By on December 4, 2012

Are you in the market for a full-size pickup? Hold your fire. With a little patience, you can profiteer from an all-out Battle of the BOFs. It’s a fight for your money, and for delivering optimistic 2012 sales goals. The noise you hear outside are the winds of war:  GM not only missed its truck sales goals in November, it also sits atop a 4 ½ month supply of full-size pickups taking up space (and cash) at dealer lots.  “We’ll continue to use all levers to influence inventory…,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s VP of U.S. sales. “That includes first and foremost adjusting production and marketing activity.” Translation: Shutdowns and cash on the hood.

GM’s pickup truck inventory is “much higher than the less-than-100-day supply considered ideal for full-size pickups,” says the Detroit News, a publication untainted by suspicion of anti-GM bias. We have been saying this for months, but who’s listening to us? Well, nadude does. Even the DetN is growing dubious of the canard that the trucks are piled high to compensate for downtime at plants that transition to new 2014 Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras. The DetN thinks that GM will have to offer bigger incentives to move the metal, and that the lieutenants at the General are “looking at possible production cuts.”

The first skirmishes were fought in November. After an artillery barrage of what GM called “unexpectedly high” incentives on 2012 pickups by Chrysler and Ford, Ram pickup sales exploded by 23 percent last month, Ford’s F-series wooshed 17.9 percent higher. GM did not return fire. Result: GM’s total truck sales lost 11 percent, full-size truck sales were down 8 percent.

“I imagine GM will be very aggressive spenders in December to end the year on a high note,” said Jessica  Caldwell of Edmunds.

Agreed. And since the other guys are no dummies, TTAC expects a happy exchange of counter-battery fire. Not of the electric kind.

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49 Comments on “Battle Of The BOFs: All-Out War For Full-Size Trucks Impending...”


  • avatar
    Dimwit

    GM’s so called “mid-cycle refresh” hasn’t done diddly. The trucks are looking old and outdated. They had better get a new truck out there or Ford is going to eat their lunch.

    • 0 avatar

      I was kind of wondering if looking outdated is important in trucks. My first thought of a truck is: does it have the lower anchor points? Because a few GM trucks do not, and it is quite inconvenient if cargo does not like sliding around in the bed, but is not tall enough to be strapped over the top, like a motorcycle. But then I’d be happy to drive an F-150 shaped like 1985 model, if it were new and engineered to modern safety standards inside. But I don’t know what other buyers think about the looks of trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      It’s called K2XX. Google it.

      And you know that fancy direct-injection V8 for the Corvette that was announced recently? The only thing I can say about it, is that either GM is expecting Corvette sales that are astronomically beyond the sales rate of any Corvette ever in history … or that engine (or something very similar to it) is going in something else. Do the math.

      • 0 avatar
        Dimwit

        The problem is that the GM trucks are using the same styling cues from before the Ford restyle and that’s 6 yrs old! GM “looks” ancient and that’s not good for sales. Ford is going to redo the F150 for 2014 I believe and GM is still muddling around.

        Even worse, neither GM or Chryco have anything to rebut the Ecoboost. If they can use the 8 speed and the Pentastar in the Ram it might make a big difference but GM hasn’t replied with anything. I can see waiting to see if it will work but only for 6 months as you get your own tech together. Not 2 yrs.! Ford is taking a march in this segment and given how much profit is generated through it, that’s unconscionable. This is the last stronghold of the domestic mfg. and they have to keep reinvesting and deliver a superior product again and again. Relying on missteps from Nissan or Toyota is going to backfire, large.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    This should be interesting then.

    I wonder what the out the door prices are going to be and what trim/option levels are going to be the sweet spot.. ie get the most for the most money.

  • avatar
    AJ

    Part of the problem here is that the construction industry (that buys and actually uses trucks) is still in shambles. For example one company I know of use to replace it’s fleet of GMC trucks every two to three years, and they haven’t replaced a single truck in five years.

  • avatar

    last month advertising featured $9,000 rebates. so much for the success of distress merchandising. the marketers at GM don’t know what they are doing and it’s going to get ugly.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I was in a Chevy store the other day and the Silverado in the showroom had an $8,000 discount on it off its $44k sticker. If 20% off doesn’t do the trick, what will??

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      $44K sticker? Really?

      That’s part of the whole problem – these trucks are simply ‘way overpriced.

      Many years ago, pickup trucks were the cheapest large vehicles you could buy, then the OEMs began to figure out that by not having to meet all the safety standards in trucks as they do in cars, well, they could increase prices, and by adding fluff and cheap goodies they became the cash cows they are.

      Perhaps the icing may be melting off the cake?

