Pickup Truck Segment at a 31-Year Low

2011 Chevrolet SilveradoAs high gas prices continue to rock the auto industry, pickup truck sales are taking it on the chin: Pickup sales as a percentage of all vehicle sales are at their lowest point since 1980, according to Wards Automotive.

Six years ago, pickups were nearly twice as popular as they are today. Full-size and small pickups made up 22.9% of all new-car sales in July 2005, instead of the 11.8% share the utility vehicles garnered last month.

The main culprits behind the drop in the popularity, besides high gas prices, include high unemployment and a dormant housing industry — those figures typically run parallel to the rise and fall of demand for pickups, Wards says.

The decline affects domestic automakers more than Japanese automakers; Korean and German automakers don’t even build pickups. Only two pickups landed on the top 10 best-sellers list for April: the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado. The Silverado, whose sales declined 0.9% for the month, fell from its typical second-place spot to fourth. When you look at the top 20 best-sellers in April, the only other truck on the list is the Ram, in 14th place, with sales up 29.4%.

Keep in mind that pickup truck sales are actually up in 2011 compared with 2010, but the increase is less than other segments — small cars, midsize cars and midsize SUVs are growing much more quickly — which is reducing the segment’s market share. Most of the drop-off in truck sales as a percentage of all vehicles comes from a lack of demand for small pickups, which haven't seen much innovation or new models since 2005 as manufacturers shifted focus to building profitable large trucks.

U.S. Pickup Segment Hits 3-Decade Low (Wards Auto)


I blame this on a lack of good small trucks.

I don't understand why people like small pickups meaning anything less than a half ton. They aren't much more fuel efficient, aren't powerful at all, the bed is extremely small, they can't handle heavy or should I say decent size loads and as long as you don't go crazy on add one and luxurt items they are not much cheaper to buy..just my opinion

Well, I bought a 2011 Tundra SR5 DC 5.7 on the 12th of January so they can't include me in this malaise of new truck sales. But if gas mileage is a deciding factor then people who have to worry about the cost of gas should not buy a pickup truck. Even small pickup trucks like the Tacoma-series with their smaller engines can have terrible gas mileage. My 2006 F150 XLT had horrible gas mileage and the 2011 5.7 Tundra is not much better. Both the Ford and GM V6 half-ton trucks also have terrible gas mileage. Given a choice between a V6 or a V8, I'll choose a V8 every time in a half-ton truck. You don't buy a truck for economy. You buy a truck for utility.

Ford is kicking major butt with the new Explorer, around here there are none on the lots and nearly every one that is on order is spoken for.

Its simple, the only people buying trucks are those who have always owned them and need them and still actually have good jobs. Guys who owned trucks just for the manliness factor aren't buying them anymore due to the high purchase price and fuel costs. Plus people are hanging onto their older vehicles much longer.

I got rid of a 2001 F150 truck myself, could not see the value in owning TWO pickup trucks and both were F150s with the largest motor available in their respective years. It was foolish for me, plus I was looking at a newer vehicle for myself anyway.

I have gotten accustomed to: "a truck is for work", therefore not needed for me in my line of work. Any work I need done, is done with my new Jeep and a trailer if it won't fit in the jeep. I only use the 1992 F150 when I need to, at least I try to do that anyway. I don't even miss driving a truck like I thought I would.......

Maybe, just maybe, Americans are getting more practical in a sense. Trucks today are vey expensive, I laughed at the Ford dealer when I went to look at a 2011 F150 STX 3.7L, told them they were nuts. Bought my a Jeep Wrangler instead for many a thousands less and sadly it will probably hold its value better if I decide to sell it. How someone could pay 40K PLUS for a truck to ride around in and not work it is beyond me, but its their money. I personally will probably not own another truck until the price gets back to reality and they decrease in size a bit.

My $.02 anyway, and Mike Levine, I agree there. Many people don't want to pay the price for a full size truck and the market lacks nice alternatives IMHO.

@ Mike Levine

I think the headline (while attention grabbing) is misleading. Pickup truck sales are NOT at a 31 year low as you later point out, its market share is. You might try something like "Pickup Truck Market Share at 31 Year Low".

