Despite declining sales, General Motors sold more pickup in the U.S. than any other automaker last year and led the industry in both the full-size and midsize truck segments.
The automaker’s combined sales of sibling trucks Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra reached 768,689 units in 2021. Although down 8.5 percent from 839,691 in 2020, the combined total was still about 40,000 more than Ford’s sales 726,004 of models from its F-Series pickup line.
GM repeated the play in the midsize pickup market. Combined sales of sibling truck Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon totaled 97,133. That narrowly topped Ford’s sale of 94,755 Rangers.
Ford did win in the small pickup truck segment, selling 13,258 of its new compact Maverick. GM doesn’t have an entry in that category.
All told, Ford sold 834,007 pickups last year. GM sold 865,822.
Although GM splits its trucks between the Chevy and GMC brands, they are essentially the same products. It is fair to compare the Detroit automaker’s combined sales against Ford, said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights.
“As much as GMC’s marketing managers would like people to believe that the Sierra is something distinct from the Chevrolet Silverado so that they will be willing to pay many thousands of dollars more, they are exactly the same product,” he said.
Expect a fight for the top spot this year as Maverick sales didn’t start to kick in for Ford until late in 2021.
“2022 should be a very different story,” Abuelsamid said.
Moreover, GM adjusted better to the computer chip shortage that hurt all auto production last year by deleting features in order to ship trucks instead of storing them, he said. The automaker dropped features like cylinder deactivation and heated steering wheels to get trucks to dealers while Ford stockpiled more trucks for longer.
“Everyone wants bragging rights, but at the end of the day, none of it really matters. Did you turn a profit and sell everything you could build? That’s all you can ask for. As long as you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars in rebates to move the metal, it’s all good,” Abuelsamid.
GM expects the auto market to recover from the inventory issues that plagued the industry during 2021.
“The key constraint for sales continues to be reduced inventory levels as a result of the semiconductor shortage. Those inventory levels are beginning to recover against a backdrop of strong fundamental demand conditions, with ample job openings, high household savings and low interest rates,” said Elaine Buckberg, GM’s chief economist.
Automakers sold just over 2.8 million pickup trucks last year. They accounted for about 19 percent of all U.S. auto sales.
Broken down by brands and models, Ford’s F-Series was the top seller, accounting for 33.4% of full-size pickup sales. Ram was next with sales of 569,388 for a 26.2 share, according to Motor Intelligence, which tracks sales data. Chevrolet’s Silverado ranked third with a share of 23.9%. The GMC Sierra captured 11.3% of the market. Toyota’s Tundra had 3.8% and the Nissan Titan had 1.3%
Two new electric entrants, the GMC Hummer and the Rivian R1T, just started to deliver vehicles at year-end and had negligible sales.
Toyota continues to dominate the midsize pickup truck market with its Tacoma. The truck logged sales of 252,520 for more than 39% of the market. The Ford Ranger was the closest rival with sales of 94,755. The Jeep Gladiator Ranked third with sales of 89,712. The Chevy Colorado trailed at 73,008. It was followed by the Nissan Frontier, 60,693, the Honda Ridgeline, 41,355 and the GMC Canyon, 24,125.
The Maverick led the small truck segment. Hyundai’s Santa Cruz, the only other vehicle in the segment, sold 10,042 units.