2017 Toyota Tacoma Sales vs. Chevy Colorado Show Truth About Midsize Trucks
For the past couple of years the midsize truck market has been in a strong growth mode. Once the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins entered a market that Toyota had been dominating with the Tacoma for decade, everyone assumed that the new design of the GM truck would mean Toyota's sales would decline and GM's would continue to grow. The slowdown in auto sales has provided us with some unexpected clarity. Since every midsize truck sold in America was down in March, we now know the truth. The Toyota Tacoma still dominates this market, and Toyota still outsells the second truck in sales by 2 to 1.
Tacoma vs. Colorado In a Slow Month
We've been waiting for the market to slow down temporarily (we hope) to see what would happen. Those who claim that Chevy's sales have been limited by production, really have no excuses in March. Every GM truck, both large and small, sold at double-digit percentages less than last March. Therefore, since the December maintenance shutdown of the production lines has been completed recently, and given that March was a 31 day month with zero holidays, GM's workers sure had plenty of time to build trucks. We now know that the GM twins have indeed reached their market penetration point. That point is roughly 10,000 trucks combined per month.
Production Below Capacity
Toyota's sales were also below its maximum build capacity, but not by much. The Tacoma shares its production line with Tundra, so occasionally, Toyota will build up some Tundras at the expense of the Tacoma. Conveniently, the Tundra was also down. Thus, we now know that the actual monthly sales of the Tacoma at about 17,000 units vs. the Colorado's approximately 8,500 units is about where the market ends up when both companies have enough trucks on the lot to satisfy demand.
The Nissan Frontier continued to sell extremely well for a truck designed back before round tires. With just under 7,000 Frontiers sold, Nissan came danger close to matching the sales of the super-new Colorado, which now has an improved engine and transmission, just in its second year of production. Nissan's product planners should be given a huge bonus for taking the past three years off and leaving the Frontier old-school. (Conclusion on page 2)
Sales of the Ridgeline are technically way up. How far up? Honda literally reported a sales increase of 972,300% for Ridgeline this month. We are not kidding. The sales report had that figure listed. That is the result when a company sells exactly one truck in March of 2016 and then sells 3,778 the next year in that same month. We say the Ridgeline is "down" because it has sold in larger numbers in recent months. We should also mention that this author thinks the Ridgeline is the best truck sold in America right now in case bias is on your mind.
So, after many months of reporting that Toyota and GM were both selling at the maximum of their capacity, we now know what happens when they don't. The result is that the Toyota Tacoma absolutely crushes every other competitor in sales. Don't tell Consumer Reports. They reported just two weeks ago that the Tacoma was one of the 10 worst vehicles in America. Apparently, truck buyers have a different viewpoint.