Nissan Frontier Surprisingly Outselling Five Newer Trucks

The Nissan Frontier midsize pickup beats five other midsize truck brands in its class in sales so far in 2019. As wrong as that sounds being that the Frontier is over 20 years old with only minor changes while some of the midsize trucks it beats are almost all-new, it’s true.

The Nissan Frontier beats the Jeep Gladiator, Honda Ridgeline, GMC Canyon and Ford Ranger in sales so far this year. It has sold 8,718 compared to 7,932 for the Ranger, 2,771 for the Canyon, 2,532 for Ridgeline, and 4,882 for the Jeep Gladiator.

Frontier Over 20 Years Old

2019 Nissan Frontier
2019 Nissan Frontier | Nissan

We’ve touched on this before but the current Frontier is over 20 years old, having debuted in 1997. While the midsize pickup market seesaws back and forth right now it’s hot, yet Nissan still gets by with minor updates and refreshes. 

So, it’s amazing that it beats some trucks like the Honda Ridgeline which was all-new in 2017. It also leads the Ford Ranger which, though it’s also been around a few years is new to the US. Though available in Europe and elsewhere since 2015 it was freshened up for its US debut. There was pent up demand for a midsize Ford truck according to analysts. You would think it would be strong enough to beat out the Frontier in sales.

Frontier Beats New Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon | Jeep

The Jeep Gladiator has just been introduced yet sales are lagging. Some think it’s the $56,000+ price that is keeping sales from happening. Some dealers have said customers that balk at the price have ended up buying another Jeep model less expensive. 

There is also a recall with a stop-sale issued by FCA for affected vehicles. The problem is a possible fracture of the driveshaft, affecting about five percent of Gladiators built between December 2018 and June 2019.

From the recall notice, “Certain 2020 MY Jeep Gladiator vehicles built from December 15, 2018, through June 25, 2019, may have a rear driveshaft that was assembled without grease in the monoblock joint portion of the driveshaft. The suspect population was determined by reviewing the supplier’s driveshaft production records from the beginning of production of this driveshaft to identify which driveshafts may have been assembled without grease.”

Frontier Beats GMC Canyon

2019 GMC Canyon
2019 GMC Canyon | GMC

One other truck Frontier beats is the Canyon. Through 2019 both the GMC Sierra and Canyon do roughly one-third of the production as Chevrolet’s Silverado and Colorado, respectively. GMC exists not for the huge sales of the Silverado but more for Buick and Cadillac to both have trucks to sell like Chevrolet does.

But with Cadillac selling poorly and Buick ramping up SUV variants it is starting to make less sense for there to be a GMC. We’ve also noticed GM “dualing” or combining Chevy dealerships with Buick, or a combined Buick and Cadillac. In that case, there is no reason for that dealer to sell GMC trucks since it already sells the same vehicles with a Chevy emblem.

Total pickup truck sales are down 12,000 units for the month of September. Of course, the Ford F-150 leads the pack but was also down 14% in September and two percent overall this year.