All totaled, the end-of-2017 automotive sales number was 17.25 million units. That's just a little less than the industry's 2016 total. Automakers sold 2,822,838 pickup trucks, accounting for an impressive 16.4 percent of total auto sales for 2017.
In the mid-size pickup class, the Toyota Tacoma finished the year strong, almost doubling the sales of its next closest competitor, the Chevrolet Colorado. Of note, the aging Nissan Frontier (the oldest platform in the class) fell well below 2016 sales numbers, as did the higher-priced GMC Canyon. They both fell more than 14 percent behind in sales when comparing 2016 sales to 2017. Additionally, although the Canyon outsold the Honda Ridgeline for several months in 2017, the Ridgeline did not finish last due to a strong beginning to the year.
In the full-size category, the Ford F-Series won the crown again, having one of the strongest Decembers in its history. However, when comparing manufacturer totals, GM's three-truck strategy paid off, giving it the title.
Several redesigned, updated or new pickups — the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Ram 1500, Ford Ranger and possibly an all-new player — will debut in 2018, so it's possible we'll see yet another increase in sales numbers for pickups. But if the experts are correct, overall automotive sales may dip below the 2017 total, meaning we'll be lucky to see 17 million sold units by the end of the year.
Although the stock market and certain sectors of the economy seem to be doing well, there are other variables such as the impact of the revamped tax code, the mid-term election cycle and recent severe winter storms that could have a negative impact on consumer spending in 2018. We'll know more after we see the January numbers.
Cars.com graphics by Paul Dolan; manufacturer images