By on January 7, 2020

With full-year sales stats now available from each of the Detroit Three, we can see how the leaders in the critically important full-size pickup segment faired in the eventful year of 2019.

And it was an eventful year, what with new full-sizers on offer from Ram, Chevrolet, and GMC, and revamped Heavy Dutys from both Ram and GM entering the fray. (GM’s big guys landed for the 2020 model year, with Ford’s redesigned 2020 Super Duty series arriving shortly after the launch of its Detroit rival.)

It’s no secret that Ram did well last year, but how did it stack up next to the perennial front-runner?

New introductions skew the sales picture somewhat, what with production gaps and sell-downs of old stock, not to mention periods of non-availability of certain build configurations. That said, Ram has reason to smile, posting an 18 percent sales gain for the year. That figure covers the old 1500 Classic, the new-for-2019 1500, and the updated HD.

Yes, keeping the old-generation half-ton in production alongside its newer sibling did wonders for Ram volume in 2019, and the much-improved (and well-received) new generation didn’t hurt it, either. Total production of all Ram-badged trucks amounted to 633,694 vehicles, outselling the Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo brands combined.

That total brought the brand closer than ever to Ford’s famed F-Series, which sank 1.4 percent for the year, ending 2019 with 896,526 units sold. Last year’s F-Series decline was the first dip since 2014, when Ford was in the process of switching to the aluminum-bodied, 13th-gen F-150 model. The folks in Dearborn no doubt anticipate greater things in the current year, what with the powerful new Super Duty now online and a new F-150 appearing later in the year.

Ram’s climb over the past decade (and out of the recession) is worthy of note. In the dismal year of 2009, the newly created brand sold just over 177,000 trucks, pushing past the 300,000 barrier in 2013, the 400,000 barrier the following year, and the 500,000 barrier in 2017.

 

It also pushed past Chevrolet and its Silverado line of full-size and HD pickups, relegating its bowtie rival to an ever firmer third place. In the ramp-up and transition year of 2019, Silverado volume fell 1.7 percent to 575,600 vehicles. Its GM stablemate, GMC, saw its full-size pickup volume rise 5.2 percent to 232,323 units. Together, the two marques still outsell Ram, but in terms of individual brands, Ram is solidly second.

It remains to be seen whether Chevrolet, whose big truck volume topped 600,000 in 2015, will narrow the gap between it and Ram in the current year. No longer does GM build the old versions of its full-size pickups, while Ram brass seem perfectly happy to keep the 1500 Classic alive for as long as needed. There’s cash on the table for its continued production.

 

Elsewhere in the full-size truck realm, two afterthoughts lingered well behind the Detroit pack in 2019 — a place they’ve grown accustomed to inhabiting. Toyota’s ancient Tundra sank 5.6 percent last year, while Nissan’s Titan and Titan XD — refreshed for 2020 — declined by a whopping 37.5 percent. Total Titan volume last year represents about two week’s worth of F-Series sales.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, General Motors]

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30 Comments on “Full-size Truck War Update: Ram Fills Ford’s Rear-view in 2019...”


  • avatar
    kcflyer

    I think this rise in RAM sales will be good for all truck buyers. Eventually GM will be forced to de ugly their new trucks. Ford will hopefully do more then a mild upgrade on their new F150 and even Toyota will likely try harder with their new truck. Nissan…..well she has a nice personality.. Living in the snow belt I still like the idea of the aluminum body ford. But both the 3.5 ecoboost and the 5.0 liter v8 have baked in problems with their 3 foot long timing chains that require replacement often shy of 100000 miles. The RAM is a looker and their 5.7 is tried and true.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    So sick of “GM Math” – if these two are different, then they have to be mentioned separately and their sales cannot be added together just to make GM look important. The fact is that Chevrolet was slipping behind Ram long before the rollout of the putrid new Chevrolet and Professional Grade Chevrolet trucks. Sure you all want to say Ram did some sales padding, but the fact remains that Ram was slowly eating Chevrolet’s lunch. This happens when a real truck maker takes on a third rate product that has a hard time competing with Toyoduh and Nissan lightweight, subpar full-sized offerings.

