By on January 4, 2018

2018 Ford F-150 Lariat FX4 SuperCrew Special Edition

America’s love affair with the pickup truck is about as well kept a secret as the styling of the next Mercedes G-Wagen. Steph talked about mid-sizers this morning, alluding to VW’s new trademark and pontificating if it’s worth the OEM taking a plunge into that segment.

Full-size trucks have no such concerns, of course, with their sales success seemingly as reliable as the sunrise.

It’s tough to break out individual models from the sales data, as “F-Series” sales encompass everything from workaday, naturally-aspirated V6 F-150s to gonzo Super Duty pickups set to haul the largest of RV campers. The same goes for General Motors, Ram, and Nissan Titan sales reporting. Half-ton vs 3/4-ton (or near ¾ ton in Nissan’s case) volumes are not broken out. This helps explain the dominance of some nameplates.

2017 Full Size Truck Sales

Ford did indeed dominate the full-size market in 2017, selling a total of 896,764 F-Series pickups last year. That works out to one Blue Oval truck being sold every 35 seconds, around the clock, for 365 days. In the time it takes you to read this post, Ford sold approximately seven or eight F-Series pickups in 2017.

The General’s duo of Silverado and Sierra, which will be shown with a complete overhaul at this month’s North American Auto Show in Detroit, both finished the year strongly, up 24.7 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively, in the month of December compared to the same month one year earlier. The bowtie brand sold a grand total of 585,864 Silverado pickups in the 2017 calendar year, an increase of nearly 11,000 units over 2016. The Sierra was roughly flat at 217,943 sales.

Ram increased its share of the pie by cracking the half million mark last year, its final result of 500,723 trucks eclipsing last year’s tally of 489,418. This uptick could be due to a couple of reasons, including the increased amount of cash on the hood being piled on top of the current model, which is in its final year. Another reason could be that ardent fans of the Ram brand and its traditional mini-Freightliner styling are stocking up on trucks ahead of the new model landing on dealer lots. The next-gen Ram 1500, by all accounts, will have a much less aggro look than it currently enjoys.

2017 Full Size Truck Sales

Toyota’s full-size Tundra hasn’t been majorly altered in over 10 model years, which works out to about five lifetimes in the automotive world. A 2014 refresh was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show five years ago. Still, the big Toyota managed to find 116,285 homes in 2017.

At Nissan, annual Titan sales jumped to 52,924, unsurprising since the new truck represents such a quantum leap over the old one. There’s a good chance there were a few old-style Titans kicking around dealer lots at the beginning of 2017, so the coming year will likely be the first full 12 months of just the new Titan and Titan XD finding buyers in Nissan showrooms. Expect sales to grow even further, as Nissan now offers its full-sizer in a wide variety of cab and bed configurations.

Average transaction prices are on the rise in America, no doubt fuelled in part by these large and in charge beasts. With manufacturers tripping over themselves to introduce ever more expensive trim packages – Limiteds, Denalis, and Longhorns abound – it would not be surprising to see it increase even further.

Me? I’m just waiting for the return of pickup truck hood ornaments.

Image: 1975 GMC SIERRA CLASSIC 1500 GENTLEMAN JIM

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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56 Comments on “2017 Auto Sales – ‘Murica Loves Trucks, and so Do Manufacturers...”


  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Cue the

    You know, 99.99% of truck owners don’t ever use their trucks for truck things

    and

    Only men with small ****s buy trucks

    comments…..

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      “I need that 900 lb-ft of torque in my V10 Ram Diesel in case I get somethin’ heavy at the Wal*Mart.”

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      This.

      Because all of those commenters drive Smart cars or Versas, you know, ONLY what they need and not what they might actually want.

      If they drive a Camry V-6, I’m sure it *never* leaves the driveway with less than 5 people on board and the trunk stuffed with luggage, and every single horsepower and pound-foot of torque is used at all times, lest they be accused of buying a vehicle with more cargo capacity and power/torque than they absolutely require and utilize 100% of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      “Cue the

      You know, 99.99% of truck owners don’t ever use their trucks for truck things

      and

      Only men with small ****s buy trucks

      comments…..”

      Well there is a lot of pickup truck owners out there…and a lot of people who know them. Soooooo

      Just sayin

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Of course, you guys feel the need to comment on the truck commenters every bit as much as the truck commenters feel the need to comment on trucks buyers. Even jumping in to head them off at the pass.

      Everyone has their little obsessions.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        Prius Driver: Why do you need a truck?

        Me: I don’t need one, I want one. Next question.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Prius Driver: Why do you need a truck?

