The overall mood for 2013 in the auto industry was upbeat, and one of the bright spots was full-size truck sales, with all of the Detroit Three showing healthy year-over-year annual gains for 2013. However, at the monthly level, the picture was a bit different. Record-setting cold temperatures across much of the country kept a lot of buyers home for the month, muting gains for all the major brands, but hitting GM hardest.
Almost every model currently on sale showed a double-digit annual gain. The only exceptions were Nissan's long-in-the-tooth and soon to be replaced Titan and the discontinued GM Colorado/Canyon twins, with replacements due later in calendar 2014. With the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads still near a record high, predictions for 2014 are optimistic as well. We shall see in the months ahead.
December: 74,592, Up 8.4 Percent
2013: 763,402, Up 18.3 Percent
The F-Series continued its dominance for both the year and for December, representing the eighth consecutive month that F-Series sales have topped 70,000 units. The annual total is the best since 2006 and comfortably retains its title as the best-selling truck in America and the best-selling vehicle overall for the last 32 years. The 2015 model coming later in the year could give sales yet another shot of adrenaline.
December: 42,593, Down 16 Percent
2013: 480,414, Up 14.8 Percent
December put a chill on Silverado sales, but Chevy's full-sizer still posted a strong year-end performance, up 14.8 percent for the year. Calendar 2013 represented both the outgoing GMT 900 trucks and the new GMT K2XX trucks. Lighter, more fuel efficient, and more refined than their predecessors, the 2014 models stuck with a proven formula with noteworthy updates in powertrain, trim, efficiency, and technology.
December: 33,405, Up 11 Percent
2013: 355,673, Up 21 Percent
With ongoing updates and refinements, including the addition of an available 1/2-ton diesel engine for the 2014 Ram 1500, Ram continues to gain market share. Its ongoing powertrain upgrades, including a class-exclusive (for now) eight-speed automatic transmission, helped it win our first ever back-to-back Truck of the Year award for both 2013 and 2014. The HD models weren't neglected for 2014 either, with the 2500 models getting rear coil springs and a new 410-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine.
December: 17,854, Down 4.6 Percent
2013: 184,389, Up 17.3 Percent
December Sierra sales took a slight tumble, but GMC's full-sizer ended the year on a positive note with a 17.3-percent gain. Despite being mechanically nearly identical to the Silverado, the Sierra enjoys strong brand loyalty and sells well in regions where domestics have historically been weaker, such as the Northeast and California.
December: 12,761, Down 9 Percent
2013: 159,485, Up 12.8 Percent
Tacoma sales declined slightly in December, but Toyota's midsizer is still the undisputed segment sales king, for now. The Tacoma's market share could diminish with the introduction of the 2015 GM midsizers, but still retains a strong and loyal following, despite a dated design and few major updates since its introduction in 2005.
December: 10,988, Up 7.2 Percent
2013: 112,732 Up 10.9 Percent
Both December and 2013 were positive for the Tundra. Despite selling significantly fewer units than its domestic counterparts, the Tundra remains an important part of Toyota's overall truck strategy. Many were disappointed by the relatively minor updates on the 2014 in the face of all-new or heavily revised models from the Detroit Three, but expect an all-new model around 2017.
December: 5411, Up 46.7 Percent
2013: 62,837, Up 13.4 Percent
The Frontier has had somewhat of a roller-coaster 2013, with sales going up and down month to month. Mid-year 2013 updates, including optional navigation and repackaged trims, seem to have resonated with customers, helping the Frontier enjoy a robust December and a double-digit gain for 2013.
December: 1563, Up 0.6 Percent
2013: 17,723, Up 26 Percent
The Honda Ridgeline remains in a class of one in the midsize market with its unibody chassis and transverse powertrain. Beloved by its small but enthusiastic core of owners, the current Ridgeline will be discontinued by the end of 2014, taking a two-year hiatus, before an all-new model is expected to hit showrooms for the 2017 model year.
December: 2, Down 99.8 Percent
2013: 3412, Down 90.7 Percent
It seems almost cruel to include the Colorado's sales figures on this list, as the Shreveport, Louisiana, factory where the Colorado was produced has been shuttered for more than a year, and the whopping two models sold in December were likely just lot-sitters that have been around for just as long. But don't feel too sorry for the Colorado. An all-new 2015 model is due later in the year with a handsome, rugged design, powerful, efficient powertrains, and a segment-exclusive turbodiesel due for the 2016 model year.
December: 2, Down 99.4 Percent
2013: 929, Down 89.4
The Canyon's story for December and 2013 was much the same as with its Bow-Tie cousin. Like the Colorado, an all-new Canyon is coming for the 2015 model year, expected in showrooms in summer 2014. The 2015 Canyon will be revealed at this month's Detroit Auto Show.