I drove a pickup truck from 1993 to 2007. In 07, I traded in my truck for an suv and have owned one ever since. I'm married with two kids and one more on the way so a pickup truck for me isn't very practical and not necesary at all. My current ride is a 2011 GMC Acadia and it's a great family hauler. For most I think a truck is simply a choice, not a necessity. Most pickups on the road I notice aren't towing or hauling anything, only passengers. I don't picture myself owning a pickup again, fullsize or compact even if the gas was much cheaper.

Small pickups make sense in the city.

Parking a 19 foot truck in lots drawn up for 16 foot cars sucks. Street parking them sucks even more.

Current small trucks don't do much better on gas on the open road because they're not aerodynamic - compare the high chin on a Tacoma to the low air dams on a Silverado or F-150 - but in stop and go losing 1000+ lbs makes a big difference.

The next round of redesigns will have mileage as a focus. If a 4,800lb 4WD 4Runner on 32" tires can rate 17/22 the same tricks in a Tacoma that's 600-800 lbs lighter will rate 19/23 easy. That'll eat away a lot of fullsize sales and not just in the city.

Trucks cost too damn much anymore.

People hang on to them longer because of that.

people can say what they want i have a f150 crew cab i will never go back to a car or suv i love the truck and it serves every purpose i have ever ask, hauling, hunting, grocery shopping, take out the wife and kids, 4 wheeling, towing trailers, as far as FE i do not worry to much about it, i work hard for a living and i play even harder, unless something changes i will always drive a truck

I blame this on Obama.

Obama’s War on Oil

“If you want the lower gas prices, lower oil prices, and lower energy prices necessary for a booming economy, you are going to have to get yourselves another President.”


best article on gas prices I’ve read in months.

The only good thing about the modern compact/mid-size pickup, compared to a full-size half-ton pickup, is the smaller size for city people. Ford has proven that a full-size pickup can; cost not that much more than a smaller pickup, get almost equal fuel economy of a smaller pickup, and is capable of much more work. You certainly get a lot for your money with the new Ford F-150!

me too, I will allways have a nice American truck, you get a lot more for you $$$ and the fuel mileage is not all that bad if you drive like you should be anyways, I use the cruize control all the time up and down, just get to 25mph then go up and down one push of the button at a time . One mile per hour up or down.

"Under my plan gas prices would necessarily skyrocket." - Obama 2009

Bush leaves office: $1.63

Today under Obama: $4.00 a gallon

Mike Levine is 100% right. there is no excuse for midsize trucks not to get better economy than half-tons. They SHOULD get the same economy as their SUV counterparts, like the 4Runner Dan mentioned. Aero isn't quite as good, but thei're a little lighter.
A removable air dam (like the GMT800 had) would work great. 6speed autos behind turbo-fours could make for a really good combination. These trucks need to be under 4000# in their next version.
@Buy-Bye- I'm far from city people, but I just don't want anything that big. My 1st gen Tundra is as big as I'll ever want.

Talk about MR OBVIOUS! When gas is 4 dollars a gallon and the cost to drive trucks are costing as much as a car or truck payment, people are going to stop or delay buying trucks. People used to drive trucks as their main source of transportation. Now they are using there trucks for the weekend and to haul or tow what ever they need.

This is exactly what happened the last time gas shot up to $4.00 a gallon. Truck sales and full size suv sales plunged.
If gas was only two dollars a gallon, more americans would be buying trucks and driving trucks. People prefer a truck over a car and especially if the cost was the same to operate them. So it is no suprise that truck sales have taken a big hit. But if you want a full size truck that gets the best gas milage of any full size truck on the market today, drive over to your local Chevrolet or GMC dealer and ask to see a Silverdo Hybrid or Sierra Hybrid. At 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined there isn't another full size truck that will touch that fuel economy and that includes the almighty Ecoboost engine that ford fans worship.

Bitch and moan all you want ford fans, but that is the truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. And don't give me any of your crap about towing either so shut your yaps.

