The list of factors conspiring against the Canadian pickup truck market in 2022 isn’t a short one.
We were all cramped by a surge in the price of fuel. Throughout the year, Inflation was found wreaking havoc on monthly household expenses. After the early pandemic days of wildly appealing discounts, there’s been a sharp decline in available manufacturer incentives.
You are reading: Driving By Numbers: Canada’s best-selling pickup trucks in 2022
Beyond that, there’s the simple fact that pickup truck prices — along with prices of new vehicles across the board, are at an all-time high. In the third-quarter, for example, the average transaction price for pickups was 7-per-cent higher than a year before: $69,790. And don’t forget the big picture — the auto industry on the whole declined at a 9-per-cent clip, year-over-year, in 2022. It was the lowest-volume year since the global economic collapse of 2009.
Yet pickup truck sales, both full-size and small/midsize pickup truck sales, increased in 2022. Just under 24 per cent of the new vehicles sold in Canada over the last 12 months were pickups. Of those sold, 53,401 were small and midsize pickups, ranging from the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick that combined to generate 3 per cent of the pickup market, to the traditional midsize sector that accounts for 12 per cent of truck sales, to the all-conquering full-size pickup truck category that averages more than 25,000 sales per month.
While overall auto sales are now little more than 3-per-cent stronger than they were when the bottom fell out of the market in 2009, pickup truck volume in Canada is now 48-per-cent stronger.
If 2009 seems like too weak a comparison, be mindful of comparisons with other years, as well. Canadians bought more pickups in 2022 than in any year prior to 2016.
But what kind of pickups were Canadians buying in 2022? We’ve checked the results for every pickup and compiled our findings.
12. Honda Ridgeline: 3,135, down 10 per cent
In a Honda lineup that tumbled 30 per cent in 2022, the Ridgeline’s 10-per-cent drop is a positive. The Ridgeline’s never been a high-volume contender, nor was it ever intended to be. But a fourth-quarter 56-per-cent drop to only 572 units was an especially low-volume effort.
11. Hyundai Santa Cruz: 3,682, up 296 per cent
Just as the Ridgeline was never intended to take on Detroit’s brutes, the Hyundai Santa Cruz wasn’t designed by Hyundai to take the fight to the Toyota Tacoma, let alone the Ford F-150. Instead, Hyundai is using existing architecture to generate additional volume at high margins by way of a lifestyle pickup. Remember, the Santa Cruz is only part of an overall Hyundai utility vehicle family that produced 84,478 sales in 2022, including 21,884 sales from the Santa Cruz’s closely related Tucson sibling.
10. Ford Ranger: 4,119, down 63 per cent
Overshadowed by the more affordable Maverick, which is far closer to being a true successor to the old Ford Ranger, Ford’s current midsize pickup is due for both replacement and a re-positioning. The Maverick has stolen all of the Ford’s small truck limelight, and the Ranger simply can’t compete on the upper end of its price spectrum with Canada’s best-selling vehicle inside its own showroom.
9. Jeep Gladiator: 4,985, up 6 per cent
Given its niche potential is a premium-priced dedicated off-road pickup with a small bed, the Gladiator’s continued sales growth is actually quite impressive. That’s particularly true given the dominance of the Gladiator’s donor vehicle, Jeep’s Wrangler. (23,994 Wranglers were sold in 2022.) Jeep sold its first 1,950 Canadian-market Gladiators in 2019, added 4,481 in 2020, another 4,724 in 2021, and 4,950 more in 2022.
8. Nissan Frontier: 5,075, up 196 per cent
After a brief hiatus following the long-running 2005-2020 Frontier’s demise, sales of the distinctly more modern new Frontier perked up in 2022. The Frontier isn’t running with the big midsize guns from General Motors and Toyota, at least not yet. Moreover, Nissan is placing a lot of weight on the Frontier’s shoulders — the company’s Canadian division called it quits on the Titan after the 2021 model year.
7. Ford Maverick: 7,071, up 370 per cent
Setting aside a fourth-quarter in which Maverick volume tumbled 44 per cent, this small Ford is a certified hit. Setting aside the combined totals of GM’s midsize tandem, the Maverick is actually Canada’s second-best-selling non-full-size pickup.
6. Toyota Tundra: 11,561, up 74 per cent
Finally. For the first time since the 2007 model year, there’s an all-new Tundra. And it’s working. Toyota Canada reported the Tundra’s second-best year in the Tundra’s history — only 2018 was better — as the truck’s market share in the full-size category climbed from 2.2 per cent in 2021 to 3.8 per cent in 2022.
5. General Motors Colorado and Canyon: 12,596, up 21 per cent
With its two virtually identical pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, GM Canada made significant market share headway in 2022. A year ago, GM’s midsize duo owned 21.4 per cent of all non-full-size truck sales. In 2022, that figure jumped to 23.6 per cent. The Colorado is the bigger seller with 7,009 sales in 2022; the Canyon added 5,587 more.
4. Toyota Tacoma: 12,738, down 14 per cent
Outselling its pair of GM rivals by a scant 142 units, the Toyota Tacoma barely maintained its position No.1 status as Canada’s top midsize truck. Nonexistent inventory did the Tacoma no favours in 2022. The Tacoma is now also faced with a far more capable in-house challenger. In 2021, the Tacoma outsold the Tundra by a 124-per-cent margin. That gap narrowed to 10 per cent in 2022.
3. Ram P/U: 75,740, up 3 per cent
Technically Canada’s second-best-selling individual pickup truck nameplate and second-best-selling vehicle overall, Stellantis’s Ram pickup line is a distant third-place finisher when compared with the total efforts of its Detroit rivals. Ram’s 75,740 sales resulted in modest market share growth in 2022, but in terms of outright volume, Ram is still well off its record pace. There were 98,465 Rams sold in 2017.
2. General Motors Silverado and Sierra: 105,599, up 0.1 per cent
Though often considered as separate units, there’s no denying General Motors sells nearly identical pickups under two different brands. As a joint effort, this creates Canada’s No.2 line of vehicles with over 100,000 sales. The Chevrolet Silverado (53,281 sales in 2022) and GMC Sierra (53,318) produce 46 per cent of GM Canada’s volume.
1. Ford F-Series: 114,729, down 1 per cent
In 2022, nearly 8 per cent of new vehicles, 32 per cent of pickups, 37 per cent of full-size pickups, and 49 per cent of Fords were F-Series pickup trucks. And this was an off year for the F-Series. Over the course of the half-decade prior to 2022, Ford Canada averaged annual F-Series sales of over 138,000 F-Series. The F-Series has been Canada’s top-selling truck since 1966, a 57-year streak.