By on April 4, 2019

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).

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro grey - Image: Toyota

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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52 Comments on “Were It Not for the Ford Ranger, Pickup Sales Would Have Sank Last Quarter...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I have yet to see a new Ranger in the US. Oddly, the first Ranger I saw was in Ukraine in early March.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “I have yet to see a new Ranger in the US”

      Clearly that means they don’t exist.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      There is one parked outside of my hotel right now

      • 0 avatar
        James Charles

        I have one in my driveway.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          @James Charles

          So how is yours optioned? SuperCab, or SuperCrew?

          • 0 avatar
            James Charles

            dukeisduke,
            I have a double. Ford Australia markets them as Single, Super or Double.

            We have XL, XLS, XLS, XLT, FX4, Wildtrak and Raptor models. These are not options.

            The FX4 offers no additional off road features, just bling as 4×4 pickups tend to come off the shelf with most off road gear, eg, e-locker, and all off road traction and nanny aids in all models.

            Mine cost $50 000 in Australia about $35 000 US with all expenses paid, with a 3.5 tonnes tow package, roo bar, driving lights.

            It comes standard with the 3.2 diesel. I would like to see the 2.7 Ecoboost. FE is averaging 27mpg all up. Highway driving can get 35mpg (these are US gallon).

            I know there are differences in our Ranger and the US. The US Ranger is built lighter.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I’ve seen exactly *two*, here in the pickup truck-mad DFW area. A white SuperCab that looked like it’s a work truck, and a red SuperCab wearing a paper dealer tag.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I’ve seen one out in the wild; did a double-take and had to announce it to my co-worker; who didn’t care.

  • avatar
    Jawn_Kochtowstun

    A slow ramp up for the Ranger but if you want quality over Fiats, or shivers..GM they have the midsize market covered. Imagine how good the next Ranger will be!

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      If it’s anything like the current Ranger it will be pretty bad. The Ranger isn’t that good and the sales reflect it.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        So Ford’s Full-sized offerings are class leading then by your logic. Got it.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          Very far from it. The F-150 is long in tooth and the brand new Ranger is a disaster.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            But you said the Ranger sucks and this fact is proven by sales. Yet the F Series outsells every vehicle on the planet so what does that prove? Love it or hate it, I’m just pointing out your logic (or lack thereof) is moronic, as are most of your ramblings on here.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Yet the F Series outsells every vehicle on the planet so what does that prove?”

            It proves that when you place numerous vehicles under one sales banner and combine their sales it’s easy make marketing claims of “best selling this” or “best selling that”.

            Fleet sales are a huge factor too. The Ranger won’t see nearly the percentage of fleet sales that the full size trucks will.

            You also have brand loyalty. The blind sheep that stick to one brand regardless of how much better the competition is. Reference all of GMs sales of their new trucks.

            Objectively the Ranger isn’t that good. It has a stouts powertrain wrapped in a turd. It’s a brand new truck that doesn’t even have a split folding rear seat for God’s sake.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @EBFLEX – Midsize pickup makers would love to move Fleet Sales numbers (by percentage) of Fullsize pickups. But Midsize pickups are obviously a poor value, comparatively and with non impressive fuel economy. And sometimes work/towing/etc, needs to get done too.

            But thank god, on the “retail” consumers side, a huge percent of pickup buyers hate the size of fullsize pickups (even the smallest/base 2wds).

            Hell many owners of midsize pickups feel they’re also way too big for parking at the mall, drive-thrus and what not.

            It’s all relative, but the love of pickups is natural (especially for North America), except a majority of Americans never ever want to drive a fullsize pickup/SUV, and can’t stand the thought of it.

            So the ever increasing market share for midsize pickups doesn’t have to make logical sense, since their owners were never in the market for anything else.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            You’ve never made an objective statement in the entire history of your rant postings on these virtual pages. It’s all one big pile of hater BS with very little to back it up.

            And, those who are objective, praise the Ranger universally.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Haters gonna hate.

      • 0 avatar
        James Charles

        EBFlex,
        The current Ranger outsells the Colorado by a 3 to 1 margin in Australia and is challenging the Hilux. It took a few years to get there.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    They sold 3,140 Rangers per month for the past three months.

