A flurry of new and redesigned full-size pickups entering the Canadian market, combined with more midsize trucks and offerings from Japan-based automakers, will widen the battlefront for market share in one of the industry’s hottest, most profitable segments.
By the end of 2018, redesigned versions three of the top four highest-selling full-size pickups in Canada — the Ram, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado — will be on the road, each with technology upgrades and weight reductions aimed at closing the gap with the top-selling Ford F series. The slightest slip can have consequences, as these high-margin vehicles are crucial to profitability.
At the same time, pickup buyers appear increasingly interested in alternatives to the Detroit Three’s full-size offerings, though they present little serious threat. Toyota Tundra sales were up 39 per cent through the first quarter of 2018, while sales of the Nissan Frontier surged 32 per cent. And the midsize market, led by the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma, began the year on a similar roll, one Ford seems likely to latch onto when it enters the segment in 2019 with the new Ranger.
Demand for pickups, along with utility vehicles, has been a major factor in the growth of new-vehicle sales in Canada over the past several years, culminating in a sixth-consecutive annual sales record in 2017.