By on November 18, 2019

Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup truck has a problem that Nissan engineers, marketers, and product planners will probably never fix.

That problem? The truck isn’t built by one of the Detroit Three automakers.

Ram, GM, and Ford each have such loyal followings that it seems like the full-size truck market is simply impenetrable. It’s not just Nissan, either – Toyota’s Tundra faces the same challenge.

To its credit, Nissan seems to understand this. Company reps say that they know that conquest sales will be tough, so they’re focused on the over half-million truck buyers (their number) that don’t really harbor any brand loyalty, as well as current Nissan owners who may be looking to move into a full-size truck.

That may just be PR speak – putting a positive spin on things is their job, after all. Then again, perhaps it isn’t. While the Titan doesn’t have the built-in brand loyalty of its Detroit rivals, it’s not a bad truck. It’s not on par with the segment’s best two – Ram’s 1500 and the Ford F-150 – but it’s ready to tangle with Chevy and GMC. On its own merits, it’s plenty competent.

(Read More…)

By on March 4, 2019

2019 RAM 1500 front quarter

I’ve long scoffed at the class of trucks often referred to “Cowboy Cadillacs,” those seemingly built for the well-heeled Texan deep within every suburban dad who wants to prove he’s the king of the bagged mulch pick-up lane at Home Depot. Loaded down either from the factory or a catalog with big wheels, low-profile tires, buckets of chrome, boastful badging, and plush leather, these rigs seemingly took everything that was good about a proper full-size truck and amplified the douche factor.

Then I drove one — this 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn. With badges illogically glorifying both Wyoming and Texas, I fully expected to be underwhelmed.

Nope. Not one bit. The newest Ram half-ton has had every possible superlative heaped on it, with good reason. This Ram is easily the best full-size truck you can buy right now.

(Read More…)

By on September 1, 2017

2017 Nissan Frontier King Cab - Image: NissanNoteworthy year-over-year sales declines were reported in August 2017 by the three lowest-volume members of America’s five-strong midsize pickup truck category. As a result, U.S. sales of midsize pickups tumbled 8 percent last month, driving their share of the overall pickup truck category down from 18 percent in August 2016 to 16 percent in August 2017.

The Honda Ridgeline, America’s lowest-volume pickup truck in each of the last two months, reported a 24-percent drop to 2,610 units. For the 2018 model year, Honda will make the all-wheel-drive Ridgeline distinctly less affordable. The GMC Canyon, which persistently and predictably generates far less showroom traffic than its Chevrolet Colorado twin, tumbled by a fifth to 2,698 sales. And the Nissan Frontier, which last year reported its best calendar year results in 15 years, continued its 2017 tumble with a 51-percent plunge to only 4,637 units, its lowest-volume month since January.

But those are low-volume midsize trucks, scarcely relevant in the overall pickup truck scheme. Total pickup truck volume rose 4 percent in August because full-size trucks jumped 6 percent, thanks mainly to the best-selling vehicle line in America: Ford’s F-Series. (Read More…)

By on September 20, 2016

Flint Silverado assembly plant

Shortly after the stroke of midnight, Jerry Dias and the rest of the Unifor-GM bargaining committee sat down in front of reporters immediately after marathon negotiations. Dias, the president of Unifor, was elated.

“I am pleased to announce to our members … that we have found a solution for your facilities,” he said to Oshawa workers through the media and the press conference live stream.

Indeed, Oshawa was saved.

That’s not to say there won’t be some pain — the Consolidated Line at Oshawa will still close on schedule in 2017 when GM begins production of a redesigned Equinox, and the union made some pension concessions — but, at least for now, the clouds have parted over one of Canada’s longest-standing auto-producing towns.

Yet, the announcement raised more questions as it answered. And there are two major unknowns yet to be revealed: the products allocated to the Oshawa and St. Catharines plants.

(Read More…)

By on September 20, 2016

2015 Ford F150

Are the economic successes of Wall Street not being passed down to Main Street? Are concerns over the future post-November direction of the country fostering caution in the minds of consumers? Did certainty regarding forthcoming autumn incentives postpone summer purchases?

And might the benefits of a burgeoning midsize pickup truck class finally be inhibiting demand for full-size pickup trucks?

Whatever the reason, U.S. sales of full-size pickups declined in the summer of 2016 after growing much faster than the overall market coming out of the recession.

In fact, in August 2016, all six nameplates in the category produced fewer sales than they did one year earlier. During the same period, sales of midsize pickup trucks jumped 39 percent. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2016

2015 Ford F-150

The folks in Dearborn are right chuffed about the F-150’s latest crash results — so much so that they sent out embargo materials to a number of outlets, including us (thank you!), to make sure we get the story straight.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the F-150 SuperCab — in addition to the SuperCrew tested last year — is now a Top Safety Pick, when equipped with optional forward collision alert. Ford is the only brand awarded as such in the segment.

The latest round of tests comes after Ford was caught with its pants down last year. Those tests found that not all F-150s were created equal when it came to withstanding the dreaded small overlap frontal crash test.

