Sales in the Large Pickup segment grew by 5.7% in the first quarter of 2017, which again beats the overall market, just like it did in all of 2016. And thanks to the crisis in the midsized sedan segment, US consumers (and businesses) bought more full-sized pickup trucks in Q1 2017 than they bought midsized sedans, until not long ago the bread-and-butter segment of the US car market. That means this segment, with only 6 players, it the second largest segment in the market. In fact, just the four top selling large pickups sold over half-a-million units in the first quarter, more than the entire 17-vehicle midsized car segment. Last year, the segment recovered to 2006 levels after gaining volume for 7 straight years and it look like low gas prices are going to give it an 8th year of growth, even though the only product news in the segment is the new-for-2016 Nissan Titan.
Highlights in Q1 2017:
- Nobody expected the Ford F-series not to lead the segment it has dominated since 1992, and of course it remains firmly in the lead with sales up just over 10%, making it the fastest growing model in the top-5 and the biggest gainer of the entire segment in absolute terms.
- General Motors loses a bit of share as its two models Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra both sell fewer units than in the same period last year. The Silverado was even outsold by the RAM Pickup in March, an event that happens once every two years at the most.
- At +5.1% the RAM almost keeps pace with the segment average and its 22.2% share of the segment is the highest it’s ever been (except for Q1 2016). In comparison: the RAM had a share of less than 15% of the segment in 2010, so has added more than half to that figure in just over 6 years. If the RAM keeps up this pace, it’s going to break the half-a-million annual sales threshold for the very first time ever.
- The Toyota Tundra is the biggest loser of the segment at -9.1%, but that’s to be expected from a model that’s slowly starting to age and fall behind its newer competition.
The new generation Nissan Titan, now that almost all versions are available, saw its sales take off to more than triple the volume of its predecessor. Still, the Titan at half the volume of the model it’s aimed at: the Tundra. But in March, Nissan’s largest pickup hit a record figure for the current generation at over 5,500 sales, which is starting to look promising. The Japanese brand desperately needs this truck to break through as it wants to crack the US commercial fleet market. It has a full line-up of large and midsized pickups and large and small vans, so it figures there shouldn’t be a reason not to at least consider it.
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