    I applaud Ram for taking trucks as seriously as Ford. But Ford isn’t going to play Chevrolet. Leaders know how to take on competition.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Lumping half tons with HDs with white work trucks obscures too much to make meaningful comment on the sales race. But looking strictly at retail half tons it’s easy to see why they’re doing so well. The old Rams are cheap and the new Rams are nice.

    It’s much harder to see how GM sold whatever the retail half-ton share of 575,000 Silverados was, those trucks are neither.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I agree with this. As pickups keep gaining market share I’d really like to see sales broken out into:

      – Class 1 (half-tons)
      – Class 2b/3 (3/4 and 1-tons)
      – Class 4/5 (heavy pickup-based chassis cabs)
      – Class 6/7 (medium-duty trucks; only Ford reports these in its pickup numbers)

      Each of these is a very different product from the others and it’s kind of insane that they all get lumped together.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Ford will never do that because it suits them to have a single number reported that’s always highest: “BEST SELLING TRUCK THE LAST 40 YEARS” or whatever it is.

        The others will never do it because splitting their numbers up makes it seem like they are even farther behind Ford.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Good God. As butt ugly as the GM twins are, more surprising is that that many are sold. Wow. Every time I see one, I think “who on earth would buy such a horror show?”. Apparently lots of Dealers have to take their allotment. Sheesh.
    As much as I can tempt the “ugly gods” with asking the rhetorical question: ” Its sure the next gen will be better, right?”, I still cringe to ask and tempt such fate.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      I did. Own both Ford Expedition and Chevy 2500HD. Prefer the Chevy. As for RAM…lipstick on a pig

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Wow. Every time I see one, I think “who on earth would buy such a horror show?””

      The blind with an otherwise dead nervous system. Seriously though, brand loyalty counts for a lot with trucks. A large contingent of GM truck buyers never set their asses in the seat of a competitive truck and compare. Those that do with an open mind end up with the other truck after everything is considered.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The biggest problem with the current GM trucks isn’t the styling; it’s the interior. GM cheaped out at the same time Ram decided to push the half-ton upmarket, and the contrast is incredibly unflattering.

      My big question is whether Cost-Cutting Hackett will allow Ford’s high-profit trims (Limited, Platinum, Lariat) to follow Ram into true luxury, or whether he’ll do the same thing he did with the new Explorer and cut every nickel in sight regardless of how obvious it is to the customer. If he does the latter, Ram could be positioned to dominate in trucks with $30k+ of profit built into the price.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Blatantly cost cutting the luxury truck interiors would be so monumentally stupid I can just see them doing it.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          They’re already behind Ram, but I can’t think of a single Ford brand interior that has been revised under Hackett and hasn’t gotten worse.

          He hasn’t done as much damage to Lincoln. The only hope is that he realizes correctly that Lariat and above trims on the F-series are really Lincoln equivalents in a segment that doesn’t like luxury branding.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “My big question is whether Cost-Cutting Hackett will allow Ford’s high-profit trims (Limited, Platinum, Lariat) to follow Ram into true luxury, or whether he’ll do the same thing he did with the new Explorer and cut every nickel in sight regardless of how obvious it is to the customer.”

        An additional self inflicted injury of this is that failure to move the top trims up requires obnoxiously obvious decontenting in the volume trims to differentiate them. Ford was still putting 4″ gameboy radios in XLTs through MY2018! You still have to go all the way to a 502 Lariat at 60,000 sticker to get LED headlights or a decent stereo.

        Chrysler’s over the top luxury trims let them make their cheap trucks a lot more pleasant too.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      GM is the only brand with the 6.2L. They lowered the paywall for it this year although they should just make it available on every trim.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “GM is the only brand with the 6.2L.”

