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

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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  • 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.

  • Islander800 That is the best 20-year-on update of the Honda Element that I've ever seen. Strip out the extraneous modern electronic crap that adds tens of thousands to the price and the completely unnecessary 400 pd/ft torque and horse power, and you have a 2022 Honda Element - right down to the neoprene interior "elements" of the Element - minus the very useful rear-hinged rear doors. The proportions and dimensions are identical.Call me biased, but I still drive my west coast 2004 Element, at 65K miles. Properly maintained, it will last another 20 years....Great job, Range Rover!
  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Corey. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.