          Is that Prius interior resistant to oil, fuel, grease, mud, blood stains?

          Name a vehicle with the versatility of a pickup?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            An SUV/CUV. Not everybody carries outsized or … *ahem* aromatic … cargo in their vehicles. Someone who carries engine blocks, lumber and whatnot would either own a pickup or a utility trailer for those messy, stinky, dirty loads. If all they carry is pallets of flowers, bagged stone or mulch or other such materials can easily carry them inside the cabin of an SUV/CUV. And if they only carry those things rarely, then they’re not going to need OR WANT a full-sized (or near-full-sized) pickup truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Vulpine – THEN………People need to stop painting with such broad strokes.

            I use my truck as a truck. I commute to work and run errands with it that any vehicle can do BUT a small SUV ISN”T going to be able to do all of the other stuff that I do with my truck.

            Ever pull a utility trailer a 100 miles down a gravel road?

            You’d buy a truck if you had to do that very often.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Since I have never had the need to do something like that, it’s a non-issue for me. Yes, I do know out in dry, desert country, a lot of roads are either that or … what do they call that tar and stone paving? When I was based in Denver I drove a lot of roads like that. I also had a small pickup because I simply had no need or desire for a larger truck. Sure, that little truck got used for a lot of truck things… LITTLE truck things like carrying a lawn mower or snow blower and sometimes other things. But the heaviest thing it ever carried was a 10′ piece of old rail (from an abandoned rail line over a former mainline pass over the mountains) which I and a friend cut into pieces and used to weight the bed for winter driving. That was long, long ago.

            Again, there are a lot of people who want truck capability but NOT to haul huge, heavy loads or thirty-foot camping trailers. They want something small, light, agile and maybe able to tow a mere 5000# or smaller pop-up camper.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            My minivan has nearly the versatility of a pickup, with a built-in cap over an 8-foot bed.

            No, it’s not AWD, and I can’t dump gravel into it, but when I’m done hauling with it, it carry 7 people even while towing 3500 lbs.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “what do they call that tar and stone paving?”

            We call it “seal coating”. Basically pour tar onto the road then spread fine crush gravel over the road.
            In BC there are more gravel roads than paved roads. Seal coating around hear gets used as a stop gap to repair paved roads.

            @SCE to AUX – I got by with Safari van for 2 years and it did most of what a truck does but it wasn’t as pleasant. If I carried my kids dirt bikes it would smell like gas for a week after. I had two Labrador retrievers and eventually the van always smelled like wet dog.

            The advantage to a pickup is also “upfitting”. A canopy is easy to put on and remove. My tool box is also easily to remove for space. I can easily carry my aluminum boat across the top of the box or put dirt bikes or a quad in the box.

            Another advantage to a pickup is tire selection. Minivan tires are not much different than any car tire which does not hold up well on gravel roads. The suspension components also aren’t as stout.

            Every vehicle has its pro’s and cons.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Preemptive trolling? You guys are acting awfully sensitive and insecure for being normally endowed.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The second one of those platitudes really need to be updated by now. As the size of the average truck driver’s %^&%&$ hasn’t been known, even to himself, for at least a decade, due to being covered up by so much blubber…….

      Come to think of it, the first one hence need updating as well. Since simply hauling all that blubber around, now arguably qualifies as “truck stuff” all by itself….

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    … But yet, a mid-year analysis showed pickup trucks were only the third largest market, behind CUVs and compact sedans, at only 16% of the overall market. (CUVs carried 35% of the market.)

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Vulpine,
      Yes, I agree.

      I read yesterday 2017 in Australian pickup sales were 20%. This is primarilary midsizers. A huge difference especially when the US numbers take in HDs.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    [Image: Ford Motor Company]

    Of a GMC Sierra?!?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    2.3 million trucks in 2017… wow.

    Cue Joe Diffie singing: “Pickup Man.”

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    What’s interesting is that Chevy and Ram have grown about equal amounts between 2016 and 2017 (11K units). When the new Ram starts and there are two plants producing Rams (old gen and new gen), wonder if that will remain the same (especially since GM is launching new trucks as well).

    Remember when they use to stagger so each one could claim “truck of the year” ???

