Truck sales were generally robust for most of 2013, and going into the end of the year, the Detroit Three are keeping up the pace, with all three of the major brands showing double-digit gains over November 2012.
Even some of the smaller-volume players saw significant gains for the month, with the Nissan Frontier gaining more than 50 percent, and the Toyota Tundra posting a more than 20-percent gain for the month. As expected, the remaining Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyons are dwindling down to the single digits, but an all-new model is coming in calendar 2014 that promises to shake up the midsize market.
Ford F-Series – 65,501, Up 16.3 Percent
Ford's dominance in full-size truck sales looks like it's in no immediate danger of being substantially challenged, selling nearly double any of its competitors. As it prepares to launch an all-new 2015 F-150, Ford is in an enviably strong position with the outgoing F-150, which will continue production alongside the new model into 2015.
Chevrolet Silverado – 34,486, Up 12.1 Percent
Silverado had a respectable November, up 12.1 percent. The 2014 GM trucks are notable for their refinement, efficiency, and comfort, attributes likely making them popular with shoppers. But the combined sales of the Silverado and Sierra still don't match Ford's dominance of the truck segment.
Ram 1500/2500/3500 – 29,635, Up 22 Percent
Ram challenging the Chevy Silverado for second place may have seemed like a distant fantasy a few years ago, but with a combined November sales total of nearly 30,000 units, it could be within striking distance. Despite a significant refresh in 2013, Ram is pedal-to-the-metal on the updates, adding a light-duty diesel for 2014, rear coil springs on the 2500 models, and further updates likely for 2015.
GMC Sierra - 14,362, Up 22.5 Percent
The Sierra tops the domestic brands with a 22.5-percent November gain. Like the Silverado, the Sierra has an impressively quiet interior and ample connectivity options for mobile devices, even on basic trim levels. The Sierra Denali continues to be the trim of choice for shoppers looking for an upscale pickup without the over-the-top yee-haw image.
Toyota Tacoma – 12,601, Up 2.7 Percent
The Toyota Tacoma may be showing its age, but it's still the one to beat in the midsize segment, out-selling its next-closest rival by a two-to-one margin. Toyota's reputation for reliability and strong resale values has continued to strengthen its standing in the segment.
Toyota Tundra – 10,010, Up 20.5 Percent
It won't topple the F-Series anytime soon, but the Tundra's 10,000+ performance for November represented a 20.5-percent gain, and proves the mild refresh the truck received for the 2014 model year may have been enough to keep it fresh in the minds of truck shoppers. Its 5.7-liter V-8 is no fuel-sipping miser, but remains one of the most powerful engines in its class.
Nissan Frontier – 6003, Up 54.6 Percent
The Frontier enjoyed a strong November, up more than 50 percent year over year. Although there are no radical changes from the 2013 model, the Frontier continues to receive incremental updates with features and trim that keep it fresh and popular with shoppers. It's no sales threat to the Tacoma, but pulls its weight in Nissan showrooms nonetheless.
Honda Ridgeline – 1353, Up 4.9 Percent
Honda remains committed to its forward-thinking pickup as it enters its final model year of the current model year before a two-year hiatus. Few others have followed its example with a unibody midsize pickup, but others may eventually do so as fuel economy regulations tighten. However, manufacturers have proven body-on-frame can still be efficient, with several full-size models surpassing the Ridgeline's mediocre 15 city, 21 highway EPA rating.
Nissan Titan – 1180, Down 32.6 Percent
The current Titan continues its modest sales pace as Nissan puts the finishing touches on an all-new model that promises to have much broader appeal than the current one with its limited powertrain and chassis configurations. Among the highlights of the next model will be an optional Cummins V-8 turbodiesel engine.
Chevrolet Colorado – 6, Down 99.5 Percent
We've seen the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and like it a lot. Its styling, engineering, and features put it in an entirely different class from its unremarkable predecessor’s. The current model ceased production more than a year ago, so any sales are from leftover lot-sitters.
GMC Canyon – 4, Down 98.8 Percent
We weren't sure if a new Canyon would accompany the new Colorado, but now we know it will. Unlike the Colorado, which has a distinctly different look from its big brother Silverado’s, based on spyshots and teaser photos, the new Canyon looks like it will have a strong resemblance to the larger Sierra, with a prominent, angular grille treatment. GM promises substantial differentiation between the Canyon and Colorado, but we'll have to see if that's only in marketing-speak or substantial content differentiation.