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What’s happening to the demand for midsize pickup trucks? They’re the choice for drivers looking for hauling cred in a smaller package. But sales of four midsize trucks are dropping. The Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier, Jeep Gladiator, and Ford Ranger are struggling.

Surprised? We are, too, especially about the redesigned 2023 Frontier. But that in itself might be the problem. Could there be issues with ramping up supplies because of new-car bugs? Or are buyers just going elsewhere?

What’s the reason these midsize truck sales are down?

Gray 2023 Jeep Gladiator rear 3/4 view
2023 Jeep Gladiator pickup | Stellantis

And what about the Gladiator? In its shortened first year, it saw sales of 40,000 and almost doubled in 2020 to 77,542. The 2021 Gladiator did even better, selling nearly 90,000. Then those numbers fell by 13.2% last year to 77,855, almost the same as in 2020. 

But in 2023, those numbers are down further by 30% year-over-year. At that rate, the Wrangler pickup truck will be lucky to hit 55,000 sales in 2023. Will the rumored updates for the 2024 model make a difference? 

Ford and Chevrolet hope that’s true for the revamped 2024 Ranger and Colorado. Because those midsize trucks will boast complete redesigns, shoppers might hold off until the two new pickups hit dealerships. However, some buyers purchase outgoing models to score discounts or avoid new-model price increases. So that typically keeps sales steady for vehicles being replaced. 

Are all midsize pickup trucks selling poorly?

2023 Honda Ridgeline front 3/4 view
2023 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

Not all midsize trucks are suffering. The Toyota Tacoma and Honda Ridgeline have seen increases this year.

Yes, the much-maligned Ridgeline is finding favor while other traditional pickups tank. Critics decry its unibody construction and platform shared with the Odyssey minivan. But the Ridgeline’s year-over-year sales are up almost 40%. 

And the Toyota Tacoma is a juggernaut in its class. But so is the Nissan Frontier. However, the Taco sold 116,845 in the first half of 2023 for a 7.5% gain, while the Frontier was down over 20%. Nissan moved only 34,000 in that timeframe. 

Are all truck sales tanking in 2023?

White 2023 Ford Ranger off-road
2023 Ford Ranger | Ford Motor Company

The Ford Ranger is struggling the most among midsize pickup trucks. Sales fell almost 30%, from 33,840 in the first half of 2022 to 24,118 so far this year. In fact, the highly anticipated 2023 Ranger has sold fewer units than all other 2023 midsize trucks. Maybe buyers are moving to the F-150. Automotive News reports that F-150 sales are up 10%.

And in case you were wondering if these dips apply to the smaller Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick, they don’t. Both compact trucks are up from this time last year. Ford has sold 42,499 Mavericks so far, while Hyundai has moved just over 20,000 Santa Cruz pickups. 

Those are the numbers, with some speculation about why they are what they are. We’ll have to wait until October to see if some of these typically popular trucks see increases or are destined for lower-than-expected sales.


Driven: The 2023 Nissan Frontier Is Capable and Surprisingly Refined