Were It Not for the Ford Ranger, Pickup Sales Would Have Sank Last Quarter

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
were it not for the ford ranger pickup sales would have sank last quarter

As both Ford and General Motors have moved to annoying quarterly sales reporting, we’re getting into this whole “quarter” thing. Against our will, mind you, but that’s enough bitching for now.

We told you earlier how Ford’s looking smug as GM and Fiat Chrysler duke it out for second place in the full-size pickup segment (FCA’s winning), but what does the overall health of the truck market look like? As it turns out, it would look a lot worse without a new addition that showed up, fashionably late, in January.

Ford recorded 9,421 midsize Ranger sales in the first quarter of 2019, which was enough to push the overall pickup segment from a sales loss to a win. Combining medium and full-size nameplates, the segment grew by 5,736 units compared to the first quarter of last year. That’s an increase of 0.9 percent, as the industry as a whole shrunk by 3.2 percent.

Competition is fierce, but not uniform. In the full-size field, Ford (of course) enjoys the greatest market share, followed by its Detroit Three rivals. And there’s there’s little hope of Japanese automakers challenging Ram or Chevy for the second or third-place position anytime soon. The same goes for fourth-place GMC.

Put together, the Toyota Tundra (down 4.6 percent in Q1 2019) and the Nissan Titan line (down a whopping 23.9 percent) accounted for 6.6 percent of the U.S. full-size truck market, a decline from last year’s 7.3-percent segment share. Overall, full-size sales dropped 1.9 percent in the first quarter.

Midsize trucks, on the other hand, saw significant year-over-year growth in Q1, and it wasn’t all Ford’s doing. The segment grew 28.1 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, helped along not just by Ranger volume, but healthy increases at GM and Toyota.

Ford has a long way to go if it hopes to one day catch up with the segment-leading Tacoma, which saw year-over-year sales growth of 8.2 percent last quarter. Chevy’s Colorado posted a gain of 16.1 percent. All of this added volume was more then enough to compensate for slower-selling nameplates like the Nissan Frontier (down 11.4 percent), the GMC Canyon (down 3.6 percent), and Honda’s unibody Ridgeline (down 0.8 percent).

In the FCA camp, Jeep recorded 123 Gladiator sales over the first three months of 2019. Given that orders opened for the Launch Edition of that brawny beast only today, suffice it to say that no one’s currently driving that thing home unless they work for FCA or a dealer.

Once the Ranger matures and the Gladiator comes online, look out. Clearly, automakers see the midsize segment as relatively sure-fire profit generator; otherwise, the likes of Hyundai and Volkswagen wouldn’t be interested in joining the fray. To give a better idea of the segment’s growth, last quarter’s midsize truck volume was 59.5 percent higher than just three years prior, in a market 2 percent smaller.

[Image: Ford, Toyota]

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3 of 52 comments
  • Starskeptic Starskeptic on Apr 05, 2019

    Would have sank? YIKES!

  • Rick Astley Rick Astley on Apr 05, 2019

    I'm really happy that the only segments which are seeing growth are those segments which were partially created/impacted by CAFE to be safe-harbors for essentially emissions exempt vehicles. So the markets will essentially shift from the desired/intended course of fuel efficient, low/zero emissions, smaller carbon footprint small (by todays standards) cars to massively oversized, CAFE-footprint-driven, high-emissions, large carbon footprint trucks and SUV's. Well, the system is WORKING, right! Right? CAFE needs to be abolished, CAFE credit-sales need to be abolished.

    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Apr 07, 2019

      It really is a shame that would-be Prius buyers are forced into F-350s.

  • ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.