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What truck brand sells the most? – 9 of the best-selling trucks

best selling trucks

There were about 17.2 million cars and trucks sold last year, according to a report by Kelley Blue Book.

The total number of car sales was down 1.8% from 2016, but there was an increase in truck sales. Though there were more SUVs sold than trucks, truck sales made up just over 16% of all vehicles sold. Some of the top-selling trucks included the Ford F-Series,  Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram Pickup. Over 500,000 of each were sold in 2017 alone.

Based on the final 2018 model-year sales, this guide contains the ten most popular pickup trucks in America. Changes in the segment for 2019, however, could bring changes to this list in the future. Ram is challenging Chevrolet for second-place ranking among light-duty full-size models, while the midsize segment gets two new competitors in the form of the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator. 

2020 is finally upon us, and with all major automakers reporting sales, we can see which vehicles were the most popular. It should be no surprise that pickup trucks continue to rule the roost, and Ram made perhaps the best showing out of everything sold in the U.S. last year. Does that mean it’s the best-selling vehicle? No, but if the trend continues, such an upset is certainly in the realm of possibilities.

Who sells the most pickup trucks in America? There is a fierce battle going on between the mainstream truck manufacturers in the United States. Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Nissan, Ram, and Toyota are all spending mind-boggling amounts of time and money to update their trucks and promote/advertise them in the best way possible. There is also some public trash talking going on, as well as some manufacturers ignoring each other’s claims.

GM’s truck marketing manager said, “Every truck manufacturer has their sales numbers claims, and we have our own. We sell the most trucks – period.” He later referred to the Ram Truck brand as “Fiat Ram” at a recent 2016 SEMA speech about their sales numbers. Both Ram and GM claim that they sell the “longest lasting” trucks on the road. (“Longest-lasting line of pickups” – refer to Ram’s 2017 HD Truck fact sheet; “longest-lasting full-size pickups” – refer to Chevrolet Silverado home page). Ford is claiming 39 consecutive years of F-Series pickup truck sales leadership. Here is a quote from Ford’s recent 2016 Texas Truck Rodeo press release “F-series continues to be the best-selling truck and builds on our momentum as the top-selling truck in the United States for 39 consecutive years.”

A total of 41,638 new trucks and vans were registered in 2018, eclipsing the pre-GFC tally of 38,131 units, set in 2007, by some 3497 vehicles. According to the latest Truck Industry Council T-Mark data, last year saw an all-time record number of commercial vehicles hit our streets, leaving many wondering just how far this bull market has yet to charge.

Sales for the month of December may have been down slightly (by 0.5 percent), with 3455 new units registered, but that didn’t put too much of a dent in the overall 12-month figure, with 41,628 units equating with the growth of 13.0% over 2017.

Now entering its 30th year of consecutive sales leadership, Isuzu broke through the magic 10,000 unit mark to record 10,027 new registrations, the number nearly twice that of its nearest competitor, Hino (5646 units), which placed ahead of Fuso (4302).

The top 10 brands in the overall market all recorded double-digit growth over the previous year, with particularly strong performances from Kenworth (up 25.1%), IVECO (up 30.7%), Mercedes-Benz (up 25.8%) and MAN (up 26.7%).

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Toyota Tundra (118,258)

A full-size light-duty truck, the Texas-built Toyota Tundra has been in production for almost 15 years without a complete redesign. The Tundra’s two V8 engine choices are inefficient, crash-test protection is unimpressive, and the mix of cab styles, bed lengths, and trim levels is limited. The maximum payload rating is 1,730 pounds, and the maximum tow rating is 10,200 lbs.

Similarly, the 2020 Toyota Tundra is in a league of its own at the bottom of the class of full-size pickup trucks. It hasn’t been fully redesigned since 2007, so many cabin materials pale in comparison to the rest of the segment. The Tundra has lower towing and payload capacities than most of its rivals as well. With no diesel option or any other powertrain choices beyond its standard V8, the Tundra doesn’t give you the flexibility of other trucks.

Some noteworthy advantages of this Toyota include a long list of standard driver assistance features and an admirable 4.5-out-of-five predicted reliability rating.

Chevrolet Colorado (134,842)

A midsize pickup truck available in extended and crew cab styles with a choice between a 4-cylinder, a V6, and a turbo diesel summoning 369 lb.-ft. of torque, the Chevrolet Colorado offers variety. You can get anything from a basic work truck to an off-road-ready ZR2 Bison, and when properly equipped, a Colorado can haul up to 1,574 lbs. of payload and tow as much as 7,700 lbs. of a trailer.

