Automakers enjoyed a spectacular run in May as sales totaled 1,634,952 light vehicles, the most ever recorded for the month. Again, compact cross-overs such as the Honda CR-V and Chevy Equinox drew hordes of buyers.
But, according to a report by Automotive News, there’s another pocket of strength, too: pickups, both big and small, as lower-priced compact trucks bring suburban cowboys back into the showroom.
Pickup sales rose 8.0% in May to 220,010. That’s pretty good in a market up 1.6%, but it’s especially impressive because it came amid a down month for the perennial top seller, the Ford F series. Take out Ford, and pickup sales were up 17% in May.
F-series sales fell 9.7% to 61,870 trucks as snags in production of the aluminum-bodied F-150 compounded dealer inventory shortages.
Elsewhere, however, the segment piled up milestones. Chevrolet Silverado sales rose 11% to 51,602 — making for the truck’s second-strongest month since December 2007.
The Toyota Tundra had its best May since 2008. And now that they are back in the picture, the Chevy Colorado had its best month since August 2006 and the GMC Canyon its best since July 2005.
“There’s a lot of compelling product in the pickup category, and consumers are clearly responding,” said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com.
Pickup sales, of course, are benefiting from moderate gasoline prices and low interest rates that keep monthly payments for big-ticket trucks in affordable ranges. But one of the biggest and most surprising factors is the reincarnation of the compact pickup segment.
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