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Ram shocks Chevy Silverado! Best selling 2021 truck is Ford F-Series, kind of


While 2021 will go down as the year of disruptions with the ongoing COVID pandemic, microchip shortages, parts and employee shortages, etc., the best-selling 2021 truck list saw a big disruption for the No. 2 spot.

Before we get too deep into this post, it’s important to point out Ford always lists all its truck sales together under the F-Series name. This includes F-150, F-250, F-350 and F-450 sales. Meanwhile, GM separates out its Chevy and GMC sales as well as light duty and heavy duty trucks. This makes a difference when referring to the best selling 2021 full-size truck as we will see below.

Here’s how things shook out.

Best Selling 2021 truck: Ford F-Series 726,004 (787,422 in 2020) -7.8%

Kicking off our list is the perennial top dog (depending on how you do the math) with the Ford F-Series of trucks. Their impressive sales leadership is evident with 45 years of being the top-selling truck lineup.

The facts are Ford simply offers more cab configurations, engine choices and ways to customize your truck than any other brand. Plus, the continual improvements it does, such as the 2022 Ford F-150 getting onboard scales and BlueCruise, make it hard for another automaker to get an advantage.

Ford also has a well-tuned commercial operation, accounting for so many truck sales, it could literally be its own Fortune 500 company on its own.

As Ford likes to say, it “owns work,” and the sales back it up.

Ram Trucks 569,388 (563,676 in 2020) +1%

Coming in second is THE surprise of the year with Ram posting a gain. Yes, a gain! And, depending on your math, Ram Trucks bested the Chevy Silverado for the second spot on our list.

This is actually the second time in the past 3 years Ram has done this, and each time it raises a lot of eyebrows from diehard truck fans.

While people will argue any number of excuses why Ram bested Chevy, the numbers show Ram didn’t just best Chevy by a few hundred units. We are talking about nearly 50k trucks, and each automaker had the same challenges with semiconductors, parts and staff shortages.

Ram is simply kicking butt these days. Its lineup consists of good-looking trucks, clever storage options, a variety of engine choices and the TRX, one of the most lust-worthy trucks for sale right now. It’s hard not to be impressed. Plus, there are a variety of new trims and special editions coming for the 2022 Ram 1500, which consumers seem to love because of exclusive colors and styling.

Chevy Silverado LD+HD 519,774 (586,675 in 2020) -11.5%

Coming in at a surprising No. 3 is the Chevy Silverado. Sure, you could add Chevy and GMC sales to see GM trucks actually bested Ram, but the split in numbers is what GM wants to report, so we will, too.

Chevy had the largest drop in volume year over year, coming up short by 66k units. This was more than Ford’s number at 61k, and it doesn’t even come close to the loss of sales Toyota and GMC experienced.

Chevy had an interesting year battling the semiconductor shortages and chose to remove features like Active Fuel Management and HD radio while also playing around with dropping heated seats. Yeah, heated seats.

With a new, refreshed 2022 Silverado on the horizon complete with a major interior upgrade and a ZR2 model, 2022 will be a closely watched year to see if Chevy can regain some of the market share and momentum Ram has gained.

GMC Sierra LD+HD 248,924 (253,016 in 2020) -1.7%

Coming in behind its GM cousin, the Sierra had an OK year just missing the mark on being even year over year.

While the Silverado saw a big drop, the Sierra didn’t. This could be due to Sierra being (arguably) a better looking truck than the Silverado and offering the new AT4 off-road editions.

Plus, the Sierra is now positioned as being the more premium model over the Silverado. So, with the climbing sales prices for trucks as well as customers demanding more lavish interiors with less plastic, the Sierra is positioned to attract to new customers. Now with the Sierra Denali Ultimate and AT4 Ultimate on their way to meet this growing demand further, the Sierra should have a better 2022 year if GM can get some semiconductor chips and overcome any other obstacles that might pop up.

best selling 2021 truck

2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Lunar Rock. (Image Courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales)

Toyota Tundra 81,959 (109,203 in 2020) -24.2%

For the first time in years, a completely new Toyota Tundra is now on the market, and its drawn-out introduction is likely the biggest reason for a significant decrease in sales. Whenever a new model is coming out, especially a new model with so many changes, sales will see a drop while people wait to see what the new truck offers.

Also, contributing to the decline is the fact we still don’t have pricing or fuel economy for the Tundra iForce Max hybrid engine, and this is further causing people to take the wait-and-see approach.

It is worth noting, we did buy a new 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited for a long-term review, and we will keep you updated on things we like and don’t like on the new truck.

Finally, not having a V-8 engine, a host of criticisms on the lack of tow hooks and growing pains with the new infotainment system are making consumers a little leery of the new truck. This could have an impact on 2022 sales, and we can’t wait to see what the numbers show us in the future. Will consumers shop elsewhere? Will those criticisms even matter? Does a V-8 engine truly impact sales? More questions than answers at the moment.

Nissan Titan 27,406 (26,439 in 2020) +3.7%

Coming in last, once again, is the Nissan Titan. Refreshed for the 2020 model year, the Titan is much more competitive. However, Nissan doesn’t offer anywhere close to the engine choices from the volume sellers like Ford, Ram and GM, and it doesn’t really offer anything that makes its trucks stand out from the pack.

This isn’t to say Titan isn’t a solid truck, and posting the largest sales gain of the group should mean something. The Titan has shown it is a pretty reliable truck as well with a great warranty.

These next few years could really make or break the Titan with Canada already discontinuing sales of the truck and the Titan XD diesel gone as well. The Titan XD is a weird offering consumers haven’t shown a strong appetite for, and this hurts the Titan with market appeal. Without a strong corporate push to expand production or get more dealers to push the Titan out, it will be interesting to see what Nissan decides to do with its full-size truck.

The bottom line on the best selling 2021 truck

Truck sales are just that, sales numbers. Some people see the best selling 2021 truck rankings as proof of one truck being better than the others, but the reality is there are so many factors in play, it’s hard to come to that conclusion. Rather, truck sales should be seen as a barometer of customer demand and how the market is responding to different truck offerings. In this case, the market is clearly saying Ram Trucks are what it wants.

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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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