By on December 2, 2017

2018 Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport

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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40 Comments on “November 2017 Pickup Sales Winners and Losers...”

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Keep tanking, Ridgeline sales, maybe I’ll buy one and get a deal.

    • 0 avatar

      If the 1st gen. model is a reliable guide, that won’t happen. Honda simply adjusted production, building fewer Ridgelines and more Pilots on the production line they share. Of course this would be good news for owners as it helps prevent overproduction from eroding the resale value of their Ridgelines.

      • 0 avatar

        Does anyone resell Ridgelines?

        • 0 avatar

          I remember when I bought my brand new Pilot in August 2006, new Ridgelines were languishing on the dealer lots. At that time, the recession was starting. Pilot had 3,000 cash back to dealer and not all dealers were giving it to consumers. Some would say “but ours has pin-stripes and 3M seat protection”. I got my 3,000. At that time, the Ridgeline had 3,500 cash to dealer support. An LX AWD Ridgeline would have been same price as a FWD Pilot, but wife wasn’t into pick-ups. Since 2006, I’ve never seen that deal being offered by Honda on the Ridgeline, or the Pilot. Just like CPTHaddock says, they adjust production and they will make very few. Honda is a master when it comes to that.
          Another major problem with the new Ridgeline, aside from the very questionable EL-Pilotino looks, is the MSRP. It has grown more than 4,000 over the previous generation which is crazy.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Is there a chart? I need a chart….

  • avatar
    Zane Wylder

    Hope to get a manual Taco next year, nothing says perfect work and play toy like one of those

    • 0 avatar

      ……… thank you Toyota marketing department. Is it me or is it every time the Taco is discussed, there is a comment that states it’s the most reliable, fun, rugged, adventurous best etc…… vehicle ever made??

      Just my observation over the years. Personally, I think they are uncomfortabe, handle like pigs and have the ability to be gas hogs and under powered at the same time.

      • 0 avatar

        They’re not under powered if you get the manual…. Virtually nothing is, including 3 cylinder Geo Metros with worn out piston rings.

        Manuals make picking and staying in the rev range required for the power you need, entertaining and engaging. Instead of leaving you to fight your way through an ocean of slush, for every single rpm modern automatics are willing to reluctantly, and then only intermittently, grant you.

        With the auto, the Taco does feel anemic. Ford got it right with the turbofication of their truck fleet, when constrained to a slushbox world. (They should be tarred and feathered for not offering a beefed up, cooled Mustang manual in the 5.0, though….) As do, as much as I hate to admit it, the rest for sticking turbos in more and more of their automatic cars.

        But the Taco with a manual, is a great little truck. Not much of a car, given it’s Miata sized cabin and headroom, but then again, a Miata with a bed sized for a dirtbike, wouldn’t be so bad either…. Biggest issue with the Taco manual, is that Toyota likes to only keep one in stock in the entire country, at any given time. Preferably at the opposite end of the country, from where whomever wants to buy one, resides.

        • 0 avatar

          While having my Corolla serviced, I took a look at the Tacoma on the floor. Everything felt cheap, the doors felt very light just like my Corolla S, the fabric of the seats, the inside plastics felt ok and of course the driver’s position is not very good as always. The Camry-derived 3.5 V6 isn’t inspiring much truck confidence either. If that 3.5 is so great, how come isn’t offered in the 4Runner? Oh, and this Tacoma I saw as a SR5 extended cab with an MSRP of 31,000. Insanity.

          • 0 avatar

            The previous generation Taco is far superior to the current. Well that my opinion. I had a 2013 PreRunner double cab. I felt that it would last forever and ever. The resale was astounding after 2 years when I sold it. Paid $27K. Traded for $27K. I would love another one but with a manual this time. Drive a manual new one(double cab V6 4X4 TRD Sport). It just didn’t gel with me. The 3.5L V6 feels out of place in the Taco, even with he auto.

        • 0 avatar

          I drove a ’91 Toyota Pickup with the 3VZ-E and a manual gearbox today and I can assure you that motor is not appropriately matched to the transmission and the fact it is moving 4,400lb of vehicle.

          “Virtually nothing” is not true, there are plenty of applications where a manual gearbox won’t magically fix a vehicle because the motor/transmission match is poor.

