As spring ever so slowly warms up, several truckmakers are showing signs of solid growth. Both of GM's truck brands (Chevrolet and GMC) had a good April, even though corporate executives have gone through several rounds of congressional investigations during the last two months regarding ignition switch recalls.
Likewise, Ram continues its strong (meaning double-digit) push into the full-size truck market, closing in on second-place nameplate Chevrolet. Finally, some prognosticators are a little disappointed with Ford, seeing only slight gains for the month and just a 4 percent gain for the year so far.
Several of the big automakers are predicting that between 16 and 16.4 million total units will be sold in the U.S. by the end of the year. However, that could depend on what happens to the economy and the price of fuel as we move into summer. As long as leading indicators like housing starts and the construction industry remain relatively flat, don't expect to see truck sales making a big leap anytime soon. Still, there's plenty to be hopeful about with some surveys seeing more optimism from contractors, and select models like the Nissan Frontier taking full advantage of the situation (up 36 percent for the year). Toyota may even get a small bounce — due to all the media attention — from its decision to relocate several of its corporate groups, including headquarters in California, to Texas, where it builds its pickups.
Regardless of how sales play out by year's end, we're likely to see more attention given to truck-market numbers as all-new models like the 2015 Ford F-150 and the midsize pickups from GM (Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon) go on sale later this year.