This year, it’s more of the same — but the trucks behaving badly aren’t Fords.

(Read More…)

By on October 12, 2015

2016 Chevrolet SilveradoNot since 2009 has General Motors ended a calendar year with more total pickup truck sales than Ford. Moreover, not since 2009 have General Motors’ full-size pickup trucks, combined, outsold the Ford F-Series.

As GM’s current generation of pickup trucks overcame their slow start and GM added midsize pickup trucks to their fleet – and as Ford entered a transition phase between old F-150 and new aluminum-bodied F-150s – 2014’s results were close. Yet even in those circumstances, Ford Motor Company sold 1,000 more pickup trucks than General Motors in the United States last year.

2015 is very, very different. As Ford gradually ramped up F-150 availability for much of the year and as the clear-out of remaining last-gen models ended, total F-Series sales slid 2.4 percent through the first half of this year. Meanwhile, GM’s full-size twins are stealing market share, not just from the F-Series, but from the Ram P/U range, as well. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2015

silverado

Full-size pickup truck sales improved by a modest 3.1% as the U.S. auto industry climbed 4.6% in April 2015.

As a whole, the pickup truck category increased its sales at a faster clip than the overall industry, rising 7.8% thanks to 46% gains from small/midsize pickups, vehicles which accounted for 15% of all pickup truck sales in April 2015, up from 11% at this time a year ago. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2015

toyotatundraForecasts suggested that U.S. new vehicle sales would decline in March 2015, but the auto industry reported a slight uptick compared with March 2014. The moderate 0.5% improvement occurred despite a 4% passenger car sales decline and a 0.6% drop in full-size pickup truck sales.


• GM truck increase contrasts with overall GM decline

• Ram truck decrease contrasts with overall FCA improvement


Granted, the March decline for full-size trucks was slight; the F-Series, Ram, Tundra, and Titan decreases were nearly completely counteracted by a GM increase.

(Read More…)

By on January 7, 2015

2015 ford-f150 rouge factoryPickup trucks soared to their highest total of 2014 during the month of December, climbing 18% to 237,635, equal to 14% of the overall auto industry’s new vehicle volume. Truck sales jumped 6% to 2.3 million in 2014.


• GM twins outsold F-Series in December

• F-Series outsold GM twins in 2014

• Ram makes biggest market share gains


Full-size trucks generated 88.9% of all pickup sales activity in December, down from 90.1% a year ago as General Motors contributed more than 5500 Colorado/Canyon sales to the mix, strengthening the small corner of the market held by small/midsize pickups.

Led by big GM improvements, the full-size sector grew by 30,522 units last month. The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra combined to outsell the Ford F-Series, as it transition to a 2015 F-150, by 6918 units. Joining GM’s surge, Ram P/U sales shot up 32% to 44,222 units, making December the third month in 2014 that Ram sales shot beyond the 40K mark. (Read More…)

By on November 4, 2014

2015 Ram 1500Overall pickup truck sales jumped 10.1% in the United States in October 2014 as six full-size nameplates collectively grew 9.5%. Growth in the overall truck world was aided by 2158 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon sales (up from 34 a year ago), a 1326-unit improvement from the Nissan Frontier, and the Toyota Tacoma’s 5% increase. (Read More…)

By on October 30, 2014

Nissan Titan Cummins Holset M2 Two-Stage System with Rotary Turbine Control

When the next-gen Nissan Titan rolls up to the stage at next year’s Detroit Auto Show, the full-size truck will have a big oil-burner with enough sequential firepower to put all on Truck Mountain on notice.

(Read More…)

By on October 2, 2014

2014 Chevrolet SilveradoAs is the norm, Ford’s F-Series topped September 2014’s sales charts, but if a true winner was to be crowned after a quick glance at the results tables, Chevrolet’s Silverado must surely take the cake.

Not only did Silverado sales rise more rapidly than any other pickup truck – faster than the Ram’s 30% jump; better than the Nissan Frontier’s 47% rise – but the Silverado also powered General Motors to a second consecutive F-Series-besting month. (Read More…)

By on September 16, 2014

2015_Toyota_TRDPro_Tundra_007

After its makeover for the 2014 model year, the 2015 Toyota Tundra has gained a few more tricks up its sleeve, beginning by going all in on V8 firepower and losing the V6 due to the latter’s take rate of less than 5 percent.

(Read More…)

By on September 4, 2014

2014-Ram-1500-diesel-grille-450x337In an auto market which somewhat unexpectedly grew 5.5% in August 2014, sales of full-size pickup trucks jumped 8.8%. This increase occurred in spite of 3006 fewer sales from the segment’s best-selling vehicle line, Ford’s F-Series, which is fading slightly as ordering for the new 2015 F-150 begins.

Ram’s truck range was up 33% to more than 40,000 units, the second time in six months that the Chrysler Group/FCA has sold more than 40,000 Ram pickups in a single month. Not since 2003 have this many Ram trucks been sold during the month of August. Year-over-year, Ram’s share of the full-size truck segment grew by more than four percentage points. (Read More…)

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