January truck sales were somewhat muted by unseasonably cold temperatures, and old man winter decided to stick around for another month across most of the country, much to the chagrin of dealers. Consequently, the truck sales figures for February are not quite as robust as some may have hoped, but several brands still managed to eke out year over year February gains. Shrugging off the bad weather altogether was Ram, which racked up a robust 26-percent gain, no doubt aided by buyer interest in the new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
General Motors Dealers are likely eagerly anticipating the return of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, with just a single unit of the outgoing model being sold between the two of them in February. But the biggest percentage gainer was the Nissan Frontier, with a huge 111.7-percent gain for the month.
Ford F-Series – 55,882, Up 2.6 Percent
The F-Series remains solidly on top of the truck hill by more than 18,000 units. It managed to post a modest 2.6-percent February year-over-year gain, despite the cold weather. Expect sales to improve with warmer weather in the months ahead, as well as an updated Super Duty and all-new F-150 coming down the pike.
Chevrolet Silverado – 36,584, Down 12.1 Percent
The Silverado has had mixed success over the last few months with its redesigned 1/2-ton and updated 2015 HD models. Although solidly second in absolute volume, Ram continues to close the gap on the Silverado, making the prospect of Ram taking second place a distant, but probable possibility sometime in the year ahead.
Ram 1500/2500/3500 – 29,303, Up 26 Percent
The hard chill hitting much of the nation in February couldn't put the freeze on Ram sales, which surged a strong 26 percent for February. The highly anticipated 1500 EcoDiesel models are starting to ship from the Warren plant, and initial interest and demand from dealers was far stronger than Chrysler had initially anticipated. Whether the interest in the 1500 diesel is a brief flash in the pan or a sustained trend remains to be seen.
GMC Sierra – 14,232 – Up 0.7 Percent
The Sierra showed a modest gain in February, likely buoyed by its popularity in Sunbelt states and the West Coast, areas that largely avoided the fierce winter weather that affected much of the country. Greater availability of the 2015 HD models in the months ahead will likely bolster results in the spring and summer months.
Toyota Tacoma – 10,942, Down 13.5 Percent
The Tacoma still dominates in the midsize class, but its margin of dominance subsided somewhat in February, with sales down 13.5 percent. The Tacoma's reign will soon be challenged by the 2015 GM twins, the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. It's unlikely that either model individually will outsell the Tacoma, but combined sales could bump the aging Tacoma off its privileged perch.
Toyota Tundra – 7923, Up 8.4 Percent
The Tundra continues to close the gap relative to its little brother, posting an 8.4-percent gain for February. Although Tundra sales are a fraction of those of most of the Detroit Three brands, they're significantly higher than Toyota’s other Japanese-brand rival, the Nissan Titan, which will get a much-needed ground-up redesign for the 2015 model year.
Nissan Frontier – 5791, Up 111.7 Percent
The Frontier was the big winner for February in percentage gains, more than doubling its sales from a year before. It's still no imminent threat to the Tacoma, but sold more than half of Tacoma volume in February. Like the Tacoma, the current Frontier is a dated design, but recent content updates have kept it popular with customers.
Honda Ridgeline – 1143, Down 12.1 Percent
Honda's loveable oddball continues to find homes, even as the current model winds down in 2014. A new model is on its way, possibly coming in calendar 2016 as a 2017 model. Based on sketches released by Honda, the new Ridgeline looks like it will have a more conventional truck profile, although the unibody, transverse powertrain, and famous in-bed trunk are all expected to carry over.
Nissan Titan – 1117, Down 31.6 Percent
The Titan's fortunes for February were pretty much the exact inverse of the Frontier, with February sales down 31.6 percent. Dealers are likely marking the days off the calendar until the all-new 2015 model rolls into showrooms. The new model will bring a much broader variety of models, including a V-6, regular cab, and an optional Cummins V-8 diesel.
Chevrolet Colorado – 1, Down 99.9 Percent
The Colorado managed to move just a single model in February, but keep in mind the line that builds the Colorado has been shut down for more than a year. GM's Wentzville, Missouri, plant is gearing up for the 2015s, and like the new Titan, dealers can't get the new Colorado soon enough.
GMC Canyon – 0
The Canyon flatlined in February, with either all the remaining inventory sold off or the fierce winter weather keeping bargain shoppers away. The handsome 2015 model will likely be a big draw for GMC dealers once it comes out later in the year, and the optional 2.8-liter turbodiesel coming for the 2016 model year is just icing on the cake.