  • avatar
    mikey

    So where does that leave the other player, Dodge Ram?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    As far as trucks are concerned, well, I’m going to be watching this carefully. Of course I’m not in ANY vehicle market, as I just made a purchase in late July.

    To me, I look at all these pickups currently available, and I can honestly say none of them have the slightest appeal to me. They are all just too large if I compare them to the 1976 Chevy and the 1980 Dodge I once owned.

    If I go by looks, i.e. “curb appeal”, I’d still say GM’s offerings look the most conservative, but I can’t get by those “Jay Leno” chins on the bumper corners!

    Ford’s trucks are looking cartoonish and trying to look like something they ain’t.

    Dodge – er – Ram – I tired of the “Kenworth” look 10 years ago.

    Toyota? Just plain ugly, from the high, goofy beltline to that hideous horse collar grille surround.

    Nissan? Nothin’ says “Tonka” like theirs! At least they can claim the world’s largest door handles!

    As to quality and reliability of all these, I’d have to say with the exception of Ram – correct me if I’m wrong – all are comparable.

    • 0 avatar
      harshciygar

      I agree with the “all of these trucks are too big” sentiment. I just bought a fixer-upper house this year, and I find myself needing a small truck more often than not for Home Despot runs.

      Unfortunately, even the “mid-size” trucks are too big and thirsty for my needs. I don’t need 400 horsepower or 5,000 pounds of towing capacity. Sure, those things are nice, but I won’t use the capabilities but once in a blue moon.

      This obsession with big trucks cannot last. I know avowed truck guys who either keep picking through the used offerings, or have made the jump to crossovers/Jeeps because of fuel economy.

      Ultimately, if you still need a truck, you still need a truck. But a lot of those guys who bought trucks simply to be a “truck guy” seem to be disappearing. GM apparently hasn’t figured that out yet.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        “Ultimately, if you still need a truck, you still need a truck. But a lot of those guys who bought trucks simply to be a “truck guy” seem to be disappearing. GM apparently hasn’t figured that out yet.”

        Except, you’re completely wrong.

        GM is the only domestic manufacturer that has committed to a small truck for the US Market.

        http://www.autoblog.com/2011/10/10/chevy-confirms-global-colorado-pickup-for-u-s/

        Ever since Ford started playing the “It’s got to be bugger and bigger and bigger” game with the F-150, All manufactures were forced to follow suit. You think now one of them is going to blink?

        I, of course, had the perfect idea. Ford should have continued to produce the Ranger, giving it some common sense upgrades like the 2.5 4 banger (or now the 2.0T) and 3.5 V6 coupled to a six speed trans. That alone would have set the Ranger on a path to print MUCH more money for Ford.

        But what does Ford stupidly do? They cancel it saying the Ranger buyers will prefer a horribly overpriced Focus. Bold moves indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        harshciygar, sounds like what you need is a nice minivan. Way more versatile than a small pickup and would suit your needs if you don’t need to tow 2.5 tons.

        I know a guy who does renovations and uses his 2012 Grand Caravan for everything. With the seats folded flat, theres as much room as a longbed Ranger, but large, lockable enclosed space. Plus with the towing package, he tows a 2500lb trailer no problem.

        It’s no wonder the compact pickup market has dried up, there are lots of vehicles that just do a better job without the compromises.

      • 0 avatar
        Wabbit3

        Interesting…I was unaware of the new Colorado somehow. Can I say its, um, beauty-challenged? But still…if they do as well with it as the Cruze/Equinox, they’ll have a winner. Especially if they choose to bring the small diesel.
        I still own a 94 Hardbody for that reason. 26 mpg, and other than the constant oil-change, no breakage. I’ve considered a bigger truck, but I don’t need it and couldn’t feed the thing.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      If you were to make an exception, it’d have to be the Titan.

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      ’96 F-150
      ’98 Dakota
      ’00 Tundra
      ’88 C/K (Silverado)

      Those trucks were the last ‘right sized’ trucks from their respective manufacturer’s They have become GodAwful bloated and thirsty (not that my ’88 Sierra didn’t need a Gasoholics Anonymous meeting, but still). I would love a truck sized like the previous Tundra or 2-previous F150, but with reliable build quality like those two.

      Till then, I’ll rent a mangled Silverado from the local rent a wreck whenever I need a truck

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    The real battle for the month of December is going to be btw Ram and GM – specifically Chevrolet.

    Last month, Ram was within ~5000 units of matching the Silverado sales volume (~25k vs ~30k), that’s the first time I can ever remember it being so close (Ford was way out in the 50k range).

    Knowing how Sergio likes to play, I can easily see the Ram group making a play to outsell Chevy for one of the biggest truck months of the year (tons of trucks are sold at the end of the year to take advantage of full calendar depreciation at businesses next year).

