QOTD: Trims to Models and Everything in Between?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd trims to models and everything in between

On Friday, we published our take on the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup. Some of you even read it, for which we thank you. Ram wisely brought a wide range of trims to the event, ranging from the workaday Tradesman to the high-zoot (that one’s for you, commenter MLS) Limited model.

The differences in equipment, capability, and appeal between the different trims on display got me thinking: at what point do we start thinking of these things as distinct models?

In 2017, the Ram brand sold 556,790 units, with the vast majority of those, over 500k, being pickup trucks. Parsing out the vehicle lineup we find only trucks of the 1500 to 5500 variety and a couple of staid work vans.

Over at Jeep, where 828,522 machines hit the road, five models compete for showroom space — six if you count the JK and JL Wrangler as separate models, which this author does. Five models conspired to sell 446,996 vehicles at Dodge. Individually, none of them came even close to 500,000 copies like the Ram pickup did.

If car companies ever started treating individual trim levels as unique models, it would give us a fantastic window into the buying habits of the American public. This is not limited to Ram; an Ace of Base F-150 XL bears little resemblance to a loaded-up Platinum.

After all, in the bad old days, one could argue the early-90s versions of a Chevy Blazer, GMC Jimmy, and Olds Bravada were simply gradually increasing trim levels of the same vehicle, and their sales were reported individually. Yes, there were different marques on their noses, but you get the point.

None of this will ever happen, of course, as I am quite confident manufacturers would be quite happy to give us less information about sales numbers, not more, if they thought they could get away with it.

Makes for an interesting train of thought, though: what trims on what vehicles do you think could be broken down into different models?

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  • Fahrvergnugen NA Miata goes topless as long as roads are dry and heater is running, windscreen in place.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic As a side note, have you looked at a Consumers Report lately? In the past, they would compare 3 or 4 station wagons, or compact SUVs, or sedans per edition. Now, auto reporting is reduced to a report on one single vehicle in the entire edition. I guess CR realized that cars are not as important as they once were.
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