The Chevrolet Colorado is a little less impressive than its full-size Silverado big brother. This compact pickup’s interior feels cramped, and there are many noticeable hard plastic cabin materials.  

On the bright side, Colorado shares the best tow rating in the compact pickup class with the related GMC Canyon, and it serves up relatively agile handling as well. The Colorado ZR2 trim is incredibly capable when the pavement ends, likely taking the mantle as the most off-road proficient vehicle that Chevy makes. Check out the special edition ZR2 Bison and its added aftermarket features for even more trail-conquering ability.

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Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD/3500HD (148,819)

Available in 2500HD and 3500HD model series, as well as multiple trim levels ranging from basic to luxurious, Chevy’s heavy-duty full-size truck, hauls up to 6,112 lbs. of payload and tows as much as 23,100 lbs. of weight, depending on how its configured. Get the optional Duramax turbodiesel V8 for maximum capability. A redesigned Silverado HD is coming for the 2020 model year.

Chevrolet is another General Motors brand, and its pickup offerings are very similar to GMC’s. With the same mechanical underpinnings, features, and powertrain options, it’s no surprise that these two brands have very similar average scores. 

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a little less upscale inside than its GMC Sierra cousin. However, for this model year, it now boasts 13,400 pounds of towing prowess – tops in the full-size truck class. The Chevrolet Silverado’s new diesel engine is also rated at up to 33 mpg on the highway, another best-in-class accolade.

The top three spots are dominated by trucks, and the Silverado fell to third place with a year-over-year drop of nearly 2 percent.

Ram Heavy Duty (149,287)

Overhauled for the 2019 model year, the Ram Heavy Duty comes in 2500 and 3500 series and is available with a turbo diesel engine making 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque. The maximum towing capacity measures 35,100 lbs. and a Ram HD can handle a payload of up to 7,680 lbs. Multiple trim levels, from basic to luxurious, are available, and the Ram 2500 Power Wagon is especially talented when off-roading.

Winning our Best Truck Brand award – by a landslide – is Ram. The inherent advantage the brand has is that its sole pickup model is excellent. Since a full redesign for the 2019 model year, the Ram 1500 has bested all other models in our full-size trucks class. 

The 2020 Ram 1500 has impressive, but not quite class-leading, towing and hauling capacities. Its true appeal is outside of the workday. We’re comfortable saying that the Ram has the nicest interior in its segment, and it has several features you may be surprised to see in a truck. These include a brilliant and futuristic 12-inch vertical touch-screen infotainment system.

The Ram also boasts a posh, pampering ride quality and gobs of rear-seat legroom in the biggest Crew Cab configuration. No matter what you’re looking for in a truck, you’re almost certain to find it in the Ram 1500.

The refreshed Ram may not be the best-selling vehicle in America, but with a whopping 18 percent year-over-year sales improvement, it could well be the premier success story of 2019.

GMC Sierra 1500 (158,284)

Redesigned for 2019, the GMC Sierra 1500 light-duty full-size truck is improved in every way. Highlights include a range of engines, including two V8s, a turbocharged 4-cylinder, and a turbodiesel 6-cylinder. A new AT4 trim level preps the Sierra 1500 for off-road duty, and the popular Denali luxury model returns. The maximum towing capability is 10,200 lbs., and the Sierra can handle a payload of up to 2,240 lbs.

The full-size GMC Sierra 1500 was completely redesigned for the 2019 model year, and it carries over into 2020 as a solid option for those looking for a capable and comfortable half-ton pickup. The Sierra provides a cushioned ride and user-friendly features. You’ll also have your choice of five engines—these range from a very fuel-efficient turbodiesel to a midrange V6 and muscular V8s. The GMC Sierra’s towing and payload capacities are good, but they don’t quite match those of class leaders.

Unlike its Chevrolet sibling, which appears near the end of this slideshow, sales for the Sierra were up by almost 6 percent in 2019.

Toyota Tacoma (245,659)

The most popular midsize truck in America, the Toyota Tacoma comes in extended- and crew-cab styles and in six trim levels, including the off-road-ready TRD Pro. Power comes courtesy of a 4-cylinder or a V6 engine, and the Tacoma can tackle a payload of up to 1,440 lbs. or a trailer weighing as much as 6,800 lbs.

More and more consumers are buying trucks for personal, everyday use, so Toyota gives its rugged, body-on-frame pickups a much-needed connectivity update for 2020. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa debut for the first time, but that modern technology can’t save the brand from bringing up the rear in our rankings. 