    To say that the market would have been down had the Ranger not been on sale is ridiculous.

    You’re assuming all of those few truck buyers would not have bought anything else. Not sure of the purpose of this article or it’s title.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Of course its wrong its faint praise of a Ford. But, all the reviews of the truck agree with you, wait… they all say things like “the midsize truck to beat” and “refinement far above its competitors” and on and on. You hate it because it’s a Ford, and your rhetoric is getting tiresome.

  • avatar
    CrapBox

    sink sank SUNK

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    1) 4th quarter GDP revised downward and didn’t meet estimates
    2) Retail sales sucked 4th quarter and online didn’t pick up the full slack
    3) Oil prices are up; the largest jump in a quarter in a decade
    4) Inversion of the yield curves twice in three months
    5) Challenger and Gray report out today that employee outplacement is up 35% in 1Q19
    6) Auto loan default rates are exceeding levels seen in the Great Recession

    Now we can add pickup truck sales declined in 1Q19, which at least suggests that commercial spending and building is down (or builders see a slow down coming and have backed off spending plans)

    Unemployment numbers are a lagging indicator – they are one of the last things to swing, and typically don’t swing until a recession has already started.

    Winter is coming.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Winter is coming.”

      and the MAGA hat wearing crowd will say “Thanks, Obama!”

      • 0 avatar
        Scott Johnston

        And you’ll still be here after all is proven otherwise crying and reeeing like the babies you all are. Dont you have some more baby killing laws to support?

      • 0 avatar
        James Charles

        JimZ,
        Trump will blame the Fed, immigrants, Mexico, China, EU, Canadians on top of Obama. Oh and ‘crooked’ Hilary and her emails.

        He’ll also claim its fake news.

        Trump is a gutless excuse for a person. He shirked out of serving his nation. What a gutless man.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          How many folks crying about Trump being a “Draft Dodger” actually laced up a pair of their own combat boots?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Or never had a problem with Bill Clinton, who only used force to achieve penetration.

          • 0 avatar
            James Charles

            Art,
            I actually spent the better part of 2017 in the MER during the Mosul and Ar Raqqah push. I’m in the service and have proudly served defending the values most free countries hold.

            I might be from a different country, but a country that has more liberties than most any other nation. We defend freedom and support the liberty of the oppressed.

            Oddly, reading web forums and working closely with Coalition Forces has shown me that many of the right wing red neck comments on these sites is not supported by most in the US Military. They are more open minded. Something America can be proud of.

            The other challenge I observe is many of these rightwing rednecks have not serve but talk big. Maybe they should experience reality instead of acting like their draft dodging Moron in Chief.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            James BigHeadShovedDownUnder, lying isnt going to work no matter what screen name you use. You might be from another country? You already admitted that you arent, so why try to lie again now? You’re just a self-hating disgruntled American slob who needs to GTFO if you hate this country, its people, its president and its vehicles as much as you clearly do.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Congrats James. I did 20 years to include time in a combat arms job over 3 deployments. There are very few “right wing rednecks” in the US military. Much of the love for Trump stems from the fact that we spent nearly 20 years at war and for most of that time we seemed to be fighting for a tie at best. Trump’s “fight to win or don’t fight” resonated, and rightly so. People that have deployed 3, 4, and more times and lost friends only to go back and lose more friends and see it worse than the last time they were there were angry. I got blown up clearing routes for the trucks hauling McDonalds crap to the FOBbits. I was pissed. I was not alone.

          • 0 avatar
            James Charles

            To the Moderators,
            Can you please rein in Mr Taurus and Mr Mike.

            Their contributions are more akin to trolling.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      There are countervailing arguments to all of you points. Other analyses can point to a period of retrenchment and rebalancing after nearly three years of growth, but not a dip, and certainly not a recession.

      Climatic winter will arrive in December, but in the meantime, China is experiencing a huge squeeze that can be solved by either more stimulus or a trade agreement, and the Chinese goverment has ruled out more stimulus for its debt-laden economy. That’s just one development that can change the equation, and like Groucho’s principles, there are others.

