2016 Toyota Tacoma Sales Up Colorado Down Diesel Doesn’t Help
John Goreham's picture

2016 Toyota Tacoma Sales Up Colorado Down - Diesel Doesn’t Help

Are January’s sales an indicator of a broader trend?

In January, all automakers had a bit of a slowdown in their growth rate. January is the hangover month after the holiday sales event promotions and the month before the February Presidents’ Day sales. Plus, part of the U.S. had unusually deep snow for a week of the sales month. Still, the 2016 Toyota Tacoma had a year-over-year January sales increase of a whopping 21% on a daily sales rate basis and 12% on a strictly unit sales basis. The Chevy Colorado was down 7.3%. The GMC Canyon was up by less than 100 trucks, so essentially flat. Combined, the Colorado and Canyon were down. A lot.

In total sales for the month, the Tacoma posted 12,718 units. The combined Colorado and Canyon sales totaled 8,148. Thus, the Toyota Tacoma outsold GM’s mid-size trucks by about 50%. Both GM and Toyota have more capacity than these numbers indicate. UPDATE: See details on GM production limitations in the comments section below. That is significant because up until now it could be argued that each manufacturer had been simply selling all the trucks it could make. With that argument removed we see that Toyota’s Tacoma sales still match the rest of the mid-size market combined.

This was the month that the new Duramax diesel Colorado and Canyon trucks first appeared on dealer lots. Diesel truck fans take note. Sales declined when they were introduced, and thus had no positive impact on the company’s mid-size truck sales. Exactly as Toyota predicted.

Related Stories: How many more Tacomas could Toyota sell if it offered a diesel in the U.S.?
No 2016 diesel Tacoma coming - Toyota explains why

Gallery Images Courtesy Of Patrick Rall. See His "Hard-Working" Tacoma Review Here.

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Why do many diesel haters feel compelled to write off the Colorado/Canyon? To be fair, while they officially released the diesel versions last month, most were already sold upon arrival. As of this morning, an Autotrader.com search revealed only 62 Colorado diesels available nationwide, with some major markets like Chicago only having 2 available within a 100 mile radius. A little to early to announce the "death of diesel" "exactly as Toyota predicted", as these vehicles aren't sitting on lots collecting dust. The Duramax GM offers will have wide appeal to more practical truck owners concerned with hauling, range, and resale value (so pretty much the exact opposite audience of the Tacoma). Lets see what happens this spring before writers start declaring a Toyota victory.
Ron, thanks for adding this comment. After you posted it I realized that many readers might not understand the back-story about Toyota's decision not to offer a diesel engine in the Tacoma. So I have added two related stories under the text. You're right about the towing. Most Tacoma owners are happy with the capabilities of the gas engine, if they care at all. - Not sure what you meant about resale value there at the end. Tacoma has long been the top truck for resale vale and is one of the top vehicles overall for resale value.
That's right! And having the highest resale in all auto sales doesn't hurt either!
With Diesel engines and fuel at higher costs gas engines have the appeal. It is tough to change the buying culture. The time to bring out diesels is when there is a reasonable payback.
John, a few things you so strategically neglected to mention. Toyota's monthly capacity is about 17,500 tacomas. GM's capacity is about 9,500 twins. Given the sales numbers, Toyota sold about 72% of capacity vs GM selling 85% of capacity. GM also shut down for 3 weeks at end of Dec thru Jan 17th for line retooling. And Roy above beat me to the point about the # of diesels delivered. There were very few delivered in January. Less than 100 actually hit the lots in Jan. Just curious if you are spinning the numbers for Toyota or are you a true journalist?
Eric, thank you for taking time to bring this to my attention. You are correct, and I am making changes to my story above. Having read GM's monthly sales report on the Colorado and Canyon and the company's overall inventory, and seeing no news about Wentzville having been closed beyond what all Mfgs do in late Dec/Early Jan, I offered the opinions above as to why GM's mid-size trucks declined in sales so much. GM reported on Dec 2 "◾GM inventories are disciplined, and the company expects to operate with about a 70 days’ supply throughout the year in most months, with some months higher or lower." and also said specifically about the Canyon and Colorado "◾Ten Chevrolet models – ... Colorado... – grew retail market share in their respective segments." and "Canyon ..sales increased... 3 percent." Today I communicated with the Wentzville plant spokesperson who said "As you know the Colorado has been a strong seller since its introduction so during the first two weeks of January we took the opportunity for an extended holiday shut down period to make plant throughput improvements that will increase our line rates to make more trucks for our customers down the road. " So your point that the GM trucks were again held back by limited production seems to be the right conclusion. See above.