  • avatar
    Fred

    I decided to get rid of my truck because it just means I’ll be hauling more stuff that will hurt my back. Delivery is worth every penny they charge. For smaller projects I can strap it to the top of my wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      You know what would be crazy useful for most people is a all the midsized and large three row crossovers need to come with a rear window that can roll down, lift independently of the tailgate…etc. I have been doing a bunch of home improvement projects and hauling everything with my wife’s Buick Enclave, the bed is a bit narrower than a pickup but also a bit longer than 6 feet in a standard box. A rear window that opens would have been totally awesome for carrying 16 foot pieces of crown molding last weekend. But…making other cars more useful might eat into pickup truck sales so probably not.

    • 0 avatar
      Heino

      Had a co-worker get rid of his Silverado for an Impala because people kept asking to borrow it. He was sick of the mileage too.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        Does your friend have the inability to say the word “NO”?

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I’d be more likely to say “f^ck off”.

          I laughed at the last guy who asked to borrow my truck. He was totally dumbfounded that I wouldn’t let him borrow my truck.

          Those same guys are never around when you need a hand with something heavy.

      • 0 avatar
        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        Heino-
        OK-I will bite and say maybe your friend got sick of people borrowing his truck. However-to trade A vehicle in and buy another one for better millage can be nonsensical. After you figure in taxes, license fees, and depreciation it takes years to recoup any money saved for the increase in gas mpg.

        Also-he wasn’t aware of the operating costs of a truck when he purchased it?

        Just sayin!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Who are the people buying the Titans? Can we meet one?

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      Ive had one since 2004. Ordered it with tow, off road, and utility bed packages and upgraded with 14″ brakes, 20″Momos and air bags. 150,000 miles, no malfunctions or rattles. Bad MPG’s when towing heavy loads.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Why did you buy it over another marque?

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Easy answer in 2004, that Titan lapped the entire field. Nissan got their steroid-era powertrain to market years before anyone else did. They had steering feel, which was a revelation in a truck then. The crew cab was enormous, back when Ford’s was merely big and Dodge didn’t have one at all.

          The better question would be why a retail buyer at the time would choose anything else.

        • 0 avatar
          TOTitan

          Agree with Dans comments plus compared to everything else the 5.6 V8 was/is a masterpiece. All aluminum, DOHC with chains not belts, and 6 bolt mains.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I made this comment on the Tundra review yesterday, but I really liked the new half-ton Titan I got to drive recently. It had excellent throttle response, sounded good, had heavier steering feedback, and in general I enjoyed driving it compared to other trucks I’ve experienced.

      A Titan is still larger than something I’d want to use every day, but if I was buying a full-size truck I’d be leaning to the Nissan (unless GM unleashes the 6.2L on lower trim level).

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Agreed with what others said about the bomb that Nissan dropped on the fullsize market in ’04. I test drove a few of the old body style Titans last year, the Pro-4Xs are pretty seriously set up for offroad stock (11 inches of ground clearance, factory rear locker). There was a lot of crudeness compared to much more modern comptetition, but even that un-updated 317hp version of the VQ56 is a freaky-strong motor down low, just like the VQ40 in the Frontier. It felt every bit as punchy as anything else newer that was rated substantially higher. I’m willing to bet the new Titan with the revised 390hp version of the VQ56 is likewise a screamer.

        I’ve got nothing against the new Titan, except it succumbed to EPA-chasing and now has a really low front bumper, even with the plastic air dam removed. The old Titan had approach angle and clearance for days (for those of us who care about that stuff).

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          On Christmas Day, my parents and I drove to my Mom’s brother’s house, situated in a development on top of a steep incline, and to add insult to injury that day, several inches of snow had fallen, and the street hadn’t been plowed! As my Accord struggled and failed to get a grip on the incline, along came an older cousin of mine and his wife, mother and stepfather in his current-gen Nissan Titan.

          My parents and I parked my car at a small strip mall a mile from my uncle’s house, then my cousin and his wife came to pick us up after dropping my aunt and her husband at the house. I was impressed by that Titan — fully-loaded, including NAV, nice-feeling cloth seats and thick berber floor mats. If I was in the market for a pickup, I’d at least give that a test drive before settling on a Chevy/GMC or, more likely, a Ford. (That is, if a Ridgeline wasn’t adequate for my needs; that won’t tow much, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Honda handicaps the next iteration with a turbo four.) My cousin and his wife live in the Traverse City area of Michigan, and take part in the skiing, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities that area offers, so between that and the ever-present lake-effect snow in the area, the Titan gets good use as it was intended.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      MY brother-in-law bought an XD but that was more due to the fact that the diesel XD was marked down massively (IIRC 18k) and they gave him a great trade in price on his 2009 F150 Platinum.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    Is that 10% up for ford aluminum turbo pickups which TTAC B&B predicted will fail horribly? All the while conservative tech Chevy and Ram are only a few percentage points up.

