J.D. Power and Associates' June 2009 sales data shows a steep 36 percent decline in sales of full-size pickup trucks through the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2008. The data also show some surprising shifts in market share as manufacturers compete for remaining sales volume with new trucks and aggressive incentives.
J.D. Power's Power Information Network figures are unique because they break full-size truck sales out into light- and heavy-duty classes. Monthly figures released by Chrysler, Ford and GM aggregate light- and heavy-duty truck sales into a single number without revealing class splits.
According to PIN, total combined sales of light- and heavy-duty pickups reached only 513,088 units through June 2009, compared with 800,999 units sold in the first half of 2008. The best-selling brand was Ford’s F-Series trucks, with combined F-150, F-250 and F-350 sales of 173,646 units, good for 33.8 percent of the market. That’s up almost a full point from 2008, and it’s 4.6 percent more than the Chevrolet Silverado. Sales of the Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 reached 149,949 units and 29.2 percent of the market, an increase of just a third of a point versus 2008. The Dodge Ram, at 94,516 units, gained the most market share of any full-size truck. Combined sales of the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 grew by 2.3 points, from 16.1 percent to 18.4 percent. GMC, Toyota and Nissan all saw their shares of the full-size-truck market drop. The GMC Sierra fell from 10.4 to 9.8 percent, and the Toyota Tundra lost a full 2.6 points (with unit volume shrinking by almost half, from 76,516 units to 36,106 units). Nissan continues to be a marginal player in full-size trucks, as the future of its Titan half-ton remains in limbo. Nissan’s market share slid from 2.1 percent to 1.7 percent of all full-size truck sales.
Full-Size Truck Winners: Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet
Full-Size Truck Losers: Toyota, Nissan, GMC
In the light-duty segment, most domestic half-ton pickups increased their market share at the expense of Nissan and Toyota. The Chevrolet Silverado’s slice grew from 31.5 percent to 32.4 percent, continuing its reign as the best-selling half-ton pickup truck in the U.S. at 119,959 units sold. That’s probably news to some readers because, as we mentioned earlier, monthly sales figures announced by the manufacturers aggregate sales of light- and heavy-duty pickups but some news outlets incorrectly report the F-150 as the best-selling vehicle (and pickup) when they are really reporting total F-Series sales. The F-150 was able to increase share from 28 percent of the half-ton segment to 29.1 percent.
The all-new Dodge Ram 1500’s sales results deserve some special recognition. It bucks the conventional wisdom that new truck buyers wouldn’t want a Chrysler product while the company was going through bankruptcy and receiving bailouts from the federal government, and that core truck buyers prefer extra hauling capability over ride comfort – the Ram 1500 uses rear coil springs instead of conventional leafs that provide a much smoother unloaded ride but keep hauling and towing ratings the same as the old Ram 1500. The result: Ram 1500 market share increased the most of any half-ton pickup, from 13.6 percent to 15.8 percent. That 2.2 point jump is twice as much as the increase the new F-150 was able to carve out.
GMC, Toyota and Nissan all lost share, with Toyota dropping the most. The Tundra saw 3.2 points of market share evaporate in the first half of 2009 while the Sierra 1500 and Titan lost one-half point each.
Half-Ton Truck Winners: Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge
Half-Ton Truck Losers: Toyota, Nissan, GMC
In the heavy-duty segment, where only Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and GMC compete, the Ford F-250 three-quarter-ton and F-350 one-ton trucks continued to rule the pack with almost 50 percent market share and 65,868 units sold. The Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500, in second place, picked up 2.2 points of share, the only heavy-duty truck to do so. The Ram HD sold 35,916 units. Combined sales (41,004 units) of the Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD weren’t enough to catch Ford’s HD pickups. The Chevy lost .8 points and the GMC was off .9 points of share.
Heavy-Duty Truck Winners: Ford, Dodge
Heavy-Duty Truck Losers: Chevrolet, GMC