Truck Sales Battles Are Always A Little Lie

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Photo: Chevy

Sales figures in the three-way fight for feeding America’s insatiable appetite for pickup trucks in 2020 are in. The winner depends on how you look at things, and how everyone fudges their numbers.

Ford sold 787,422 F-Series trucks in the U.S. in 2020, while Chevy sold 594,094 Silverados; Ram sold 563,676 pickups. GMC sold 253,016 Sierras. Nissan sold a truly sad 26,439 Titans here last year; Jeep sold 77,542 Gladiators. Toyota sold 109,203 Tundras. Honda sold just 32,168 Ridgelines.

Though the Silverado did not outsell the Ford F-Series, that didn’t stop GM from claiming that it defeated Ford, a claim that got picked up in the media. GM naturally lumps together the Silverado and Sierra, which is maybe cheating but not any more than how Ford cheats. Ford lumps together the F-Series as a whole for its sales figures, so it’s not just F-150s in there. Though, GM also includes light, medium and heavy duty trucks, so, you know...


This gives us the following brand ranking for 2020, if you’re of the persuasion that the best brand wins, or in this case sells the most on an even playing field:

1. Ford
2. Chevy
3. Ram
4. GMC
5. Toyota
6. Jeep
7. Honda
8. Nissan

The rest of the market is a bit jumbled. The Ram is doing fine, it’s unclear how long the Jeep Gladiator is for this world, and Honda and Nissan’s offerings seem like they’re merely going through the motions. The Tundra is probably the best of the lot, if you’re in the market for a full-size pickup and don’t want to appear too clichéd or garish. That said, those are two fates that are hard to avoid when driving any full-size pickup.


All of which is to say I understand why Ford won — again — because if I declined to think critically about full-size trucks at all I would probably just default to buying an F-150, in the same way that the next time I buy an electric guitar I’ll probably go super boring and buy an American Fender Strat.

Probably the only interesting question left to ask in the great American truck wars is how electric full-size trucks will change the equation. I’m excited for 2030, when the electric F-150 wins again.