Top 2015 Truck Story Lines to Watch

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In the next day or so, the first sales results of 2015 are due. While, we don’t expect many surprises, we do wonder how the year will play out. There are many new competitors coming to the market, shifts in production and new truck unveils on the horizon. Here are the story lines we will be following.

A big surprise for Toyota is the sales rate of their 1794 pickup. We expect it continue to sell well in 2015.

A big surprise for Toyota is the sales rate of their 1794 pickup. We expect it continue to sell well in 2015.

Toyota Tundra Production Up, New Nissan Threat

Before we get to the other manufactures, make no mistake that 2015 will be a year of transition for Toyota. Not only are they shifting production around, Nissan has proclaimed they see the Tundra as their primary competitor. Like we said a month ago, the new Titan will have an impact on Toyota sales. While that isn’t in question, the lingering question of whether customers really want a heavy-duty half-ton remains.

We also expect Toyota to build more Tundra pickups than in year’s past. This is due to expanding production in other areas.

Ford F-150 Gets Rolling

With one more plant going under a transformation, Ford will be ready soon to steam full ahead with the F-150. Currently, Ford executives plan on dealers being fully stocked by April. This will mean the summer months will finally show how consumers are responding to the new truck.

GM Trucks Continue to Surprise

Over the weekend, Chevy’s truck guy, Tom Wilkinson, called the new Ford F-150 a “nice upgrade.” He was responding to a Car and Driver test which found the F-150 barely topping the Chevy Silverado. While Ford’s Mike Levin stood behind his product (as he should), Wilkinson did bring up some interesting points.

“The F-150 is a nice update of the old truck, with modestly higher payload and trailer ratings offset by still-unanswered questions about insurance costs and access to body repairs outside of major cities,” Wilkinson told USA Today.

The only problem we see with Wilkinson’s statement is the same can be said of his truck. Truthfully, the Chevy Silverado is also a “nice upgrade” and doesn’t really feature any groundbreaking new features. That is except for the 4G LTE WiFi hotspot which Chevy devoted a Super Bowl commercial too. We have used the feature and while it is convenient, it is really only convenient at certain times for a certain customer. Unlike the many new features in the new F-150, the hotspot is pretty lame in comparison.

RAM Continues to Build Momentum

Then, there is Ram. The upstart has been building steam for well over a year now and even passed long-time #2 Chevy’s Silverado sales one month last year. Ram finished the year down a little more than 90,000 units behind the Silverado.

Two big questions for Ram.

  1. Is the EcoDiesel a sales fluke? Will it continue to sell well?
  2. Will heavy-duty models spur more growth?

The first question is important for Toyota Tundra owners. Toyota continues to insist diesel isn’t the right course of action and the EcoDiesel is really a flash in the pan. If the EcoDiesel sees consistent growth, that argument is null and void proving Toyota is wrong. If the EcoDiesel falls off dramatically, then Toyota looks pretty smart (and so does Ford). This will be a fascinating story line to follow.

Secondly, Ram launched its commercial lineup a few years ago and it is seeing continued growth. This is a big key for them and could help it overcome the Chevy Silverado. Also, this could catapult them into a real dogfight with Ford as a real challenger. We aren’t saying Chevy isn’t a strong competitor, we are saying Ram has more energy to be a stronger challenger.

Where does Toyota fit into all of this? Simple, Toyota stands to either be a big winner or a big loser. Will the rush to be #1 cause quality issues? Will Toyota continue to outsell its production? With long-term loyalty a big item for truck makers, this could have repercussions for years.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Randy says:

    Nissan does make funny statements: “Nissan has proclaimed they see the Tundra as their primary competitor”.

    There are two elements that make that statement strange: 1) Titan sales to date have been conquest sales from Ford GM and Ram, not Tundra. 2) Nissan places the “eight year old” Tundra as their primary competitor?

    That leads to the question: Has Nissan made a mistake?

    It does bring a little more credit to the statement from Toyota that the Ram Eco Diesel may just be a flash in the pan. Add to that, the Eco Diesel seems to be having some teething problems….it may not go as well as planned?

    Toyota “may” come up the big winner if they continue to focus on improving QDR and absolutely bring new products to market that have that even better QDR. This should be very easy for them to do, since the other three do such a lousy job at it and/or have given up on it entirely.

    Let’s turn this all around and upside down: The only way I would consider another F150 would be if Toyota made it.

    This reminds me of my old 2001 Avalon. It was the “perfect” Buick Electra that GM could not figure out how to make in 50 years.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I think Nissan is thinking that the “American” buyer will never go for them and thus they are targeting the same customer who will “give them a try.”


  2. Mark says:

    I will be in the market for a new truck in late 2016. The new Titan XD is on my short list. I love Toyota but if they don’t offer a diesel by then I won’t consider a new Tundra. Not a small diesel for mpgs either.

  3. mk says:

    if tundra capacity in making them increases in 2015 as am sure it will, there will a more of a surplus at end of 2015 for sure and rebates go up, especially if gas prices continue to go back up which they will in later 2015 am sure on that. That means toyota sales will be down and not good plus 2016 will offer no new changes from the way it looks.

    most of us want better mpg and for me as well better quality control in their components inside the truck. 2014 for me is a joke, no better than the 2007 in my eyes and even worse since less storage areas and no upgrades that I saw at all, NOT even 1 that mattered to me and price 2014 vs. 2007 is about 5-6K more in price now vs. 2007.

    Face it, late in 2015 and for sure in 2016, the tundra will fail and not gain any market share for sure and probably go down some as well not selling as much as toyota would like.

    Yes, I hold the crystal ball-LOL

    I still think though the tundra is best bang for your buck apples to apples comparison, but is becoming too expensive for what you get in terms of value for the dollar just like the big 3 is now.

    Not sure where to go in 2016 to be honest.

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