February 2013 Pickup Sales: F-Series Comfortably in Lead, Silverado Surges, Ram Cools
Major Players Unchanged; New Colorado, Canyon Can't Come Soon Enough
It's been said that pickups are the heart and soul of America, and as usual, the full-size domestic models take their usual places on the list. The F-Series and Silverado both had double-digit February gains, with the sales pace slowing slightly for the Ram, but still up a modest 3 percent.
Further down the list, the Nissan Frontier had another down month, and the current Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon continue their spiral into irrelevance as dealers and customers await the arrival of all-new models for 2014. The long-in-tooth Nissan Titan ticked up slightly for the February, but still moved a tepid 1634 models for the month.
Ford F-Series - 54,489, Up 15.3 Percent
It's good to be king, and the F-Series is once again comfortably seated on the first-place throne. Sales are up 15.3 percent over February 2012. Although all-new models from Chevrolet and GMC are just months away, Ford isn't letting the grass grow between its toes, showing the Atlas concept at the 2013 Detroit show, as well as some cladded prototypes roaming Michigan roads, indicating an all-new F-150 may be near. An all-new Super Duty model is also expected sometime in 2015.
Chevrolet Silverado - 41,634, Up 28.9 Percent
February continued the double-digit gains from January for the Silverado. But those gains were likely fueled by generous leasing, rebate, and finance offers, with such sweeteners as 0-percent APR for up to 72 months, or $3000 cash back. GM had hoped to avoid over-reliance on these special offers as it ramped up production on the outgoing model in anticipation of the factory re-tooling for the 2014 model, but over-anticipated demand, leaving it with a glut of inventory. If you don't necessarily need the latest and greatest, but still have the need for a new truck, now would be a great time to buy a 2013 Silverado.
Ram 1500/2500/3500 - 23,289, Up 3 Percent
Ram pickup sales were roaring through much of 2012, with seemingly non-stop double-digit gains. February 2013 shows a decidedly different picture, with a modest 3 percent uptick year over year. But unit sales are still respectable, and will likely show a surge later in the year, once the Ram 1500 diesel arrives in showrooms, which will have an half-ton segment exclusive diesel option (for now). Final power and economy figures haven't been announced, but we're expecting output to match the Grand Cherokee's 240 hp and 420 lb-ft, and highway figures as high as 26-28 mpg.
GMC Sierra - 14,133 Up 25 Percent
The Sierra takes its usual third-place spot for February, with sales up 25 percent year over year. However, as is the case with the Silverado, the brisk sales pace did not come without GM throwing a few goodies to potential buyers. In addition to sales and leasing incentives, GMC introduced a short-term maintenance plan for the Sierra 1500. The all-new 2014 model should be in showrooms within the next few months, but the deals on the remaining 2013s should continue well into spring.
Toyota Tacoma - 12,644, Up 18.5 Percent
The Tacoma continues its status as the best-selling midsize pickup model, and for now, has no real competition from a sales volume standpoint, outselling the Nissan Frontier by an almost five-to-one margin. Things could change with the introduction of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, but we don't expect the tables to turn until GM's new midsizers generate some sales momentum.
Toyota Tundra - 7306, Up 15.5 Percent
The Tundra still doesn't keep Detroit up at night, but has established a comfortable niche for itself in the fulls-ize market. A 2014 refresh was previewed at the Chicago auto show, and while many expected some major mechanical changes, most of the updates were in the areas of exterior styling and interior details. Sales were up a respectable 15.5 percent year-over-year.
Nissan Frontier - 2736, Down 35.4 Percent
The first few months of 2013 have not been great for the Nissan Frontier, with sales being down more than 30 percent year-over-year for January and February. Nissan recently announced a major price adjustment for the Frontier, dropping prices by more than $1000 on certain models, as well as adding new premium features such as an available navigation system on the up-level SL and Pro-4X models. Although undeniably showing its age, the Frontier continues to be a good value in the midsize market, and gets our nod for being one of the most fun-to-drive pickups.
Nissan Titan - 1634, Up 3.7 Percent
With sales totals as low as the Titan's, one wouldn't blame Nissan for pulling the plug on its full-size truck, but company executives have boldly proclaimed they're leaving "nothing off the table" with the next-generation Titan. This includes a much broader lineup with an entry-level V-6, regular-cab model, and even the possibility of a three-quarter or one-ton model, as well as a possible diesel option. It will probably be calendar 2014 until we see a production version of the new Titan unveiled.
Honda Ridgeline - 1301, Down 5.0 Percent
Honda's unique unibody entry into the pickup market is often overlooked in our roundup, and it's certainly no CR-V in terms of sales dominance for the brand, but it continues to have its fans, and Honda moved 1301 Ridgelines for February. That's down 5 percent year over year, but still greater than the combined total of GM's midsizers.
Chevrolet Colorado - 828, Down 76.6 Percent
The Colorado continues its double-digit decline for February, and like the previous month, failed to break the four-figure sales mark. Although the Colorado and sibling Canyon continue to hold the distinction of being the only midsize models available with V-8 power, it seems that combination has fallen out of favor with midsize buyers, with most looking for economy in this segment, and V-8 intenders moving up to full-size models. The 2014 model promises to be a major improvement in almost every conceivable measure, and dealers are likely counting the days until the new Colorado arrives.
GMC Canyon - 180, Down 83.1 Percent
The Canyon, like the Colorado, holds the dubious distinction of selling on average, less than one unit per dealership for the month. Some thought that the Canyon would be dropped with the upcoming Colorado redesign, but GMC dealers lobbied hard enough to get a next-gen Canyon on the docket. The new model promises to be a major improvement, but it will take a while for GM's midsize twins to rival the segment-leading Tacoma.