DETROIT (TheStreet) -- America's love affair with pickup trucks has resumed.
Truck sales rose across the board in July:
pickup sales rose 27.4%, while overall sales rose 3.3%. At
, sales of its Silverado pickup rose 25.5%, while overall sales rose 5.4%. At
pickup sales fell only 3.7% while overall sales fell by 6.8%. Lastly, at
, pickup sales rose 13.6% while overall sales rose 5%.
The increase in pickup sales reflects continued moderate gas prices as well as a slowly improving economy and easing credit availability for automotive purchases. It is, of course, a benefit for the Detroit automakers relative to foreign competitors, because the U.S. companies have long dominated the pickup market. These vehicles also provide higher profit margins than small cars.
Pickup sales numbers rose even though home construction has been trending down, belying a historic correlation. New home construction fell in June for the second straight month and is at its lowest level since October.
"Homebuilders tend to be right now the most pessimistic group of people, frankly," said Ford sales analyst George Pipas on the company's monthly sales call. However, "there's road construction everywhere," said Ken Czubay, vice president for marketing and sales. He said those projects have enabled construction workers to replace worn-out vehicles.
"There's lots of activity going on outside of housing that would utilize the functionality of the pickup truck," said Ford economist Emily Kolinski-Morris.
Read on to see the best-selling trucks.
The Ford F-Series pickup was, in fact, the top-selling vehicle in the U.S in July -- and the Ford F-150 has been the country's top-selling vehicle for 34 years. It's really no surprise then that its sales were up 38.9% in July, totaling 50,449. (Total Ford truck sales were 67,147 in July.) Year-to-date through July, F-Series sales totaled 290,794, or 28% of all Ford's sales.
It's worth noting, though, that in the glory days in 2004 and 2005, Ford sold about 900,000 F Series trucks, far ahead of this year's pace.
In July, GM's Chevy Silverado was the third best selling vehicle in the U.S., behind the F-Series pickup and Toyota's Camry/Solara. Silverado sales rose 25.5% to 34,664 in July; year-to-date, Silverado sales totaled 199,692.
Chrysler depends heavily on sales of pickups, minivans and SUVs, which accounted for 77% of its July sales. Its Dodge Ram was the eighth most popular vehicle in July, as sales increased 13.6% to 20,138. The Ram Heavy Duty was
2010 truck of the year, and Ram Heavy sales rose 89% in July. Ram pricing starts at $21,510., while the 2500 starts at $28,165.
In general, Toyota trucks have been unable to duplicate the success of the company's small cars when it comes to luring buyers away from the Detroit Three, a reflection that U.S. pickup truck buyers have a high level of brand loyalty.
Sales of the Toyota Tacoma fell 25.8% in July to 9,674. Tacoma pricing begins at $16,365. Sales of the heavier Toyota Tundra rose 40.3% to 9,674. Tundra pricing begins at $23,455.
--Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.