Trucks have been hot for most of 2013—and the first quarter of 2013 so far—and that pace is keeping up. But the biggest story for March has got to be the sales upset between Ram and the Chevrolet Silverado. For the first time in recent memory (if ever), Ram trucks collectively out-sold the Chevrolet Silverado lineup by 285 units. The Silverado has long held the safe, but distant Second Place title to the Ford F-Series, which once again, is on top for the month.
Combined Silverado and Sierra sales put GM ahead of Chrysler collectively in truck sales, but there's no doubt the prosecco bottles are popping in Auburn Hills. The Sierra itself had a strong March with 16,863 units sold, up 22 percent year-over-year. Another big percentage gainer in March was the Toyota Tundra, which saw a 25-percent gain. Without further ado, here's the March sales roundup.
1. Ford F-Series, 70,940 - Up 5.1 Percent
The F-Series may not have been up that big in percentage terms, but when you enjoy as comfortable a sales margin as Ford, it's still a good month. Although not yet in showrooms, the buzz and news coverage on the new 2015 F-150 is keeping consumer interest up and, based on the spyshots we've seen, a new Super Duty is in the works as well, with the 2015 Power Stroke diesel getting a substantial power bump up to 440 hp and a whopping 860 lb-ft of torque.
2. Ram 1500/2500/3500 - 42,532, Up 26 Percent
It may be Second Place this month, but Ram's pickup sales are the headline for March, with the total surpassing that for the Chevrolet Silverado by 285 units. The Ram 1500's back-to-back Truck of the Year awards, plus the introduction of the new EcoDiesel and class-leading base V-6 fuel economy are all getting buyers' attention. It remains to be seen if Ram can keep the momentum up, but there's no question Ram is a legitimate and serious player in the fullsize truck segment.
3. Chevrolet Silverado – 42,247, Up 6.8 Percent
The Silverado came oh so close to maintaining its Second Place spot for the month but was shown up by a surprisingly strong sales performance by Ram. One month's lead does not translate to an overall victory and, year-to-date, the Ram still trails the Silverado by more than 10,000 units. If Ram can keep up its sales momentum and widen its margin, a new pecking order may be in the making.
4. GMC Sierra - 16,863, Up 22 Percent
The combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra keep GM solidly in Second Place for overall truck sales, and it will take Ram a long time, if ever, to surpass the combined total. The Sierra remains a valuable brand for both GM and the GMC brand, selling well in markets where imports have traditionally been strong.
5. Toyota Tacoma – 14,445, Down 5.0 Percent
The Toyota Tacoma may be down for March, but it's still comfortably in First Place among midsize trucks. The Taco will be facing new competition later this year in the form of the new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks, which combined, could topple the Tacoma, but it will likely take the better part of a year for the Chevy to come close to challenging the Tacoma's sales dominance.
6. Toyota Tundra – 11,589, Up 25 Percent
The Tacoma's sales trajectory may be a little flat, but big brother Tundra is doing quite well, with sales up 25 percent for March. The refreshed 2014 model brought few mechanical changes but did feature an extensively updated interior with improved ergonomics and materials. Like the Tacoma, the Tundra will soon get a new challenger in the form of the redesigned Nissan Titan packing an optional Cummins 5.0L turbodiesel V-8.
7. Nissan Frontier – 7,140, Up 4.7 Percent
The Frontier's sales chart has often looked like a roller-coaster ride, with some months up and others down. The last few have been good for the Frontier, and March was positive, if modest, with a 4.7-percent gain. The GM midsize twins will pose a formidable challenge to both the Frontier and Tacoma and, with GM's bigger dealer network, will probably blow past Frontier's sales in a matter of months after it rolls into showrooms.
8. Honda Ridgeline – 1,538, Down 10.2 Percent
Honda's midsize truck entry has never been a serious sales threat to anybody but enjoys one of the highest owner-loyalty rates in the industry, and has a passionate, enthusiastic owner base. Honda is hoping to get legacy buyers, as well as tempt a few newcomers with the redesigned Ridgeline coming sometime in 2016.
9. Nissan Titan – 1,314, Down 36.9 Percent
The Nissan Titan is showing its age, coming up on 10 years without a substantial redesign. It was competitive when it was introduced but has now been far overshadowed by more powerful, more modern, and more efficient competitors, and the field is only getting more competitive. Expect things to change when the redesigned Titan hits the road in less than a year, but there's no doubt Nissan has a lot of ground to make up.
10. Chevrolet Colorado – 2, Down 99.6 Percent
We almost feel guilty about reporting the current Colorado's sales when we know that an infinitely better replacement is on the way. The outgoing model has been out of production for more than a year but still finds enough incremental sales to keep from completely flatlining.
11. GMC Canyon – 1, Down 99.4 Percent
The Canyon, like the Colorado, is soon to be replaced with a superior successor and is already getting positive comments for its mini-Sierra styling and more powerful and efficient engines. We can't wait to drive it.