.

      GM isn’t desperate to sell trucks yet so they aren’t going to throw tons of cash at you just for showing up and it’s still likely going to take some moderate leg work on your part.

      Now, if you want the biggest discounts in GM Land, go for an Impala or Buick car.

    • 0 avatar
      turbosasquatch

      Nah, GM sales are lower specifically because of the lack of rebates. The Colorado/Canyon plant runs all 3 shifts to keep up with sales.

      They don’t need as many rebates, they’re trying to get more profit per vehicle. They are definitely trying to get a more quality perception of their products.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Bullish!t.

        Consumers are being burned by many GM POS products again, and starting to learn to avoid the stench of GM again just as they did pre-bankrupt GM POS vehicles.

        When even GM’s full size pickups are falling at this rate, and the Tahoe and Suburban are in freefall, given consumer preferences currently, no one who is sane can dare claim otherwise.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          In the case of Tahoe/Suburban et al, do not discount the fact many have simply been priced out by the Great Economic Leap Forward.

          People be poor n sh*t, yo.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            Count me among the priced out. I REALLY want a Suburban LT 4×4 but I’m not willing to pay the asking price (and dealers aren’t willing to move much on these). I can buy a brand new loaded Silverado/Ram/F150 for less than a 1-2yr old USED Suburban with 30-40k on it. Hence I have the pickup.

            The only competitor it has is the Expedition EL which I don’t care for. It has 2″ more 3rd row legroom on paper, but the design of the seats (especially the headrests) makes them less comfortable than a Suburbans. Its also has less shoulder and hip room than a Suburban and the second row has less legroom. I do occasionally look at a Navigator L online though; prices for those used are cheaper than Suburbans with less miles and I find the exterior to be pretty attractive. The premium fuel thing gets me though.

            I’m very interested to try out the new Expy EL as well though it also suffers from price bloat like a Suburban. Maybe Ford will be more reasonable with discounts/rebated than GM. I’m also hoping the premium fuel requirement goes away for the 3.5L TT or they offer a 5.0L as an option. I’m not willing to pay the $0.80 up-charge for 91 octane here.

        • 0 avatar
          turbosasquatch

          I mean believe what you want but the fact is that Tahoes and Yukons are some of the longest lasting vehicles on the road and the some of the slowest depreciation. The Colorado/Canyon twins also have some of the slowest depreciation, nearly matching the Tacoma.

          GM has gone on record numerous times that they are trying to roll back rebates and increase profit per vehicle.

          You may not like GM products for whatever reason but the majority of the population seems to disagree with you.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            @turbosasquatch,

            Perhaps they are trying to roll back rebates. Doesn’t help rebate addicted customers like myself. I just wonder if this is a good strategy when Ford and Ram are offering better deals.

          • 0 avatar
            turbosasquatch

            Sorry @Frylock350. I actually agree with the pricing thing, I was responding to Deadweight lol

            I’d love a Tahoe or even a Traverse but a loaded Traverse is within spitting distance of a loaded Silverado. GM knows they got a hold on the large BOF SUVs and are charging the premium.

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