Sales of Large Pick-up trucks in the US were up 5.2% in 2015 to 2,187,703 units, and 35.6% of those sales were the best selling vehicle in the US for 35 years running: the Ford F-series. However, as the F-series suffered from slow summer sales due to the change-over to the new, aluminum-bodied generation, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra duo combined outsell their main rival for the first time since 2009. The two GM trucks are the only ones to gain share in the segment. Still, a 4% increase to over 780,000 Ford pick-up trucks is the highest volume for the nameplate since 2006, but a long way from the almost 940,000 sales in 2004.
The Silverado has peaked in 2001 with 716,000 sales, but last year was the first time in 8 years that the model tops the 600,000 sales again. However, the Sierra was less than 5,500 sales below its 2005 record of 229,488 sales, underscoring the increasing importance of the GMC brand for General Motors in recent years, not only in sales, but more importantly in profitability as GMC models usually command a price premium of a few thousand dollars over their Chevy counterparts. Especially the Denali premium line plays nicely into the soaring demand for high-end pick-up trucks, as Ford has launched a Limited version of the F-150 that starts at about $60,000 and can easily top $70,000 when loaded with options, while about half of RAM Pickup trucks sold (including heavy-duty models) are priced above $50,000, compared to just 1 percent in 2009 when it became a stand alone brand.
The RAM pick-up truck in third place of the segment scores its highest sales ever, including the time when it was sold as the Dodge Ram. Its 451,116 sales are just enough to top its previous record of 449,371 sales in 2003. It’s undoubtedly helped by the EcoDiesel version, the only diesel light-duty pick-up truck in the segment and therefore the most fuel efficient full-sized pick-up truck. These figures also support Sergio Marchionne’s decision to drop its unsuccessful and unprofitable sedans in favor of more trucks.
The Toyota Tundra is stable at just below 120,000 sales, still well ahead of the Nissan Titan which is being replaced in 2016. The all-new Titan aims for a higher share of the full-sized pick-up truck segment than its predecessor, which topped out at 86,000 sales in 2005, or 3.55% of the segment. A new Titan XD version fills a gap between light-duty and medium-duty pick-up trucks, catering to buyers looking for a little more hauling capability without needing a large, expensive gas guzzler. Its Cummins V8-diesel will also appeal to a certain group of buyers, so while Nissan concedes they won’t be a true Detroit-3 competitor in this segment anytime soon, they might actually have found themselves a nice niche in the market where the others haven’t gone yet.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off