Depending on what truckmaker you were, October was either trick or treat. After a disappointing September, the sales pace for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra picked up considerably for October, and Ram roared back with another double-digit gain for the month. After months of unusually high percentage gains from its tsunami and earthquake-related recovery, the sales pace for the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra have normalized somewhat, but both still had double-digit gains for October from the year prior.
Things were not quite as promising for Nissan, with the Frontier and Titan both taking a double-digit dip in October. Likewise, GM's midsize twins, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, both took a double-digit hit, with the design showing its age, and many potential customers likely holding out for an all-new model due within the next year or so.
1. Ford F-Series - 56,497, Up 7.6 Percent
After a miniscule 1-percent gain in September, October looked a lot better for the F-Series. The 2013 models offer several new trim levels and options that buyers can select from, likely contributing to the stronger numbers. The F-Series year-to-date performance is strong as well, up 10.9 percent over 2011.
2. Chevrolet Silverado - 38,739, Up 5.7 Percent
The Chevrolet Silverado took a double-digit nosedive in September, and although its gains for October don't completely make up for the loss, an upward trajectory is a welcome sign. With its 2014 models less than a year away, expect GM to offer incentives for the remainder of calendar 2012 and into early 2013 to clear out existing inventory to make way for the all-new models in the spring.
3. Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 - 25,973, Up 6 Percent
With its comprehensively refreshed 2013 Ram 1500 starting to roll into dealer showrooms, the pace picked up for October by a significant 20 percent. Combined with strong sales for the bulk of 2012, Ram's year-to-date performance is also up 20 percent over last year. When the revised 2013 HD models start coming off the trucks in the first quarter of 2013, expect Ram sales to get an additional shot in the arm.
4. GMC Sierra - 14,568, Up 9.0 Percent
The Sierra showed a respectable gain of 9.0 percent for October. Although the Sierra did not have the huge percentage dip the Silverado did in September, it was still off 1.9 percent. The Sierra's year-to-date sales are up 5 percent overall.
5. Toyota Tacoma - 12,191, Up 19.8 Percent
After several consecutive months of gains in the 40-plus-percent range, the gains are cooling off for the Tacoma, but a 19.8-percent gain is still nothing to sneeze at. Combined with the Tacoma's strong performance for the rest of the year, year-to-date sales are up 29.5 percent.
6. Toyota Tundra - 8086, Up 24.5 Percent
Like the Tacoma, the Tundra's pace cooled off a little in October, but only slightly. Its October performance represents a 24.5-percent gain over October 2011, enough to bring its year-to-date gains up to 23 percent for 2012.
7. Nissan Frontier - 3051, Down 29.1 Percent
After eking out a half-point gain for September, the Frontier took a cliff-dive for October, down a disappointing 29.1 percent. Other than some mild detail changes, the Frontier has changed little since its introduction in 2005. Its main rival, the Toyota Tacoma, has also not undergone any radical changes during the same time, but has been incrementally refreshed over the years, giving it an edge in consumer perception. Coming up on a decade for the same basic model, the Frontier is in need of a comprehensive refresh or full redesign.
8. Chevrolet Colorado - 1612, Down 23.0 Percent
Unfortunately, the Colorado did not enjoy the same success as its big brother Silverado. October sales fell 23 percent for the month. However, the year-to-date picture is much brighter for the Colorado, with sales up 31.2 percent for 2012. An all-new Colorado based on the model sold in global markets is expected to follow close behind the introduction of the 2014 Silverado.
9. Nissan Titan - 1582, Down 25.2 Percent
October Titan sales were no better than those of the last several months, with Nissan's full-size truck badly showing its age in the face of much fresher competitors and about to face all-new models from GM. The fact the Canton, Mississippi, plant making the Titan also makes the Sentra and Altima is good news for those plant workers, as Titan and Frontier sales themselves probably could not justify keeping the plant open.
10. Honda Ridgeline - 996, Up 13.2 Percent
The original misfit in the midsize truck segment, the Honda Ridgeline continues to hang around the lot for the handful of customers it gets. Its October performance was considerably cooler than September, but still respectable, posting a double-digit year-over-year gain. Although overall volume is modest for the Ridgeline, its year-to-date sales are up a strong 52.6 percent, indicating there's still demand for this unusual trucklet.
11. GMC Canyon - 472, Down 39.3 Percent
After a positive September performance, the GMC Canyon takes a tumble once again in October. Despite its drop-in-the-bucket sales performance, GM is committed to doing a second-generation Canyon based on the new Chevrolet Colorado coming for the 2014 model year. But if you're a fan of a big engine in a small truck formula, you can still get the Vortec 5300 V-8 in the Canyon, and can probably get a smokin' deal on one, too.
12. Suzuki Equator - 135, Down 33.5 Percent.
Suzuki's rebadged Nissan Frontier with a better warranty managed to move over 100 units for October. Year-to-date sales for the model total 1561. This is still a fundamentally good, if slightly dated truck, like its near-twin Frontier.
13. Ford Ranger - 74, Down 99 Percent
We've been predicting absolute zero for the Ranger for some time now, but Ford's small-truck straggler keeps hanging in there, despite being discontinued for more than a year. But if you think the Ranger's sales total is a pittance, take a look at the next model on our list.
14. Ram Dakota - 2, Down 100 Percent
The Dakota's numbers make it look like it's a handbuilt exotic. But the reality is production stopped on Chrysler's midsize truck more than a year ago. The two units sold in October are literally a rounding error, as the decline rounded to 100 percent. Like Ford, Ram is concentrating its resources on its 1500 line, and with highway fuel economy of 25 mpg, makes a compelling case for going big.