I had a 8 passenger van for 2 years. It sucked not having a truck. I don't need one for work but it fits my lifestyle better. My cab doesn't smell like 2 muddy labrador retrievers. I can carry garbage without smelling it all the way to the dump. Same goes for things like sand or soil. My truck doesn't smell like gas and oil when I pack dirt bikes or other assorted toys.
Sure, I don't like forking out 150 dollars to get a 3/4 tank of gas, but it is a price I am willing to pay to have the convenience and luxury of owning a truck. The bottom line is that for most people - a truck is a luxury.
I agree that the compact/small truck market has been neglected to the point of extinction. The only small truck that came close to what I wanted was the Tacoma Doublecab 4x4. The problem was it cost close to what my F150 cost, and was pretty close to being just as hard on fuel.

A $40k Hybrid is going to have to get a lot better than 21 mpg before it is a worthy investment.

Hay Tim, your spot on with your "Obama's war on Oil" article. The Obama administration and the enviromentalists are taking this country down the drain. I pray to God that Obama isn't re-elected. Without a doubt he is the worse president in US history. I can't stand the son of a you know what. I hope they find evidence he wasn't born in this country and impeach his ass.

@ Bob - you ever notice that this story talks about a 31 year low in truck sales and they show a picture of a Chevy.
The monthly sales top 10 picture always shows number 1, a Ford.

Bob, come on man. Seriously?

You are starting a mudslinging fest again against the Ford guys. Don't bash Ford then complain when Fanboi's bash Chevy/GMC. BTW, are you a salesman? You sure sound like one with your pseudo-advertising.

@ Lou: yeah, I hear you on that. I negated that problem by hanging on to an old F150 (19 yrs old) for work purposes. I could NOT see myself buying a 30-40K truck to simply ride around in as a "lifestyle fitment" choice.

@bob Dangit! I just gave you credit, and agreed with you for the first time ever on your post on the previous article! In which you actually said the ecoboost was better than all currently offer v-8's. But it was that you actually showed a hint of open mindedness, about the ecoboost. I will personally never drive an ecoboost. My future wife is either going to buy a 4x4 cc ecoboost or raptor very soon. I am going back to diesel myself, 6.4 powerstroke with programmer, intake, egr delete, and exhaust can produce an easy and reliable 550 hp, 1000+ ft lb tq, and get very impressive fuel mileage. That is unless the aftermarket really turns it on and opens the new 6.7 scorpion up. If a 1/2 ton were offered with a diesel it would be a much tougher choice.

Well Lou, Ford has only outsold GM by less than 6,000 trucks through the month of April. So Ford should be the #1 seller of trucks because it has all new engines and the current body style is only two years old. Trucks are fords bread and butter because they sure wouldn't make it on car sales. The Chevy Impala that everyone likes to dog is the best selling full size car year to date and sold over 21,000 vehicles in the month of April. Ford only sold just over 6,000 Taruses in April.

GM and chevy kick fords but in car sales. Trucks sales is the most important figure to ford and GM is trying to right it self after going through bankruptcy. So even though ford has sold the most trucks, GM isn't far behind either.

Hay Tim, go and price out a crewcab Ecoboost XLT package 4 wheel drive and equip it the way you want. You will easily surpass $40,000 dollars. I have stopped at a ford dealer to look at their trucks and several of them with the ecoboost engine were near or over $40,000 dollars.

Tim: as much as I disagree with Pres. Obama ( I didn't even vote for him) on some issues, this run up in price is due to plutocrats and speculators working hand in hand.

Speculators buying oil for 3% down, then turning around and reaping all the profits the sell off made is just wrong without paying full price for the barrel and taking delivery. I actually favor regulation in the energy market along with the Financial markets. The rampant greed needs to stop, period.

Look how many of you would drive your pickup trucks regardless of how high prices went? Exactly, they will run it up for what ever the "market will bear". Don't whine and complain about the price of fuel, do your comparo's of Bush to Obama with oil prices.

When I bought my 03 Crew Cab Long bed Silverado in 03 I thought that my next truck would be a 3/4 scale version with a 4 litre diesel that could pull my 7000 trailer and get some pretty good fuel numbers on it's own.

Having just purchased a new 2011, with a short bed, my dreams have not come to reality. Dont get me wrong, I absolutley love my Duramax but c'mon 3/4 scale trucks with smaller diesels should be the way to go for many of us.

The reason's the truck market share's are going down would be because of the price.