          What a f—ing turd of an engine.

          The rest of the truck is solid, though.

    • 0 avatar

      I love the ’17 Taco I just got. The 3.5L and the 6MT is a nice combo as long as you keep the RPM’s up. Otherwise you’ll be reminded it’s a minivan motor. My only disappointment is that if I had waited for a ’18 model the TRD Sport trim would get heated seats, auto climate, and a whole list of safety features.

      Thankfully the resale value is so good if I really wanted butt warmers I could just trade it in for another one.

    • 0 avatar

      The current Tacoma is like Toyota took the their awesome pickups from the past and then put them on estrogen treatments. No thanks. As the past owner of a 1984 Toyota 4×4 I want to cry every time I see the current Tacoma.

  • avatar

    Does anyone understand what’s happening with the Tacoma? It is Toyota’s least reliable vehicle and has been since the refreshed one came out. What can’t Toyota fix the problems?

  • avatar

    I have a 2017 taco TRD Offroad 4×4 double cab and have had it for 1 year now. I only have 7500 miles as I live in Juneau, Alaska where we only have limited roads. The only quality issue I have experienced is the AT programming. This was supposedly addressed via a reflash TSB. It has not fixed the AT caused drivability issues while using tranny in auto. It simply can’t pick a gear or it has you in overdrive constantly. There is a manual mode and a tow/haul mode that helps. Other than that the truck has been fine and I plan on keeping it for awhile. Wish it had more torques in the lower revs, but not really an issue.

    Find one with the manual if you really want a taco!

    • 0 avatar

      Love my 2015 4 cylinder/5-speed manual/4WD. It is stone reliable. And with the 5-speed, it’s fun to drive. My lease is up in September and I can definitely see myself either buying this one or leasing a new one.

    • 0 avatar
      Zane Wylder

      I’ve driven both the last gen and this gens 6spd, loved them, just at the time, it was one of those “test drive and get a $50 gift card” things

      Only thing I’d add besides the bed racks or whatever their called is rear disc brakes, otherwise I’m sold

    • 0 avatar

      “It simply can’t pick a gear or it has you in overdrive constantly.”
      “Wish it had more torques in the lower revs,”

      This is the result of them downsizing the motor, adding a few hundred pounds of curb weight, and trying to aggressively tune the transmission for maximum fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar

        This was my experience in my Taco test drive a few months back. The thing was simply terrible. No available power, constant shifting. I knew there was no way I could be happy dropping that sort of money on it. A shame, because I really liked pretty much everything else about it.

  • avatar

    America’s contractors & farmers have to pay more for a work necessity that’s morphed to a fashion fad.

  • avatar

    I’ll eventually buy my first pickup. Interesting enough, a local dealer has had a bunch of 2017 pickups marked down up to 20% off MSRP (for example, MSRP at $45k, listed at $36k). So is MSRP really that way overpriced?

    • 0 avatar

      For the domestic full-size trucks, yes. For the volume trims 10-15% off MSRP is normal no matter what time of the year it is. The pricier trims usually get less discounts but still not that hard to get a few thousand below MSRP. Really the only domestic full size truck right now that requires some luck/a good dealer to get a good deal below MSRP is the F150 raptor (ignoring things like factory Roush tunes and whatnot).

    • 0 avatar

      Unless you insist on being the first guy on the block with the latest Raptor, that’s pretty much how it works.

      It’s a way of being able to offer economies of scale, despite offering a million different combinations of beds, cabs, rear ratios, engines, packages, trim levels etc… across many different markets. You CAN order and have it configured exactly as you wish, OR you can save 20% buying one of the common configurations your local dealer has determined is popular in your area.

  • avatar

    How about a Chart showing Year over Year growth, instead of making us slog through the writing?

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    I was a bit surprised. Ordered a Laramie 2500 diesel and it was $11k off the top. I figured ordering one wouldn’t have nearly the discount of those on the lot.

    • 0 avatar

      That is nice! If deals like that are widely available, there is virtually no reason left for anyone, to be stiffed out of a proper transmission for their next truck……

  • avatar

    Turbo V6’s and aluminum bodies sure have hurt Ford!

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