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The midsize truck market is robust with the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and the Honda Ridgeline all offering respectable truck capability in a slightly smaller and often more affordable pickup package.

But in the first quarter of 2023, sales figures for these full-size truck alternatives could signal a down year for the segment as just two models are enjoying improved quarterly sales over the first three months of last year.

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma drives through sand as a midsize truck.
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Midsize trucks sales down significantly in Q1

It’s been a rough sales quarter for the midsize pickup segment, according to figures gathered by GM Authority. Only two models—the Tacoma and Ridgeline—have improved over their Q1 sales from last year.

The Ridgeline is the only standout of the group, with sales up 41% in Q1. However, this could be attributed to Honda’s inventory woes of 2022. The first three months of 2023 has been a banner quarter for the automaker across the board, and Honda didn’t mince words in announcing that inventory has certainly helped its sales figures so far this year.

Meanwhile, the Tacoma is the only other midsize truck to post a better Q1 over last year, and the margin is in the green by just 0.75%, or 403 more models sold than the same period the previous year.

Chevy Colorado and Ford Ranger sales plummet

Outside of the Ridgeline and Tacoma, all midsize pickups are down in sales by double-digit percentages for Q1. The worst of the group is the Chevy Colorado, falling 39%, or about 8,000 units, from 2022.

This comes as the Colorado enters a new generation for 2023 with larger dimensions, an updated powertrain, a new rugged exterior design, and more refined cabin that makes its older rivals feel outdated. Those improvements haven’t yet translated to better sales, partly because the new model hasn’t yet made its way to buyers. GM Authority notes the new Colorado isn’t hitting dealers and customers at an expedited rate as “the process seems to be slow going.”

A redesign could be at play for the Ford Ranger’s slagging sales as well. Ford’s midsize truck is down a whopping 35%, or 6,139 units, in Q1. Perhaps the Blue Oval faithful are awaiting the arrival of the refreshed 2024 Ranger considering the pickup hasn’t exactly wowed automotive experts since it returned to the segment in 2019.

The Nissan Frontier received its much-need refresh for the 2022 model year, but its sales figures are also in the red. Frontier quarterly sales are down 24.45% year-over-year, though Nissan still only trails the Tacoma in overall sales.

Jeep Gladiator sales are down 24% from this time last year. The Jeep outpaced the Colorado in sales by an ultra-slim margin of just 319 units in Q1 (13,575 to 13,256).

Is the midsize truck market cooling off for good?

Slumping sales for midsize pickups in the first quarter continue a negative slide for the segment, which was down four percent overall in 2022, according to Newsweek. It could point to midsize trucks infringing into the pricing territory of full-size trucks—it’s easy to surmise some buyers are willing to spend a few grand more for the added size, capability, power, and features of a larger pickup.

Then again, the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz have shown there is a market for compact trucks, a segment that didn’t exist a few years ago, which could be attractive some prospective midsize buyers away.

It’s also worth noting the electric pickup segment is picking up steam and could be attracting those who previously bought midsize trucks. The F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T are already in plenty of driveways, and the Ram 1500 Revolution and Silverado 1500 EV are debuting for the 2024 model year. There’s simply not yet an all-electric option in the midsize pickup segment.

Perhaps the true acid test for the segment’s sales fortunes could come next year when completely revamped Tacomas and Rangers hit the market to compete with the refreshed Frontier and Colorado/Canyon, and inventory levels continue to stabilize.


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