In the 1980's trucks were generally cheaper and lower trim levels were everywhere,2wd,base model,single cabs were the norm,now its crew cabs,4x4 top model,loaded trucks,leather,big powerful fuel efficient engine's.That in my educated opinion is the major factor's.

Canada has gas at over $5 a gallon,thanks to the former Liberal governent taxes and policies,we drill and use all of our own oil,but when we had the Liberal Government they didnt expand our refineries,so our oil goes to the U.S to get refined and then back here,thats why Canadian gas is high.

But Dodge RAM trucks are setting record sales numbers for the past several months in Canada,and have been selling like mad since the 90's.People here (WestCoast) drive them as daily drivers,most full size trucks are done up,shiny,20"chrome wheels and during the day are sitting at office parking lots (as mine does)and shopping malls,people love full size trucks here,and with 18.5 + mpg in a fullsize crew cab HEMI Ram it uses the same amount or even less amount of fuel as a minivan,SUV even cars.For example my co-workers 2009 4 cyl Toyota Camry only averages 2 mpg better than my 5300 lb 390 H.P Monster !!

The bonus points for Trucks are they are safer,better visability and more comfortable than cars today,being a tall guy cars are not comfortable enough for me !

Must be alot of folks on here that make big bucks (more than my paltry 90K/yr blue collar job). Seems that way anyway when I see how some took delivery of very expensive trucks that are 35K+ in price range.

Jeeze, plunking down/signing onto a note in the area of 35-50K for a pickup truck? My house was only 65K, to think some peoples commuting machines cost that much makes my head spin. Hell I feel poor reading what some of you write :) (just kidding)

General Motors kicks Ford's butt in car sales?

Other than the Volkswagen Beetle and Toyota Corolla, the Ford Model T held the record for the most sales!

The Ford Thunderbird kicked the Chevrolet Corvette's butt up and down the block!

The Ford Crown Victoria always killed the Chevrolet Caprice!

The Ford Mustang always murdered, except for the last year, Chevrolet Camaro sales!

The Ford Taurus was the best selling passenger car in America for many years!

I recall seeing more Ford Pintos on the road compared to the Chevrolet Vega!

Ford Fusion is selling better than the Chevrolet Malibu!

Buy American: really, who cares?

Do you think that posting fanboish drivel is going to sway Bob, Really?

@ Red_4x4 ,

Did you know in the U.S the governent makes more profit from oil than the oil companies !!

Obama should open up the drilling in the U.S there will be more supply on the market and the oil prices will go down.

Obama invested $2 billion of American tax dollars in Brazil,so Brazil could drill for oil,does that make sense ? NO ! Giving money and jobs to another country ,when you have the worlds biggest supply of oil,and your economy is in the tank,doesnt make sense !

By the way if you take away subsidies from the oil companies all it is going to do is raise the price at the pump,so you pay more..And oil subsidies is not any money given to the oil companies,but the reduced amount of tax the government takes from the company,no tax payer monies are given to them.

Why are people upset if a company makes money ? We have seen what happens when a company doesnt make money..I never can understand the logic in bashing money making companies..I just wonder how many people sit and complain about gas prices,but buy the biggest t.v,newest cell phone,computer,bottled water those are what you should complain about those greedy companies make a profit too !!!!

The government wants high energy prices so they can force green b.s on us and we will pay even more than the fuel costs of today.When you have a President saying under his plan energy prices will skyrocket,you guys got what you asked for !!

Actually you should be mad at the government for wanting to go green ,that is why they are keeping gas prices high and fooling you into believing oil is bad.

When you guys finally make the oil companies go out of business,you will have windmills and solar panels and electric cars..do you think those will be cheaper to operate than what we have today ? NO it wont be !! Road tolls everywhere,high electricty rates and blackouts because you wont be able to keep up with demand,big green is the companies to be mad at,not oil !!

Bob, who cares as well? Buy what you like chief.

Do REAL men really care and sit there and argue who makes a better truck, who gets better mileage, who sells more vehicles, etc? I would laugh my a-s-s off at any of you who sat there and tried to argue with me, or anyone else I know for that matter, about your truck being better than mine or someone elses, you would get pissed at the spectacle I made of you in front of other people.

