Toyota has very quietly become tied for third largest light pickup truck maker in the US. General Motors told Motortrend magazine in September that fully 25 percent of its trucks are HD (Heavy Duty) models. That means that the number of non-HD trucks sold by GMC in October was about 10, 080 trucks. If we exclude Heavy Duty models, Toyota’s Tundra model alone is dead even with the GMC Sierra. In total light trucks, including the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma, Toyota has now passed GMC by a wide margin.
Once GM, Ford, and Ram abandoned the smaller Canyon, Colorado, Ranger, and Dakota vehicles, Toyota’s overall share of light pickup trucks (3/4 ton and smaller) began steadily growing. Toyota’s Tundra and Tacoma combined sold 22,264 in October. Since GM says 25 percent of its trucks are HD, and we can assume that is also true of Ram, and since Toyota does not manufacture HD trucks, in the segments that Toyota does compete in it is behind only Ford and Chevy. If we apply the same 25% estimate to Ram, Toyota is in a statistical tie with the Ram, which has a net of 29,846 total sold. 75 percent of that number is 22,385.
For reasons only truck lovers can truly explain, GM trucks sales have significantly dropped as of late. In a month in which pretty much every company set records for sales, GM’s trucks were down in October. The GMC Sierra was down about 2%, but the Chevy Silverado dropped a whopping 11%. The Chevy is still up year over year, and healthily. However, the momentum shift is apparent. Ford and Ram are now taking share from Chevy in gulps and Toyota is taking nibbles. Toyota’s Tundra was up 18% in October. Interestingly, the Ram was up the exact same percentage. Toyota credits the sales jump in the Tundra to its new design. However, reviewers expert in things trucky say that Toyota’s new Tundra was a minor upgrade. That means that there is more to Toyota’s success in trucks than just some new sheet-metal. It should be noted that the Chevy and GMC trucks are also all new this year.
Trucks are hugely profitable vehicles for automakers and the market segment has grown in the past year significantly. Ford’s F-150, the country’s most popular nameplate, is now at a sales rate of about of ¾ of a million vehicles per year. Ford has left GM and others in the dust in terms of sales. While it is true that Ford and Chevy wildly outsell the Toyota Tundra, when combined with the smaller Tacoma, Toyota is a legitimate player in all but the largest HD commercial pickups sold in the US.
In terms of overall trucks sold Toyota is still the fourth largest pickup truck brand behind Ford, Chevy, and Ram. However, with the Tundra growing at a rate of 11 percent, and Chevy and GMC dropping by double digit percentages, it may not be long before Toyota’s larger trucks move up to parity in the pickup truck market with everyone but Ford.
October Pickup Truck Sales Per the Manufacturers:
Chevy Silverado Total = 32,506
Silverado less HD Models, Estimated = 24,380
Toyota total Pickup trucks = 22,264
Toyota Tundra = 9,913
Toyota Tacoma = 12,351
GMC Sierra Total = 13,438
GMC Sierra less HD, Estimated = 10,079
Ram Total = 29,846
Ram less HD Estimated = 22,385
Author’s note: This story was inspired by reader feedback from this prior Torque News Story in which readers expressed some disbelief that Toyota is actually a volume player in pickup trucks.