  • avatar
    mojeimeje

    Speaking of hood ornaments. Do pick up trucks need to have their front ends conform to pedestrian crash standards like the cars have to, or that only for cars that are sold in Europe. I imagine, getting hit by a Tundra front end would hurt a lot more than a Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      They are probably not as bad as you think. Large flat front end means more surface area to spread the collision around. It is the cars with low pointy front ends that are the most dangerous- less surface area so they hurt more and they pitch the pedestrian up into the windshield (or higher depending on speed).

  • avatar
    deanst

    It’s interesting that truck buyers seem to be the most sensitive about others’ critiques – who knew they were such snowflakes?

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I’ve read that each F-150 sale nets Ford about $10K profit, which means nearly $9 billion in profit – just about what the whole company they earned in 2017. I expect the pickup contribution to total company profits is similar for GM and FCA – in other words without pickups there probably wouldn’t be any Ford, GM, or FCA (or at least the requirement of another round of bailouts).

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Not exactly. Take away 90% F-series sales and Ford is likely selling much more cars and CUV which have just as much potential for netting high profits, when combined with F- series levels of volume. Probably more so, since they’re so easy to throw together on one unibody for the entire line, shared platforms, and send down the road vs a big truck with virtually endless combinations.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        The average price of an f series is $10,000 more than the average Ford selling price, and any analysis I’ve seen suggests that the vast majority of Ford profits are indeed from the pickups. Ford’s international operations largely net out to break even recently.

        I’ve actually asked Ford investor relations a few times about the profit contributions of the pickups, but they refused to confirm what most analysts suspect.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Still Ford puts up $30K to build each F-series, which is crazy cheap for what they are, but why does everyone think if the up to 900K annual F-series suddenly vanished, so would the customers, including Ford loyalists and fleet buyers, gone from the face of the earth?

          Clearly what kills the profitability of Ford cars is lack of meaningful volume. Ford is hedging its bet with the Ranger, Bronco and other midsize SUV, but even these won’t realize much in the way of fuel saving, if at all. They’ll weigh as much as their similarly equipped fullsize counterparts thanks to steel vs aluminum.

          Either way, Ford is striking while the iron’s hot, and it wouldn’t be that hard to shift over to smaller vehicles, but keep in mind Ford is said to be hoarding billions in idle profits. I couldn’t recommend investing in Ford, but what other automaker can do that?

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Mike, 900K units that are all basically the same chassis and sheet metal with the difference between the $28,000 F-150 stripper and the $85,000 fully-loaded F-150 being mainly a few hundred dollars of leather, fancy trim, and cheap electricals. Average transaction price on the F-150 is over $40K. Contrast those figures with any of their cars/CUVs, which between the base Ford and fancy Lincoln versions probably have no more than $25,000 retail price difference, but lots more expensive differences in sheet metal, dashboards, plus the leather, trim, and electric gee-gaws, and an average transaction price that is probably not much over $30K. No way a market shift from trucks to cars nets Ford or GM or FCA anything close to the profit per unit they make on pickups. Nobody in the world is making $10K per unit in profit on a high volume CUV or car.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You’re looking at the wrong numbers. $10K per unit mean nothing without tremendous volume, and if Honda isn’t clearing $10K minimum in profits off every Accord, I don’t know how they stay in business. Remember the Accord and Camry are in the “top 12 most profitable cars” of the world without selling nearly as many cars as Ford, GM or Ram does pickups. Volume is key here. Same with producing Widgets.

            There’s nothing magic about fullsize pickup and it’s easy to forget how crazy complicated and time consuming to build they are (about endless combinations when ordered to spec) compared to unibody cars with 2 or 3 trim levels and no special orders.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Re: endless combinations: do Ford dealers, for example, stock truckloads of the mid-line trims (say, Lariat Crew Cabs with 4×4, 6-foot beds, and 2.7L EcoBoost), with only a handful of the King Ranch or whatever the top level trim is? With so many choices of trims and equipment versus the average car/S/CUV, I’d think the dealer would encourage the customer to order a truck just the way they’d like it, versus “pick a color and we’ll get you four-squared away!”

  • avatar
    brn

    I’ve learned to loathe the term “murica”.

    Therefore, I ban it from the Internet. You have 24 hours to cease and desist.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    With an average transaction price of over $40k, trucks seem to fit the derogatory term “rich man’s toy”, which is so commonly used around here.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    It’s the American way… It’s not that I need a truck. I want a truck… Nothing wrong with that as long as you can swing the payment.

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