The pickup market, especially full-size trucks, is about as predictable as the sunrise, and true to form, there were few shockers for the November 2012 sales figures. As usual, the Ford F-Series retains a comfortable lead at the top of the charts, with the refreshed 2013 model continuing to generate showroom traffic and sales.
Also as has been the case for as long as we can remember, the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram take the second and third-place spots, respectively. Further down the list, there are changes, like the Toyota Tacoma edging out the GMC Sierra for fourth place, but it's somewhat of an apples-and-oranges comparison, as the two trucks are in totally different size classes and markets.
The day of absolute zero has finally come for the Ram Dakota, with its sales total of 2 last month finally flat-lined for November. The nearly two-years-departed Ford Ranger isn't far behind, with a grand total of 28 sold for the month. Figures on the Suzuki Equator are hard to come by, with the liquidation of its U.S. auto sales operations, but it's likely around 100 moved for the month, give or take a few dozen units.
1. Ford F-Series - 56,229, Up 17.9 Percent
The F-Series sales dominance continues for November, easily outselling the combined total of Silverado and Sierra sales, and more than doubling Ram's figure for the month. The addition of several new features and trim levels on the 2013 F-150 and Super Duty further solidify its dominance. Although an all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are due out soon, the GM twins may eat into Ford's first-place margin, but are unlikely to topple it.
2. Chevrolet Silverado - 30,674, Down 10.4 Percent
After a modest gain for October, Silverado fell for November, down 10.4 percent from 2011 sales. The factories that produce the Silverado and Sierra cranked up production ahead of a planned retooling for the 2014 model, so the sales dropoff is likely attributable to the sell-down of existing inventory, which will continue until spring 2013, when the new models will hit showrooms.
3. Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 - 24,337, Up 23 Percent
November saw sales up a strong 23 percent over November 2011, likely due to the availability of the comprehensively refreshed 2013 model, with class-leading V-6 fuel economy and a new eight-speed transmission, in addition to new tech features and conveniences. A revised HD model is due later in calendar 2013, which will likely continue the strong growth trajectory for Chrysler's truck line.
4. Toyota Tacoma - 12,272, Up 26 Percent
Toyota's popular midsizer upstaged the GMC Sierra for November to take the fourth-place spot, and showed a robust 26-percent gain over November 2011. The Tacoma has received incremental upgrades since the current model's introduction in 2005, but consumers have still voted with their checkbooks to keep it on top of the midsize class.
5. GMC Sierra - 11,726, Down 2.0 Percent
The Silverado's 'professional-grade' sibling slipped a notch to take the number five spot for November. Although not the sales goliath the F-Series or even the Ram is, the Sierra is an important model for GM, appealing to a different buyer than Chevrolet. The introduction of the coming 2014 model will be significant, with GMC representatives claiming more differentiation from the Silverado models, but we expect most key specifications to remain nearly identical between the two.
6. Toyota Tundra - 8309, Up 31.6 Percent
The Tundra may be no threat to Detroit's full-size dominance, but against its chief rival, the Nissan Titan, it's a strong player that is now approaching a decade with minimal changes. Up a big 31.6 percent over November 2011, the Tundra's greater variety of powertrains and configurations over the Titan has given it a solid following.
7. Nissan Frontier - 3882, Down 10.2 Percent
The Frontier is one of our favorites in the midsize class, with an eager, fun-to-drive personality and straightforward functionality. But it has never approached the Tacoma's level of sales, and November was no different. We expect an all-new model within the next two to three years, likely to share a chassis with the global Navara model, as the current model does.
8. Nissan Titan - 1750, Down 18.5 Percent
The fact that the Titan has consistently resided on the bottom half of our list should come as no surprise, considering its limited configurations available in a class characterized by mind-boggling a la carte configurability, and rather thirsty engine. Nissan's big pickup received a mild update for 2013, but no major changes. We still await an all-new model within the next two model years.
9. Chevrolet Colorado - 1327, Down 32.9 Percent
The Colorado has remained a bit player in the pickup market for most of its existence, but GM is hoping to change that with the introduction of an all-new model in the coming year. Consumers showed their relative disinterest in Chevy's midsizer with a tepid November, down 32.9 percent from November 2011.
10. Honda Ridgeline - 1290, Up 38 Percent
Honda's ultra-niche Ridgeline had a surprisingly strong November, and although its sales in absolute terms barely move the needle, monthly sales in four-digit territory are cause for celebration for Honda. A refresh for 2013 adds a standard rearview camera and other conveniences.
11. GMC Canyon - 330, Down 28.6 Percent
The all-new 2014 Canyon is likely eagerly anticipated by GMC dealers, who moved a mere 330 for November, down almost 30 percent from November 2011. GMC surprised many by committing to a second-generation Canyon, with its miniscule sales figures causing many to predict its discontinuation.
12. Ford Ranger - 28, Down 99.6 Percent
Even approaching two full model years since its discontinuation, Ford continues to move a handful of Rangers to customers that are fans of the Ranger's compact packaging. But the end is probably near for Ford's pickup orphan. Unlike GM, which will sell a second-generation Colorado, Ford is steadfastly committed to the F-Series for its U.S. lineup.
13. Ram Dakota - 0, Down 100 Percent
OK, last month the Dakota was down a statistical 100 percent, but this month, it's an actual figure. Exactly zero reported sales for the Dakota were tallied for November. Starting with next month, we can drop the dearly departed Dakota off the list.
14. Suzuki Equator -??
With the shuttering if its U.S. auto sales operations, sales figures are hard to come by for any Suzuki models. Last month, 135 units moved off the lots. A three-figure sales rate is likely until existing inventory is sold off.