Here at my job, real men talk about more inpotant things like cars in general, babes, fishing, hunting, guns,......ya'll know....normal man talk. I cannot believe how many of you really spend your day grasping at straws such as there.... LOL!

@Mike Levine. Guess what segment is booming in Australia? Midsize pickups. I believe the pickup/ute market is now 16% and growing. SUV's, CUV's as well as small cars are growing rapidly. traditional larger cars not going well. Midsize FWD cars i.e Toyota Camry are not doing well either.

"GM and chevy kick fords but in car sales." - Bob

Q1 stats:
GM: 2.2 million deliveries, $36.2 billion revenue, $2 billion pre-tax profit
Ford: 1.4 million deliveries, $33.1 billion revenue, $2.1 billion pre-tax profit

Profit per unit:
GM: $909
Ford: $1500

Keep in mind, Ford's profit would be DOUBLE what it is if they weren't paring off debts.

Now let me ask you this, which would you invest in? Ford has made me a lot of money, if I had invested it in GM, I'd be screwed.

Back on topic, it seems rather obvious truck sales aren't growing as quickly as car sales what with the high gas prices, slow housing market, and a decrease in "casual" truck owners.

Ford still makes the Thunderbird??? Fusion out sold the Malibu??? WRONG on both counts you ignorant one they call buy American. Pintos handing it to Vegas??? WRONG again.

The fact is Chevrolet is outselling ford in car sales today. Fords bread and butter is trucks period end of story. Ford Model T held the record? What record? The record for being the only vehicle available??? Can you say the word no competition???

Thunderbird kicked the corvette up and down the block??? Yea right. Nice to dream huh American.


I am all "FOR" taking away oil subsidies, sorry. And, I was targeting SPECULATIVE BUYING, not oil company profits. I care NOT to engage in your political jargon. Oil company profits are up due to speculative buying by douchebag investors.

Facts, I could care less about the govt taxing oil. What I care about is some douchebag speculator sitting there betting the price of oil up instead of "REAL FREE MARKET PRINCIPLES" working to do that (IE: supply/demand). I hope I have dignified my argument enough in the least :)

Please don't retort your Fox News propaganda to me, I care not to hear it no more than any of the liberal networks like MSNBC. Just save your parroting chief.

@Red_4x4 ,

Wow !! 65K for a house...You couldnt even buy a lot for that price in Canada ! That was our prices in the 1970's,my parents paid that for their first home back in the olden days.

My first house was $750,000 and it was nothing special,mid 1960's house in Vancouver,B.C in 2001,I moved out into the Valley and bought a newer house on 2.7 acres for just over $1 million last year,after tha housing prices dropped,now they are picking up again !!

MOPAR RULES: got damn, you made me feel poor.... lol. Yeah, my first house I bought in 2007 was in fact 64.9K, I have it majorly paid down already though. 1331 sq/ft, 3 BR/2 BA, 1 car garage, .42 acre lot, and only a few miles from my job, the beach, and town. I live in a small town near the coast in SouthEast Texas.

Trucks still sell in sizable numbers but non-truck vehicles are beginning to sell even better these days. Ergo, a smaller market share for trucks (of all kinds, sizes and shapes). And isn't it all about choice? Where would we be if we didn't have the choice we have today? I, for one, am thrilled to have had the choice to buy a 2008 Highlander AWD and a 2011 Tundra 5.7. Best vehicles I have ever owned! Also first foreign brand vehicles we have ever owned.

Just filled my Ranger, and having the last laugh at everyone who has a bigger truck heh

@ bob Can't help but notice you have mentioned the chevy impala twice in the last 2 days. I only notice this because I have read multiple post of yours in which you refuse to tell everyone what you own/drive ( I read all the ford article's and comments). If you do in fact own/drive an impala, That's perfectly okay, no shame in that whatsoever. I swear the vehicle anyone chooses to own/drive does not matter to me. I buy/drive what I choose, so to each his own. I wish we had more options to choose from. Diversity is wonderful! Just think, for instance, how boring this site would be if everyone of on here were forced to drive the exact same vehicle. But as emotionally charged that some of your post are, especially the ones in which you involve comparing the EcoBoost to the chevy/gmc 5.3, I would be highly amused to find out your top secret personal vehicle is an impala. Simply because this is a web site dedicated to pickup trucks, and if you did in fact drive an impala, it would make your highly emotional devotion to the 5.3 curious. Similar to if I started arguing in every topic I posted in how, for instance a Buggati Veyron, is superior to the EcoBoost (or any other truck). After all the Veyron has multiple turbo's, has over three times the hp of an Ecoboost, get's much worse fuel mileage, and most importantly is a car, and I don't own one! ;-) just saying..... lol