      There’s always another cassandra predicting a crash just around the corner. The few who were right were more closely related to blind squirrels than Nostradamus.

    • 0 avatar
      James Charles

      APaGttH,
      I’m afraid you are quite right.

      A double whammy for not just the US economy are the Trump induced trade wars. There negative impacts will be felt.

      Another interesting point is the low number of new vehicles sold in the US during the 2018 peak. 17 million. The US population has increased 15% since the last time vehicle sales hit 17 million.

      The 2018 vehicle sales peak should of been nearly 20 million. The 17 million was supported by very low interest rates and massively extended loan terms.

      The US isn’t as healthy as many think. Wages are stagnant.

      Most growth is QE money.

      Workforce participation is a lagging indicator.

      Expect the US to be in recession some time in 2020. A bad moon is arising, and a beanhead an economic illiterate and poor businessman is at the helm in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Yay! Financial discussions are much more interesting than politics (albeit not entirely disassociated with it).

      TTATE: The Truth About The Economy

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Gents, lets leave the political talk for another post. You all have plenty to choose from, even from this site – sadly. If I were in the midsized pickup market, I would absolutely give the Ranger an honest look. I have owned a Ranger in the past, waaaay back in 2002. I’ve also owned two Tacoma’s since then. Let’s be glad we have choices. For a chunk of time we had slim pickings in the midsized offerings.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I know, right? So many other sites for political venting, can’t we just talk about bipartisan cars and trucks without trying to determine how they voted and what the political position of the new Ranger is

    • 0 avatar
      James Charles

      Ryan,
      The US motor vehicle industry is heavily dependent on government interference, protection and handouts.

      US Pickups is the most protected vehicle market segments in the OECD.

      So, I can see the connection between politics and this article.

      Now, if the article was a review, then I’d expect much more commentary on vehicle performance, price, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAF0 – What “interference, handouts and protections”?

        Can you explain this instead of endlessly carpet bombing this site with unfounded, totally fabricated BS, like hate mail to the US auto industry, which btw mostly includes Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc, then as always, scampering off before questioned?

        Btw, the Tundra, Titan, Frontier and Ridgeline pickups are just as “protected” any others.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Maybe, just maybe the ginormous pickup truck craze has peaked?
    The “Mid sized” trucks are as large as the standard ones were years ago. Perhaps that is a reason they are gaining in sales.
    As to the prices of these new vehicles, it certainly seems lots of people choose to purchase them, even as there are many other vehicle models that are absolutely competent at getting people and a modicum of goods from point A to B that cost half or less than supersized superpriced trucks.
    I am going to risk getting flamed, but IMHO a majority of giant pick up truck purchases are based on vanity rather than objective need. If someone really wants to sink 50K plus multi-year interest on vanity, more power to them. The big three’s survival laregly depends on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Pretty easy to sink 50 large into a midsized truck. Personally my F 150 XLT SuperCrew was 36k. Not sure what the ATP is on Full-sized trucks, but I think people really inflate what most people pay.

      My truck works when I’m driving it though. If it was about vanity, I’d buy a Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        Art Vandelay

        The ATP (on full-size pickups) are closer to the mid 40’s. At least that’s what I read.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          By very definition, ATP is what people are willing to pay. If lots of people want loaded out trucks, that does not mean every single truck for sale new today is heavily optioned and starts at $40k.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “The “Mid sized” trucks are as large as the standard ones were years ago.”

      WRONG! Please prove this, because you absolutely cannot do it. A new Ranger is smaller than a 20 year old F-150. How far back do we need to go to make your statement true? Maybe before there were extended cabs and crew cabs, so you can unfairly compare them with modern non-regular-cab trucks? Or back to the Model TT. There we go. By golly, nothing else in the automotive world has grown in the last 100 years, why have trucks?! For shame.

      “but IMHO a majority of giant pick up truck purchases are based on vanity rather than objective need. ”

      Ahh, so you ONLY buy what you need and nothing more. So, which is it? Base model Versa or Mirage?

      “I am going to risk getting flamed”
      How? By spouting off misinformation to support your own opinions? Nahh. Nobody would catch that.

  • avatar
    starskeptic

    Would have sank?
    YIKES!

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    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.


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