Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC remain firmly entrenched as the top dogs in the fullsize pickup segment in the U.S., despite the best efforts of Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

The Detroit Three dominate the sector as much as they did five years ago, Ward's data shows.

Of the 1.11 million light-duty fullsize pickups sold in the U.S. last year, Ford (F-Series, Lincoln Mark LT), GM (Chevy Silverado and Avalanche, Cadillac Escalade EXT, GMC Sierra) and Chrysler (Ram) models accounted for 1.01 million or 91% of the total.

Detroit brands also held 91% share of the Ward's Large Pickup segment in 2005.

Domestic-brand pickups also were more resilient last year, one of the worst in recent memory for auto sales. They saw declines of 17.7%-34.0% compared with Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan's 42%-plus losses.

That's not to say the two Asian pickup trucks, specifically the Tundra, haven't made some headway in the segment, one of the most competitive and lucrative in the U.S. market.

In 2007, the year the current-generation Tundra went on sale to much fanfare, Detroit Three dominance of the segment shrank, with the U.S. OEMs accounting for 87.8% of total fullsize pickup deliveries.

Tundra's 2007 sales of 196,555 represented a 57.9% increase over the previous generation's 2006 tally of 124,508.

Yet, the Tundra's 2007 total fell shy of Toyota's 200,000-unit sales goal for the truck that year and, due to what the auto maker partially blames on a recession-related drop in construction, the Tundra ended 2009 with 79,385 sales. Fullsize pickup sales are linked closely with new housing starts.

Nissan's Titan, which debuted in 2003 as an '04, also has failed to hit its goal of 100,000 annual sales, coming closest in 2005 with 86,945 deliveries.

The shortfall in Tundra sales has caused Toyota to realign its manufacturing capacity in the U.S.

In 2008, two years after starting up the 300,000-unit-capacity San Antonio plant, Toyota quit assembling the Tundra at its Princeton, IN, factory, shifting all builds to San Antonio.

This past summer, Toyota added production of the midsize Tacoma pickup to San Antonio to help fill capacity.

Also in 2008, Toyota shockingly idled the San Antonio plant for two months due to slow Tundra sales.

The Detroit Three also have chopped fullsize-pickup capacity, with each shuttering plants or cutting shifts in recent years due to rising gas prices and the collapsing U.S. economy.

That makes it difficult to discern whether the Tundra is a victim of U.S. economic doldrums or other factors.

Lack of awareness of Asian models by fullsize-pickup buyers is one issue and more lucrative Detroit-Three incentives are another. Ford, GM and Chrysler also offer a much wider variety of engine and body-style choices, which gives them an edge.

Another important aspect is that U.S. pickup consumers remain fiercely loyal to domestic brands, helping Detroit-based auto makers hold on to their dominance in fullsize pickups, unlike other vehicle segments.

Data for the Ward's big-volume Upper Middle car segment, which includes the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Chevy Malibu, shows U.S. OEMs lost 15 points of market share from 1999-2009 (48.8% to 33.9%).

In that same period, the Detroit Three conceded only 6.9 points of share to Asian competitors in the Ward's Large Pickup group (98.0% to 91.1%).