The year is for the pickup truck side of the auto industry, with most of the big truckmakers showing gains over January 2017 sales numbers. Only Ram, the GMC Sierra and the Honda Ridgeline experienced a decline.
Mid-size pickups remain on everyone's radar, with the getting plenty of attention at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the next-generation Nissan Frontier rumored to debut before the year's end.
The top-selling mid-sizer, the Toyota Tacoma, had a strong month. It continued its 2017 momentum by outselling the light-duty and heavy-duty Sierras by more than 5,000 units. That meant the Tacoma started 2018 in the No. 4 position on our chart, moving up from No. 5 at the end of 2017. Chevrolet Colorado numbers for January were up almost 25 percent when compared to last year, with the Ridgeline falling into the bottom spot, selling just more than 2,000 vehicles.
Looking at manufacturer sales numbers, GM continued to benefit from its unique three-truck strategy for each of its brands, meaning both Chevrolet and GMC offer a mid-size, a half-ton and a pair of heavy-duty pickups.
January is typically one of the weakest months of the year for auto sales, but we'll have to wait and see how long winter lasts to determine how pickup sales fare. Some analysts point to low interest rates, steady job gains and the recent tax reform to justify moderate optimism, but given how quickly things can change we're not making any predictions.
Manufacturer images; Cars.com graphics by Paul Dolan