The 2020 Toyota Tacoma sits near the bottom of our compact pickup trucks list. This truck has as rabid a fanbase as nearly any other vehicle on the market, partly due to its excellent build quality and penchant for reliability. In the class, it’s hard to top the Tacoma TRD Pro for off-road prowess and rock-crawling capability.

The negatives outweigh the positives, however. The Tacoma suffers from an anemic 159-horsepower standard engine, a stiff ride quality, and a not-that-great passenger room.

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Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (436,480)

Redesigned for 2019, the Silverado 1500 light-duty full-size pickup truck offers plenty of variety. Eight trim levels and six powertrains are available, including off-road-ready Trail Boss versions and both a turbocharged 4-cylinder gas and turbocharged 6-cylinder diesel engine. The Silverado’s maximum payload rating is 2,250 lbs. and the maximum tow rating is 12,200 lbs.

Chevrolet is another General Motors brand, and its pickup offerings are very similar to GMC’s. With the same mechanical underpinnings, features, and powertrain options, it’s no surprise that these two brands have very similar average scores. 

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a little less upscale inside than its GMC Sierra cousin. However, for this model year, it now boasts 13,400 pounds of towing prowess – tops in the full-size truck class. The Chevrolet Silverado’s new diesel engine is also rated at up to 33 mpg on the highway, another best-in-class accolade.

The top three spots are dominated by trucks, and the Silverado fell to third place with a year-over-year drop of nearly 2 percent.

Top best-selling trucks

Ford F-150 (623,980)

For more than four decades, the Ford F-150 light-duty full-size truck has been the best-selling pickup in America. For 2019, three cab styles and seven trim levels are available, including the Baja-inspired Raptor. Turbocharged gas and diesel 6-cylinder engines are available, along with a traditional V8. The truck’s maximum payload rating is 3,270 lbs., and when properly equipped, the F-150 can tow up to 13,200 pounds.

The Ford F-150 is probably the most famous truck on the planet, and it continues the Ford F-Series’ 40-year record as the best selling truck on the market. The F-150 is a perennial challenger for the No. 1 position in our ranking of full-size pickup trucks, due in no small part to its towing and hauling capabilities, which are usually among the best in the class.

The 2020 F-150 can tow up to 13,200 pounds, and it has a maximum payload of nearly 3,300 pounds. It also offers almost universal appeal for shoppers who use a truck more as a daily vehicle instead of for hard work. The F-150 SuperCrew – its largest cab style – has expansive rear legroom, and the interior quality in higher trims rivals some luxury vehicles. 

Ford offers its most popular vehicle with a half-dozen engine options and a wide array of appearance packages. It’s also available in cool trims such as the 450-horsepower, off-road-oriented Raptor.

America’s favourite truck brand is brought down slightly in our list by the Ford Ranger. This compact pickup was reintroduced to the U.S. market for the 2019 model year after several years away, but it’s not a totally brand new vehicle. Many body and mechanical underpinnings are shared with a smaller pickup that Ford has been selling for a few years in the rest of the world. 

For the U.S. version, though, Ford employs fully boxed frame rails that help the Ranger achieve a 1,860-pound payload capacity, which is respectable for the class. Its 7,500-pound maximum towing capacity also matches up well against some class leaders. 

Still, you’ll probably find some unimpressive cabin materials, which will be especially disappointing, given the Ranger’s above-average base price for the class. Look for a truly redesigned Ranger to come along sometime in 2021 or 2022.

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Nissan (74,360)

It’s been around 15 years since Nissan fully redesigned the Frontier, and this long-in-the-tooth model currently sits at the bottom of our compact pickup truck list. One of Frontier’s few outright advantages is that it’s the least-expensive new truck you can buy. Otherwise, there aren’t many good reasons to buy it over a rival. 

The Frontier’s base model is very bare-bones, and its standard engine is weak. Passenger space in this truck is limited, even in the larger Crew Cab model.

Nissan barely beats out its home country, rival Toyota as we step up from the bottom rung of the ladder. This brand’s trucks can’t tow or haul as much as many of their rivals can, limiting attraction for shoppers who want a serious workhorse. Their mainstream appeal is also hampered by unimpressive interior designs and subpar materials quality. 

The full-size Nissan Titan sees a number of changes for 2020. Chief among them is a refreshed exterior appearance, several new active safety features, and larger infotainment screen choices. Nissan giveth, but it also taketh away. For this model year, the formerly optional Cummins diesel is no longer available, nor can you get the Titan in a three-seat Single Cab configuration. Bed length and cab style are completely dependent on each other, so you can’t mix and match configurations like you can with many other trucks.


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