Okay maybe the decline is not due to higher gas prices and stubborn economies. Maybe it is just because the last ten years has seen a real improvement in the quality and features of trucks. They are built better and last longer. Why buy new when used will do?

@tim and bob
Bush had his own high price of gas problem
Bush had his gas problem and so does Obama and I hold Bush responsible for his and Obama responsible for his and if it happens with the next president I will hold that person responsible for theirs. When you spread your republican propraganda make sure it's accurate.

@ Red 4x4 re: Who cares? Amen! Especially the women part. lol. also on oil speculators! Wish someone within the powers that be would grow a set and stop it from happening. As for owning two trucks, IMHO since crew cabs became available the are the perfect choice for everyday family vehicles. regardless of fuel prices there is soon to be 2 CC 4x4 fords added to my collection. EcoBoost and Superduty. I'm also keeping my current FX4 as a beater/loaner or whatever. It will be paid for and feel like I have too much invested, and feel like selling/trading would equal giving it away. Only has 75000 miles and is almost 6 years old.


agreed, if I was going to own only one vehicle, it would be a truck or SUV. But, we have a truck, SUV, and car (the car is a 2009 paid for, and the SUV is a Wrangler Unlimited 2011 model). The truck will sit until I need it or decide to drive it out here in the plant where I work. I just cannot see spending my cold hard cash on several pickup trucks when in my mind, they are for work duty....this is just how I view them anyway, I am for the most part a very practicle person. For what some of these newer trucks cost, I could buy me some property that actually holds value unlike today's cookie cutter trucks.
I would rather spend money on other things instead of immaterial items like several trucks. I am glad for the freedom of choice, makes life more interesting. We could have "peoples truck" .
But, hell...sounds like you got it going on man. More power to you.

The difference is when gas prices went sky high on Bush's watch, Bush lifted the moratorium on drilling and the prices plumetted.

Immediately after Obama took office, Obama reinstated the moratorium and prices have gone back to sky high.

@ RED thanks.I see your point and looks like you also got all bases covered. I didnt mention my family is only my fiance, and her 3 y.o. which is why my current reg cab works for now, and is gonna be a beast in the future ;-)But I do like expeditions, and if ford still made the excursion it would probably replace one of my choices. I just simply like large, powerful vehicles. Plus I'm 6'3" and really don't fit in smaller vehicles. lol

I dont think supply has anything to do with the current or 2008 run up on gasoline prices!

The main culprit is 'speclative trading by giant investment trading companies" that rule the price of oil nowadays!

While I am for finding drilling for oil here in US, under the current rules it will make little influence, they will just put it on open market and it could go to other countrys!

Last year big oil spill in gulf, gasoline prices stayed the same! Now look at this year!

If oil is found here it needs to stay here, and the speculators need to be reigned in!!!

Alton: yeah, @ 6'3" I could see why you need taller vehicles. I am only 5'8" lol. I like my old 92 F150, just got it out of the exhaust shop yesterday...costed like $580 to have all new studs put in, and new manifold gaskets installed. But, that old beater passed emissions testing....Greenies should be thrilled!

I like powerful vehicles myself, maybe one day my lethargic V6 3.8L in my Jeep will see a RIPP supercharger (I think that is the brand/manufacturer) and my wife will get that new Dodge Charger she wants (I'll get it for her once my Jeep is paid for in two years or so, she has 2009 Hyundai Sonata SE V6 now...but its paid for lol). Hell, I like the Chargers myself, might opt for the Hemi instead of the pentastar V6 :)

Charles: Nailed it, exactly how I feel...even though "MOPAR RULES" thinks I have some hatred for oil companies........... just speculation and the likes of Goldman Sachs type of paper tiger traders.

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