GM Says Recently Dethroned Chevrolet Silverado Poised for a Comeback
Everybody who obsesses over automobiles knows that the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado is a hideous monstrosity with a disgustingly small four-cylinder engine as its base powerplant. At least that’s the gist among automotive journalists. While yours truly doesn’t understand how anyone could claim that GMC’s new Sierra boasts the more-attractive mug, both ended up with mildly disappointing interiors and a ride that’s not quite on par with their domestic rivals — especially the Silverado.
Shade has been thrown and the public has responded by buying fewer full-size trucks from Chevy, forcing it to give up its second place sales ranking to Ram. However, General Motors seems to think the issue has been overblown and only represents a temporary setback.
“Given our limited availability, we deliberately launched with a really high mix in trims,” GM President of the Americas, Barry Engle, told Automotive News earlier this month. “But as we get broader availability and get the full portfolio out there, we’ll be just fine.”
That translates into increasing annual capacity of heavy-duty models by 40,000 and the 1500 by 20,000. In fact, the automaker recently announced it would be investing $150 million into Flint Assembly for just that reason.
However, General Motors doesn’t actually need those pickups to take its number two sales slot back from Ram because it technically never lost it. Assuming you take the Sierra into account, the General is still holding onto its silver medal. But Fiat Chrysler’s truck division is still out for blood. Average incentive spending for the Silverado and Sierra have been about $500 less than Ram throughout 2019 but $1,500 more than the Ford’s F series, which remains America’s best-selling pickup.
From Automotive News:
Ram has beaten the Silverado in nine of the past 10 months, according to U.S. sales estimates from the Automotive News Data Center that have been validated by GM’s quarterly reports. The Ram has outsold the Silverado by 36,619 since the latest Silverado 1500 hit dealerships in August and holds a lead of nearly 22,000 five months into 2019.
Including the GMC Sierra 1500, which was also redesigned at the same time, GM’s full-size pickup share was down 3 percentage points in the first five months of 2019 compared with the same period a year earlier.
With the Sierra, GM remains in second place in the full-size segment, behind Ford Motor Co.
But GM executives insist the shake-up in a closely watched battle with major image and profit implications isn’t a sign of trouble. They say the trucks’ launch is going as planned and that GM is focused on profits, not market share.
“We’ve got a plan,” Engle said. “We’re in this for the long haul.”
That certainly sounds like low-grade chicanery but Engle noted that GM also hasn’t been selling its redesigned pickups to fleet customers in significant volumes and has only just started rolling out HD and lower-priced models. While the wording makes us wonder if the automaker just wants to downplay this whole thing, it also makes a decent counterargument. Ram may not have the mojo to beat GM or even Chevrolet on a longer timeline, especially not if people keep buying pickups with High Country and Denali at the end of their names.
[Image: General Motors]
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