You can thank the nasty January weather across the country for keeping potential pickup truck buyers out of dealerships to start the 2014 sales year. Many truckmakers were off by as much as 50 and 60 percent when compared to December 2013. Year-end deals are popular at dealerships, but when temperatures dove into the single digits in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and snow fell in the South, people did not think about making pickup purchases, although some may have considered a block heater.
As a result, many sales prognosticators are guessing 2014 totals will be similar to 2013 numbers (approximately 15.6 million total units sold) as opposed to some early optimistic totals of more than 16 million. There are many new products coming this year (GM's Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duties and the Colorado, and GMC's Sierra HDs and Canyon), and some truckmakers are making production adjustments (like Ford's increase of Super Duty output).
The big winners this month are the Nissan Frontier, Ram and the Toyota Tundra with a much stronger January than their competitors (on a percentage basis), but then again January is typically the slowest month of the year. Although the Nissan Titan took a hard hit since a new truck is being designed, the slowest sellers are the current-gen 2014 Chevy Silverado HDs and GMC Sierra HDs. As the country thaws, we expect these numbers to start climbing, and we expect to add a new player or two by the end of the year.