Pickup trucks are rarely the first vehicle a new driver wants to own. They are more expensive than sedans and require a larger parking space. Trucks might not be suitable for driving in more congested cities, and they might also be more expensive to maintain.
Yet millions of new pickup trucks go from dealership to new owners every year in the United States alone. Trucks are among the most versatile utility vehicles in the automotive world. They do not only transport people, but they can also transport a large amount of (and even heavy) goods. Besides their carrying capacity, trucks can become powerful towing machines. Additionally, the trucks are generally reliable in most terrain, whether on-road or off-road.
So even with the growing demand for SUVs and crossovers, millions of drivers are still buying pickup trucks. Whether for work, adventure or even daily commuting, the trucks have proven to be reliable enough to earn customers’ trust.
In 2020, vans outsold cars for the first time. In the same year, the three best-selling vehicles in 2020 are trucks. Interestingly, the trend continues in 2021 with three American trucks – Ford F-Series, Ram Trucks and Chevrolet Silverado – always on top.
Ford F-Series is the best-selling truck as usual
The identity of the best-selling truck in 2021 is hardly surprising. After all, 2021 is the 45th consecutive year that the Ford F-Series has dominated the truck category. Despite a drop in sales in 2021, the F-Series still sits on the truck sales throne. In 2021, Ford sold a total of F-Series (including all models and variants) 726,004 units. That’s a 7.8% drop in sales from 2020, when the automaker sold 787,422 F-Series units.
Ford’s F-Series actually got off to a great start in 2021. While its sales in the first two months of 2021 were down over the period, demand increased significantly in March to around 84,000 trucks. Its sales, however, fell from the first quarter (203,797) to the second quarter to just 158,235 units. During this quarter, the F-Series dropped to third place in truck sales.
Year-over-year third-quarter sales for the F-Series saw a massive drop to 172,799 units, but that was more than enough to top Ram Trucks and Silverado sales. Sales fell again – albeit slightly – in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 191,173 units.
First-half sales surge pushes Ram trucks to second place
Of the three pickups, only Ram Trucks posted a sales jump in 2021. Sales increased from 563,676 units in 2020 to 569,388 units in 2021, an increase of just 1%. It may only be a small jump in sales, but it means steady demand for Stellantis’ only pickup truck. Additionally, Ram Trucks managed to regain its spot as the second best-selling truck in the United States from the Chevrolet Silverado.
Ram Trucks got off to a great start in the first quarter of 2021, surpassing its sales in the same period in 2020. Ram Trucks sold 148,837 units in the first quarter of 2021 and recorded a massive increase in sales (approximately 39% ) in the period covering April, May and June. Ram trucks were the top-selling pickups in those three months, with sales of 164,232 units.
As big as its sales are in the first half of 2021, Ram Trucks has had a dismal performance in the last two quarters of the year. Sales for the third and fourth quarters of 2021 suffered a huge drop to 121,074 and 135,245 units, respectively. The only bright spot (just a bit) in the second half of the year was November, when sales were nearly flat, improving by just 469 units year-over-year.
A dismal second half puts the Chevrolet Silverado in third place
The Chevrolet Silverado was the No. 2 best-selling truck for years until 2019, when its sales of over 575,000 dropped it to No. 3. It lost the No. 2 position to Ram Trucks. The Silverado managed to regain the position in 2020, when it topped Ram Trucks sales at (594,094 to 563,676 units). It was already seen for the Silverado in 2021, because it had to settle for No. 3.
In 2021, Chevrolet sold 529,765 units of the Silverado, down 10%. While the F-Series and Ram trucks had encouraging performances in the first quarter of 2021, the Silverado was disappointing. Its sales fell 12.5%, from 144,734 trucks in the first quarter of 2020 to just 126,591 units during the same period in 2021.
The second quarter of 2021 was a great time for Silverado sales. With all months showing strong numbers, sales for the second quarter of 2021 jumped 33.9%, from 120,744 to 161,706 units. It even outsold the F-series during that time by nearly 3,500 units. At this point, the Silverado was still the #2 best-selling truck.
Sluggish sales in the second half of 2021 offset first-half gains. All months suffered a decline in sales, the worst of which was recorded in December (-44.4%). Sales in the third and fourth quarters of the year were 120,856 and 120,612 units, respectively.
Source: Ford, Stellantis, General Motors, Good Car Bad Car
Both pickups can outrun most cars off the road, and even on the street, but how do they fare against each other?
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