Sales of Large Pickups in the US rose by 6% in Q2 2016 to 561,915 vehicles, after showing a 5% increase in Q1. This is one of the most important segments for the Detroit-3, with these kinds of volumes and the huge profit margins they earn on this type of vehicle. It’s a cut-throat market and the vehicles are marketed with their toughness, towing and hauling capacities and masculinity. However, with fuel economy becoming ever more important in this segment as well, Ford switched to an all-aluminum body for its thirteenth generation F-150, launched last year. And in Q2, its main rival Chevrolet first took a stab at Ford, showing TV ads where a load of concrete blocks and the corner of a toolbox are dumped into the F-150’s bed, gashing it, while the same actions in the Silverado’s steel bed result in nothing more but dings and scratches. Unfortunately for GM, the ads didn’t work as desired, with the Ford gaining 16% and the Silverado losing 3% of its volume.
Highlights in H1 2016:
- Ford F-series remains ultra dominant, showing the fastest growth and – logically – the biggest volume improvement, selling more trucks by itself than the GM twins Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra combined.
- The Ram Pickup, the only light-duty pickup available with a diesel engine, keeps closing in on the Chevy Silverado, but isn’t likely to come any closer as General Motors has just facelifted its full-sized trucks, which should give them a much-needed boost.
- Sales of the Toyota Tundra are down 10% but still way ahead of its all-new Japanese rival Nissan Titan, which should start to see its volume grow in the second half of the year, as more versions of the latest generation become available and deliveries start to gain traction. So far, Nissan has produced its high-end XD version only and the half-ton Crew Cab volume version will follow in Q3. Nissan is very serious about this truck and means business about challenging the domestic brands, it will even offer a single cab version of the Titan and Titan XD for the first time, aimed at the commercial, fleet and work truck market.