Why Is No One Buying ‘America’s Favorite Truck?’
Ford loves to remind buyers that its F-Series is “America’s Favorite Truck.” But F-150 and Super Duty sales are slumping: Ford’s sold 60,000 fewer full-size pickup trucks than at this time last year. Are these buyers opting for a Maveric? Saving up for a Lightning? Or did they jump to another brand?
Ford F-Series sales are down 30%
According to the car sales data website GoodCarBadCar.net, Ford only sold 140,701 F-Series pickup trucks during the first three months (Quarter 1) of 2022. That’s down from 203,797 trucks during Q1 of 2021–a drop of 30.96%.
Do Ford F-Series sales usually fluctuate this much? Absolutely not. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, Ford managed to increase its F-Series truck sales every single year, without fail. Even the Covid-19 Pandemic only took a 13% bite out of F-Series sales between Q1 20019 and Q1 2020. Ford’s truck sales even came back up during quarantine.
With the exception of 2019, Q1 sales have been above 200K since 2016–until now. In fact, F-Series sales have not been this low since 2011; Ford sold more F-Series trucks back in Q1 of 2012 than it did in Q1 of 2022. You can see sales broken down by year in the table below:
|Year||Ford’s First Quarter F-Series Sales|
Are pickup buyers choosing other Ford trucks?
Ford’s F-Series is made up of all its full-size trucks. This includes Ford’s famed F-150 half-ton pickup truck. It also includes Ford’s Super Duty F-250 through F-750 work trucks. Ford’s other trucks include its midsize Ranger and its compact truck: the Maverick. Could F-Series sales be down because buyers are choosing a different Ford truck?
The truth is that the Ford Ranger’s sales are falling as fast as its F-Series sales. In the first four months of 2021, Ford sold 36,967 Rangers. But in the first four months of 2022 the automaker only moved 22,749 Rangers. That’s a difference of 38.46%, the worst Q1 drop in the industry.
Ford did not release its compact Maverick pickup until 2022. In the first four months of 2022, Ford has already sold 28,782 Mavericks. In April alone, Ford sold 9,537 Mavericks. This month, the Ford Maverick outsold the Ranger or the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz combined. The Maverick even outsold the all-new Toyota Tundra.
Maverick sales are certainly strong. But Ford is not selling nearly enough Mavericks to explain its plummeting F-Series sales. And while folks commuting in an F-150 might trade that truck in for a Maverick, fleets that buy Ford Super Duty cab/chassis trucks couldn’t get the job done with a unibody Maverick.
Are pickup buyers choosing another full-size truck?
It might be easy to think that Ford F-Series buyers have all jumped ship for a newer truck. And while no other full-size pickup truck’s sales have tanked quite like the F-Series, all of the Detroit Three have taken a hit this quarter. Ram’s pickup sales, Chevrolet’s Silverado sales, and GMC’s Sierra sales have all dipped in Q1 2022, as compared to Q1 2021.
Even the Toyota Tacoma, Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Titan’s sales have dipped. The only two trucks that have seen a year-over-year increase are the all-new Toyota Tundra and the all-new Nissan Frontier. And while Nissan Frontier sales have doubled, they’ve only increased by 10k a quarter. This might explain the slip in other midsize truck sales, but is a far cry from explaining the Ford F-Series slump.
We previously reported on the surge in pickup truck sales last year, during the quarantine. This could have happened because people staying home had some disposable income and decided to treat themselves. It could have also been connected to the surge in first-time home buyers and the exodus from city centers. It looks like this sales boom has finally cooled and the most popular pickup truck is being hit the worst.
In addition, skyrocketing gas prices probably make folks think twice about a full-size pickup truck. Brand-new compacts such as the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick launched at the right time and their sales are booming while full-size F-Series sales fall.