November 2017 Pickup Sales Winners and Losers
Barring a blockbuster December, 2017’s light duty vehicle sales stand to dip below 2016’s record 17.55 million units. The National Automobile Dealers Association forecasts 17.1 million sales in the U.S. this calendar year, with 2018 sales falling to 16.7 million vehicles.
Bad news for automakers? Not if profits stay up. And nothing generates profits quite like large volumes of high-margin vehicles — pickup trucks, to be exact. While November 2017 was a relatively flat month for the industry, a closer look at the pickup segment shows America’s love affair with trucks is keeping the money taps flowing.
Prepare to pick your jaw off the floor, because the Ford F-Series line remained, by far, the best-selling truck in the United States last month. Shocker. With 72,769 trucks sold, the F-Series had its best November in 16 years. Sales rose 0.9 percent, year-over-year, with volume over the first 11 months of 2017 now up some 10.1 percent. Yes, it’s nice being on top.
At General Motors, the sales picture was more of a mixed bag. With four nameplates covering the midsize and full-size segments, November amounted to a good month for Chevrolet, but only Chevrolet. With 46,441 sales, the Chevrolet Silverado was the top-selling GM truck. Sales rose 2.6 percent, year-over-year, though this year’s tally is still 0.5 percent less than last year’s. GMC Sierra sales sank 4 percent, year-over-year. That model’s year-to-date performance is also in the red — down 3.5 percent compared to 2016.
The picture was much the same for the midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins. Colorado’s strong sales month — up 19.3 percent, year-over-year — wasn’t replicated over at GMC. Canyon sales sank 26.4 percent, year-over-year. Buyers chose the Colorado over the Canyon by a 4:1 margin, with both models heading in the opposite direction in year-to-date sales (the Chevy’s up 4.1 percent YTD, the GMC’s down 14.3 percent).
If you were looking for a lot of movement over at Ram, prepare to dash those hopes. As the brand awaits the debut of the next-generation 1500 in January, pickup sales sank 0.5 percent, year-over-year. The brand’s still up 3.2 percent over the first 11 months of 2017, though.
Nissan recorded zero vehicles sold in November, truck or otherwise, but only because computer problems screwed up the company’s sales tally. We’ll update this post when those figures roll in.
Toyota, on the other hand, is well aware of its sales performance, and there’s good reason for the automaker’s Christmas cheer. Tacoma sales rose 4.3 percent, year-over-year, with the top midsize pickup nameplate now up 3 percent on a year-to-date basis. The full-size Tundra found more buyers in November, as well. Sales rose 1.3 percent, year-over-year, for a 1.4 percent YTD finish. A good December would see the model surpass last year’s sales, which marked a climbdown from 2015’s post-recession sales peak.
Let’s face it, no one working at Honda has any delusion that the company’s fortunes hinges on the unibody Ridgeline. That’s good, because Honda’s entry in the midsize pickup segment tanked yet again. November sales plummeted 24.7 percent, year-over-year.
It’s the fifth straight monthly loss for the second-generation model, which only went on sale in June 2016. Despite the poor showing, the Ridgeline did manage to outsell the Canyon by 100 units.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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