    …what Buickman said..if you can’t move it with $9000 on the hood, what’s it going to take.

    • 0 avatar
      86SN2001

      Remember Ford puts all of their mediocre trucks under one heading to con people into thinking the sell well.

      Having 7 or 8 models under one title is extremely misleading. They only do it so they can crow about it on their TV ads.

      So comparing the Ram and Silverado sales to Ford sales is just as Ford wants it…completely biased and dishonest.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Ram and Chevy do the same thing with their 1500, 2500, 3500 etc.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        There are 7-8 Silverado models/Ram models?

      • 0 avatar
        cdakost

        There are 7-8 F-Series models?

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        “mediocre trucks”. Now you’re just being ridiculous

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Yes, cdakiost, unless you call the F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, F-650, and F-750 something other than F-series models, which would be a moot point as that’s what Ford calls them for marketing purposes.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The F-450/550s are built on the same line as the F-250/350s and Ram also includes their 4500/5500 series in their pickup sales count. GM doesn’t have anything to compete in this class, but that’s changing with the new gen.

        F-650/750s are not counted as “F-series” .

      • 0 avatar
        cdakost

        Yes, the 450/550 are just like better super duties. GM could do the same thing but they don’t have anything to compete against it. Ram has the 4500/5500 to do the same thing.

        Ford doesn’t count the 650/750 as sales and even if they didn’t they would probably still blow GM and Ram out of the water.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Unless you can back that up with a link or something, I believe that Ford would include a F-Series truck in their F-Series sales numbers.

        That is why Ford has so many models under the F-Series, so they can (falsely) claim sales title.

      • 0 avatar
        cdakost

        Regardless, I’m pretty sure that the 450/550/650/750 are low volume enough that if you just take the Silverado 1500/2500/3500 vs the F150/250/350 that Ford still wins the title. It really is a mute point.
        I’m sorry, 86SN2001, that you are such a big GM supporter that you can not except the truth.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the new trucks are too damn big for their own good. I see 3/4 diesel monsters carrying a skinny dude and a small landscape trailer all the time. And what’s with the 4 doors and long bed with more leather and foo foo stuff, are you going to cart your wife and kids to the job site? Buy a SUV damnit!
    My family farmed for years and somehow managed to survive with F100′s and 2 wheel drive.
    I detail on the side, it’s my weekend job and I tell ya, nothing more ball breakin than doing a big, quad cab, 4×4 with a lift kit.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I was one of those guys that used to buy trucks. I didn’t really need a truck,it just made for a nice second vehicle. I traded my last truck in on a Jimmy in 2003.

    I’ve not ruled out another truck in my future. I was checking trucks out the other day while getting an oil change.

    Wow..I’m with “Zackman” on this one. Trucks are too big,and too expensive.

    As far as redesign goes? What more other than cosmetic changes can be done? I don’t want to see Chevy/GMC go the Ford route and pretend its a Peterbilt.

    My dream truck? A Chevy long box standard cab 4×4 offered in the top of the line Silverado full chrome and leather package. GM says “no”, to get all the toys you have to go extend cab,or crew. Right,so if you want an 8 foot box, your driving the Titanic.

    Hmmm?….These discounts do have me interested though. May have to take a peek over at the GM Canada web page.

  • avatar
    th009

    The incentives were big in November … but if you dig into what was happening, you’ll see that GM switched to 2013 model year trucks earlier than Ford and Chrysler. What happened then was that Ford and Chrysler dealers had lots of 2012 inventory, with big rebates, whereas GM dealers mostly had 2013s, which carry much smaller rebates (across all manufacturers). The end result was predictable — the 2012 sales carried the day, and GM lost market share (and increased dealer inventory). Based on this, market shares should return to normal over the next few months as the 2012 inventories are depleted.

    That, though, doesn’t solve GM’s inventory glut. That may actually not happen until they do the switchover to the new 2014 models next year …

  • avatar
    hurricanehole

    I’ve got a 2002 6, two dr Silverado for my business, the new ones don’t tempt. The sides are too high to reach over and get much. Next purchase will probably be some sort of van. Also most toppers for trucks are just too easy to get into for the thieves.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Lots of people people bought crew cab trucks to have room for their families. Maybe that didn’t work that well and they are abandoning the truck segment? Like lot of guys have said on here; the bed are too high. It used to be whatever tool I needed had slid to the exact center of the bed.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Hmmmmmmmmmm wonder what the discount is on the standard cab, short bed, Hemi Ram that Chrysler was pushing a while back? “Little Red Express, Part 2″ anyone?

  • avatar
    nikita

    Lets see, construction still in toilet, municipal bankruptcies (two biggest fleet buyers), $4 gas, $4.50 diesel. I dont see a truck sales recovery in CA anytime soon.

