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2020 U.S. truck sales results are in! Ford wins, GM surprises, others falter?

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While the media criticized its look, consumers bought the heck out of the Chevy HD trucks. (Photo courtesy Chevrolet)

After a virus-plagued year sent every automaker scrambling to supply dealers, the final tally is in on the 2020 U.S. truck sales year. Ford takes home the top spot once again, while GM surprises, and the other brands lose ground.

Full-size 2020 U.S. truck sales

If there was one bright spot from the virus, it was how it has changed many lifestyles and their vehicle needs. Fore example, many people switched from long commutes to spending more time in nature, and that’s a big win in our book. However, this also meant their compact cars needed to be swapped out for something larger and the truck market has never been hotter — especially for full-size and heavy-duty trucks.

Heck, I get it. I bought a 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost before the year ended to do more camping this next year and comparison tests for the channel!

Overall, the truck market was up almost 2% with 2.9 million trucks sold against 2.85 million sold last year. This is quite an accomplishment — even with dealers having a lack of inventory.

2020 Q3 Pickup Sales      
Full-Size Truck SalesQ4 SalesLast Year Q4 SalesQuarterly ChangeYear to DateLast Year to DateYear Over Year Change
Ford F-Series198,388233,952-15.2%787,422896,526-12.2
Chevy Silverado
LD
HD
176,708
125,688
51,020
161,323
124,619
36,704
9.5%
0.9%
39.0%
586,675
436,281
150,394
570,639
438,686
131,953
2.8%
-0.5%
14.0%
Ram Truck161,266172,5797%563,676633,694-11%
GMC Sierra
LD
HD
78,371
53,176
25,195
68,722
50,494
18,228
14%
5.3%
38.2%
253,016
179,239
73,777
232,323
172,452
59,871
8.9%
3.9%
23.2%
Toyota Tundra32,38925,61124.2%109,203111,673-2.2%
Nissan Titan7,0366,10215.3%26,43931,514-16.1%
Midsize Truck SalesQ4 SalesLast Year Q4 SalesQuarterly ChangeYear to DateLast Year to DateYear Over Year Change
Toyota Tacoma75,18761,179-10.4%238,806248,801-4.0%
Ford Ranger27,14833,059-17.9%101,48689,57113.3%
Chevrolet Colorado27,70925,4848.7%96,238122,304-21.3%
Jeep Gladiator20,55216,66323%77,54240,04794%
Nissan Frontier10,55817,683-40.3%36,84572,369-49.1%
Honda Ridgeline9,0569,701-7%32,16833,334-4.1%
GMC Canyon9,0076,52538.0%25,19032,825-23.3%

Ford again leads the way with their F-series lineup (F-150, 250, 350 and 450) selling a combined total of 787,422 trucks. In other terms, that’s nearly 90 trucks an hour being driven off Ford lots!

Second place is the Chevy Silverado, which saw an increase year over year. Yes, an increase! GM breaks down the Silverado into light-duty aka 1500 models and heavy-duty trucks 2500 and 3500 models. If GM combined their GMC numbers they would be in first and until they do so, we keep them separate.

Ram comes in third with a pretty down year overall. However, the 4th quarter saw a big jump in sales volume year over year. And with plant capacity hopefully getting back to 100% next year, don’t count them out making another run at the number 2 spot.

GMC comes in next and the number of heavy-duty trucks is quite impressive. This reinforces the idea GMC has turned into a premium brand and people go to them for the Denali especially in the heavy-duty truck variety.

Coming in 4th is the Toyota Tundra. With a new model on the way and their plant in Texas being hit hard by COVID-19, it is no surprise to see they were down year over year. Like Ram, though, they had a good 4th quarter, and all eyes are on them next year for their new truck unveiling.

Wrapping up the list is the Nissan Titan, which simply struggled. The automaker is going through a lot of change and transition, causing all sorts of issues, and the Titan is likely getting caught up in the change. The 2020 model year change has been received as a lukewarm upgrade by the press, and the sales are way down year over year. Maybe, like Ram and Toyota, their 4th quarter showing will be a precursor to a bigger 2021.

U.S. midsize truck sales

2020 U.S. truck

The Toyota Tacoma once again dominates the U.S. mid-size truck market. (Photo courtesy Toyota)

On the midsize truck side of things, the Toyota Tacoma still dominates, and it had a massive 4th quarter. With production shifted to Mexico, instead of being constrained in San Antonio, Texas, we are witnessing a big change in the overall volume of Tacoma trucks Toyota can produce. It is going to be interesting to watch next year to see how the numbers play out with more capacity.

The Tacoma is followed closely by the Ford Ranger and Chevy Colorado. These two trucks are in a dogfight for the second spot. A newly refreshed Chevy Colorado is out for 2021, and we are hearing a refreshed Ford Ranger might in the future as well as a new Ford Maverick compact truck. It looks like Ford is seeing a lot of growth potential in the midsize truck market and we will have to see what Chevy does to respond to this competition.

Coming in third is the Jeep Gladiator with a pretty big boost year over year. Like we said above, more people are getting out, exploring nature, and the Jeep Gladiator is reaping the rewards. This is the first full year of Jeep Gladiator sales, so its a little hard to see them duplicating their 94% increase result after the lower sales from 2019, but hey, we wouldn’t put it past them.

The Nissan Frontier comes in 4th and, like the Titan, had a disastrous year sales-wise. A new Frontier is supposedly coming out in the first-half of 2021, and it can’t come soon enough.

Rounding out the list is the Honda Ridgeline. It continues to plug away at growing sales and with a refresh for 2021, we could see it continue to grow. However, it might never be a big player in the segment, and that’s by design.

The bottom line

While the virus-plagued year is thankfully finally over, the 2021 sales year is just getting going. I expect to see some big year-over-year growth with plants getting back to capacity, another round of stimulus checks coming out and new models from a few of the automakers.

This could be a big bounce-back year for everyone.

Related Posts:

First Drive 2020 Ford Super Duty – Godzilla, Tremor And More!

Toyota Moves Tacoma Production Out Of U.S , All Models To Be Built In Mexico

Big criticisms addressed with new 2021 Honda Ridgeline updates

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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