2017 Auto Sales - 'Murica Loves Trucks, and so Do Manufacturers

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

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.

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: Ford Motor Company]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 04, 2018

    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.

  • Jfk-usaf Jfk-usaf on Jan 08, 2018

    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.

  • Carsofchaos I'll stick with my 2005 Crown Victoria
  • Tassos Jong-iL Is that Prince Harry? I have not seen him and Meagan for a long time, I hope my Dear friends are well.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I would like to wish a good morning to TTAC. There has been much arguments and fighting here, and we hope today will be more peaceful.
  • Lachlan Anyone remember what happened the last time a senator named Hawley pushed a big tariff?
  • Craiger I love the people who call Musk an imbecile. As if they could even get an interview for a job at one of his companies.
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