Truck sales have returned as the vehicle sales leader for 2011 – if only by the slim margin of 22,000 units with a 50.1 percent sales ratio, barely outselling cars.
Comparatively, 2010 model year cars edged truck sales by 400,000 units or a 51.7 percent market share.
"With fuel prices tame, pickup truck sales should outpace the rest of the market in 2012", said Polk analyst Anthony Pratt.
Top 2011 leaders in vehicle sales were Ford's F–Series at 584,917 units followed by Chevrolet Silverado at 415,130 units sold.
Other U.S. manufacturers in the top 10 was Chrysler Group's Ram in sixth place with 244,763 units. The sales figure includes the automaker's sport utility vehicles and crossovers considered as trucks for sales reporting purposes.
The truck segment is as diversified as the car segment with car classifications of compact, midsize, full–size and luxury models.
Difference between truck and car segments is classification names – small pickup, standard pickup and heavy duty pickup as well as sport models that are more car–like and include Honda's Ridgeline, Chevrolet's Avalanche and Cadillac's Escalade EXT.
Other than sport models, pickups have various door options, seating capacities, various bed sizes, motor and transmission options and wheel drive options.
Heavy duty trucks are the backbone of America. Basically three American manufacturers own this segment: Chrysler Group with its Ram HD, Ford with F–Series Super Duty, General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado HD and the GMC Sierra HD.
Heavy duty implies work truck to most people. While this may be the case, many trucks do double–duty daily as they are used for family hauling and recreational trips.
Prime considerations for selecting your correct vehicle include payloads, towing capacity, engine size, comfort and convenience features and wheel drive selections. Based on sales results, the choice is a difficult one with all of the heavy-duty trucks offering variations of these features.
For example, the maximum payload hauling capacity of the GM HD trucks is 7,215 pounds. Ford HD weighs in at 7,110 pounds. Ram HD offers a payload hauling capacity of 5,280 pounds.
Will you be pulling a trailer, camper or boat? If so, Ford rings the bell with a maximum towing capacity of 24,500 pounds, GM with 23,000 pounds and Ram with 22,750 pounds. Recommended is a fifth-wheel setup for towing heavy loads.
Concerned about frequent gas stops? Ford has three fuel capacity tanks with the highest holding 37.5 gallons. GM tops out at 36 gallons while Ram fills to 35 gallons.
All three manufacturers offer a diesel engines ranging from 400 horsepower from Ford, 397 horsepower from GM and 350 horsepower from Ram. From a diesel torque perspective, Ford and Ram lead the group with 800 lbs.–ft. of torque while GM offers 765 lbs.–ft.
General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra record the same data and general specification and they use the same drive–train components. Their body styling and interiors differ, however.
The GMC Sierra offers an optional upscale Denali package that includes exterior body trim enhancements, upgraded interior and features that include heated and cooled front seats, leather wrapped heated steering wheel and rear-vision camera. Ford offers a King Ranch package with luxury features that include seats with hand–cut leather upholstery from the King Ranch in Texas.
Premium trucks can be dressed up with paint selections, body trim and cabin enhancements to the envy of car segment owners with test drives of the Ford F–250 4x4 Crew Cab Lariat with the King Ranch package and the GMC Sierra Denali 2500 Crew Cab four–wheel drive diesel. Both trucks came fully optioned at costs listed in the low $60,000 range.