If you've followed the news over the past month, or if you live in most parts of the U.S. other than perennially perfect (though parched) California, you're no stranger to the unseasonably harsh January we've had. Although new-car buyers are usually determined enough to brave a little chill, this month's weather conditions were more than many prospective buyers were willing to endure.
Consequently, both Ford and GM saw declines for January. Ford's decrease was very modest, less than 1 percent, whereas both the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado were down double digits year over year. The one exception to this trend among the domestics was Ram, which saw a robust 22-percent gain for the month. The Nissan Frontier midsizer, although small in absolute terms, had a strong January performance, up 87.9 percent year over year for January.
Ford F-Series – 46,536, Down 0.7 Percent
The F-Series still sits comfortably atop the sales leaderboard for January, but even this showroom behemoth wasn't immune to January's chilly weather. Sales were down a modest 0.7 percent month over month. As temperatures climb, expect sales to follow.
Chevrolet Silverado – 28,926, Down 18.4 Percent
Although GM has had some success with its new full-size trucks, it’s still generally lagged Ford and Ram for sales growth. However, the Silverado still enjoys a nearly 4000-unit lead over the next-closest Ram truck lineup.
Ram 1500/2500/3500 – 25,071, Up 22 Percent
If you're looking at sales growth, the star of 2012 and 2013 has to be Ram's pickup line. Aggressive product updates in both 2013 and 2014 have kept the pressure on its crosstown rivals, and consumers are realizing what compelling product attributes the new trucks have. Expect the growth trajectory to continue once the EcoDiesel models start showing up in showrooms in greater numbers.
GMC Sierra – 11,118, Down 13.5 Percent
GM's complement to the Silverado was also down slightly for the month, but not as much on a percentage basis. Redesigned HD models due later this spring should help to turn the sales arrow upward later in the year.
Toyota Tacoma – 9842, Down 15.3 Percent
The Tacoma drops below five figures for January, and also posts a decline of 15.3 percent for the month. Although still comfortably atop the charts for midsize trucks, the Tacoma will have some stiff competition later this year with the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. We don't know precisely when a new Nissan Frontier is coming, but the company has been making noises like it could be within the next two years.
Toyota Tundra – 7890, Up 12.6 Percent
Often outsold by as much as a two-to-one margin by its little brother Tacoma, the Tundra has narrowed the gap to just a little over 2000 units. Even though it sold fewer than 8000 units for the month, it showed a 12.6-percent January gain.
Nissan Frontier – 4931, Up 87.9 Percent
Although still no imminent threat to the segment sales leader Tacoma, the Frontier had a robust 87.9 percent upswing for January. The truck has received incremental updates since its debut in 2005, and we're sure shoppers were pleased by the expanded availability of seat heaters this month.
Honda Ridgeline – 1163, Down 7.1 Percent
Honda's unibody midsize oddball hangs in there, and records a 7.1-percent loss for January. The Ridgeline's unibody construction definitely has some packaging advantages, but the current model leaves a lot to be desired in fuel economy. Honda has announced a next-generation model is in the works, and will return after an approximately two-year showroom hiatus.
Nissan Titan – 887, Down 36.4 Percent
The Titan dips below 1000 units for January, as the current, long-in-tooth model winds down before the introduction of the all-new 2015 model, which is expected to be unveiled later this year. It's a good thing Nissan's Canton plant has the Frontier, Altima, and Sentra to keep it busy in the meantime.
Chevrolet Colorado – 14, Down 98.3 Percent
Ironically, the outgoing Colorado showed a slight uptick for January, 14 units compared with just two in December. An all-new model is due later in the year, and one we're sure will have a major impact on the midsize market.
GMC Canyon – 1, Down 99.7 Percent
The Canyon missed being dropped off the bottom of our list entirely by recording one solitary sale in January. Like the Colorado, an all-new replacement is due later in the year, with major improvements in economy, capability, and refinement over its predecessor.