Ram Overtakes Chevrolet in Domestic Full-Size Pickup Battle, Ford Unconcerned
Ford’s F-Series is the undisputed king of the domestic pickup market. It’s high atop the mountain, looking down upon its rivals as they savagely bludgeon each other with gnarled branches. For years, the majority of that abuse fell on Ram. Then, all of a sudden, 2017 came and Chevrolet ended up with a broken nose. In the primeval battle of truck sales superiority, Chevy’s Silverado no longer occupies the second place position for full-size pickups. Ram does.
Alright, it isn’t quite that dramatic. General Motors’ truck offerings aren’t exclusive to the Silverado and the automaker still outsold Fiat Chrysler when factoring in pickup deliveries from its GMC division. However, we’re counting this as a victory for Ram because FCA needs one — and overtaking Chevy sales isn’t exactly small potatoes. This is a major leap forward for a brand that seemed perpetually in last place.
Historically, Ram 1500 sales never bested the Silverado. But a combination of lagging interest in GM models and better than average FCA deliveries has created an upset in March, April, and May. It’s close, but Ram could beat Silverado’s annual sales for 2017 if the trend continues. However, even if it doesn’t, it should still result in the pickup’s best year on record.
“That’s a big crown to wear, to say you beat Silverado, and to see it happen month after month — it’s exciting. We’re enjoying it,” Joshua Wischnewsky, general manager of Texas’ Bayshore Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram, told Automotive News. “We have had probably our three biggest months of Ram trucks in the history of the store.”
Thanks to an impressive February, Chevrolet still leads by 5,055 units for 2017 but FCA is quickly closing the gap. Still, even with substandard sales, GMC’s Sierra should more than make up the difference. “One should never discount the contribution of GMC to our pickup strategy,” said GM spokesman Jim Cain. “It’s a high-volume, premium brand and it makes a monthly comparison to Silverado alone kind of unfair. It’s like we’re playing with one hand tied behind our back with that analysis.”
Sierra volume for May accounted for a below-average 16,200 units in the United States, while Canadian sales hit 6,241 trucks — a new record for the region.
With car sales shrinking, pickups are more important to the North American market than ever. Light trucks were up 9.3 percent last month and, as usual, all three automakers were pushing heavy incentives. At present, Chevrolet is offering 17 percent discounts on all light-duty Silverados — which Cain suggests are less aggressive than before. Meanwhile, F-Series incentives are closer to 14 percent while Ram deals are nearer to a whopping 20 points off.
Ford will likely go heavier with its promotions leading up to the fall refresh of the F-150. The next incarnation of the Ram should follow early in 2018 and General Motors should have redesigned Silverados and Sierras coming later next year.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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Given the impressive strides Ram has made in sales numbers and the stability Ford has maintained with its number one spot, it still baffles me that GM still owns the full size body on frame SUV market. Logically, one would think since all of them are based off the brands respective truck platform, the brand that sells the most trucks should hypothetically sell the most body on frame SUVS (Suburban, Expedition-EL, I guess the durango doesn't technically count, Sequoia, Armada, etc.) I'm not saying that GM SUV's are bad, but given that they have basically owned 70%+ of the market since the 2000's, I'm amazed that other brands haven't made larger inroads in this category of vehicles. I personally would take an expedition EL over a suburban given the massive power difference that you feel (but not over a denali) but for me, the sequoia is just about perfect. Reliable, right size (think tweener between Tahoe and Suburban), and the SR5 trim really nails it on pricing and feature content. The armada is the definitely the best value but given the options I want the sequoia still comes out ahead.
I've mulled over this article for a while now, and can't figure out how Ram has outsold Chevy. Does FCA put tons of money on the hood? Has their quality gotten that good - which is hard for me to believe, but wonderful if true? Just wondering.