    I echo the sentiment that pickup trucks have become bloated and cartoonish. From about 1960 to 2000 the dimensions, proportions and weights were about the same. Power, safety and luxuries were added but that didnt change the basic configuration that much. Our 1993 C1500 had a GVWR of 5600lb but only tipped the scales at 3700lb unladen and was rated to tow 5000lb. The bench seat cab easily held three guys and 4×8 sheets of building materials lay flat in the bed. No “mid size” truck can do that. Our current fleet includes a 1st gen Tundra, its the perfect functional replacement, not the bloated beast they make now. It is full size, not mid size, based on the above definition, yet can actually reach over the bed rails.

  • avatar
    sco

    Not a pick-up guy at all but I was wondering how many full-size truck buyers are actually cross-shopping the different brands? I always assumed that a Chevy truck guy doesn’t have much interest in a Ford, etc, in which case the price battle is not between the brands but between the manufacturer and the unwillingness of the customer to buy a new truck.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      Ive always cross shopped brands, as do most fleet buyers. Yes, the NASCAR dads are brand loyal, and apparently the stereotype of all truck buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      A couple of friends of mine recently “made the jump”, switching brands, something I never thought I would see. Both were GM truck buyers, going back over 30 years. One went and took all three home and quickly tossed out the Chevy and finally went with the F150 EcoBoost. The other just liked the Ram better, and it would be my choice too. I love his truck.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

  • avatar
    roverv8i

    Yes, the new trucks are two big. This has a lot to do with the 2 wheel drive models sitting on what amounts to the jacked up 4wd suspension. If your really using it to work and don’t need 4wd then you don’t need it jacked up. I would rather be able to reach over the side of the bed. Maybe most buyers think this makes it look like a grandpa truck. I will admit that I do think that when I look at a base Tacoma that sits down low.

  • avatar
    kkop

    The truck posts are so predictable on ttac:
    “If you don’t need to haul 200 sheets of plywood, you should get a minivan dammit”
    Really? :-) Why is it I never read such comments after a post about, oh let’s say any Audi?
    “If you don’t need to move more than two people, buy a Smart dammit!”

    I like my ‘big’ truck. Do I need it? Most of the time, no. I sure like the interior room, and so does my family, and my dog. I rent vehicles (mostly big sedans and mid-size SUV) for about 11 weeks every year, and none of them can touch my truck as far as comfort and utility is concerned.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    In some ways, trucks are the bargain of the year right now. My local Chevy dealer’s website tells me I can get a stripped out (but that’s still auto, air, and cruise) 2012 half-ton work truck for $18,700.

    Think about it. That’s cheaper than you can get a Cruze with auto, air, and cruise!

    The only downside is fuel economy. At 19mpg tops, you’re gonna spend a LOT on gas.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    “Trucks are too big and too expensive”

    No, they’re just the right size. Pickups haven’t grown in width, but I’m 5’9″ and always felt cramped in reg cab pickups, pre ’00s. The extra 7″ or so, from the steering wheel to the back window is much appreciated. The approx 7″ longer and rounded front clip was needed to cut through the wind.

    Yes, small items in the bed are hard to grab, but that’s always been the case for me. A running board from wheel well to wheel well would be nice.

    And who’s paying full MSRP???

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I agree that trucks are getting too expensive. It shouldn’t cost 50k for a 1500 truck with all the options. That is as much as an entry level 5-Series BMW.

    However, I would say that if GM wants a bigger slice of the market they NEED to make an expensive truck like King Ranch or Harley-Davidson F150s. LTZ just doesn’t cut it.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      A 6,000 lb tank with a leather lined cabin sized for an NFL front four, an air traffic controller’s view of the road, a 400 horsepower V8 which was fit for a supercar not very long ago, a trunk big enough to sleep in with three women at once, and it costs as much as a small import car with 4 cylinder engine and vinyl seats.

      Which of these is too expensive again?

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    2013 Ram is Motor Trend truck of the year! Ford is the one with no answer to Ram’s 25 mpg Pentastar and when the Hemi 8 speed gets here it is supposed to beat the EcoBoost’s gas mileage!

    Think about this, the Pentastar Ram beats a V6 Toy truck Tacoma in gas mileage and ties the 4 cylinder automatic Tacoma.

    America now makes the most efficient trucks!

  • avatar
    Rick S

    We own a 2011 Silverado crew cab. Not because we constantly need a truck, but because the head room is plentiful compared to the “sloping roofline” rear seats in most family sedans today. There is plenty of leg room in the truck, too. Add that to the fact that most SUVs today are oppressively expensive to purchase and do not get that much better fuel economy. We bought the truck brand new for just under what a base model equinox would have cost.


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