        Competitors offer similar power and capability without having to settle for less in the rest of the truck.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Not really. The Mopar 345 is well behind it on a stopwatch and to get the EB-HO in the Ford you need to go for a Raptor or Limited.

          If I was spending over a certain amount on a truck I’d get the GM offering just for that engine.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Regardless, barely anyone notices and the vast majority roll with the 5.3L. Increasing availability of the 6.2 certainly didn’t help sales or share.

            All of them can rip 14 second 1/4 mile times…in a full size truck. So whether one is slightly faster than fast doesn’t matter all that much. The rest of the truck matters more.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I can’t imagine a universe in which I’d care about the difference between 0-60 in 5.1 (Ford HO), 5.4 (GM 6.2) or 5.7 (Ford 3.5 non-HO) in my full-size truck.

            The F-150 Limited is basically a big upcharge over a loaded Platinum for the HO and a unique interior color, and I can’t imagine paying it. Seems like a horrible value.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’m just giving a reason why someone might go for the GM trucks, which was the OP’s initial question.
            For me the appeal of the 6.2 beats out the sheet metal and interior issues. For others it won’t. Unfortunately for GM I’m not in the market for a big, fancy truck.

          • 0 avatar
            IHateCars

            Yeah but you still have to look at it before you drive it every morning….sweet engine or not. Although in some colours/trims, the Chev is not as ugly as it typically is…

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        I’d like to try the new 3.0 duramax- that I6 is appealing enough for me to try one despite the front end when the time comes for a new truck. Assuming they are holding up well.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Do most people find the Sierra really ugly? I know the Silverado is love it or hate it, and I definitely hate it, but I think that’s the idea. If you like the Silverado, buy it, otherwise they sell a more conservatively styled Sierra. I haven’t driven either if the new twins, so I can’t say how they compare to the competition, but in the last couple of decades they were the most truck like if the three. The Ram is the most car like and clearly the market has spoken.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        I usually find them pretty ugly, but with a black grill and a relatively dark color they look much better. I think the part that offends me most is those little plastic wing that wraps around the side to the front. It just looks odd. And the HDs hood comes out so flat and so far before dropping- lso- big fake hood scoop never helps anything.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    New GM trucks are still a fairly rare sight in my part of the country. It will be interesting to see 2020 Q1 sales numbers for GM in April. I postulate that a lot of GM loyalists got new trucks (like my neighbor) and future sales will be a lot more difficult. Q1 numbers may further indicate how bad the recent trend is. I suspect that 2020 will be a difficult year for those selling GM trucks. However, I hear the new inline-6 Duramax is quite impressive in performance and economy. To me, that’s the lone bright spot.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I just received this week’s issue of Automotive News which includes December sales numbers and 2019 YTD sales. Chevrolet trucks are off all but 10% for December vs. 2018 sales. (60,199 in ’19 vs. 66,422 in ’18) GMC numbers were up about 3% in December. The trend may be getting worse.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    What’s the totals with Canada included? We know pickups have a bigger share of the market here than in the US – you told us – and I know Ford flogs over 100,000 F150s, but since Tim Cain went away and his successors have made a hash of his old website, haven’t a clue how GM and RAM sell.

  • avatar
    ChevyIIfan

    Just switched brands from a 1/2 ton silverado to a new redesigned ’19 Ram 2500 after being a GM guy my whole life. Truck was nicer than the Chevys, and the cash on the hood made a nearly identical Ram $5k cheaper than the Chevy. The Chevy did make me think about it with 400 lbs more payload due to their higher GVWR on the 2500s though.

  • avatar
    EliMorgan

    I have always been a Ford and GM truck owner until I drove my brothers 2019 Ram 1500. The smooth quite ride and unreal interior gave me the new truck bug. I ordered a Laramie 5.7 with eTorque. I got 25.5 mpg on a road trip through Louisiana. If you are considering a new truck test drive the Ram. Your in for a surprise.

  • avatar

    The sales numbers seem to show ugly counts even for GM loyalists which I assume is why you see the bump in Sierra as some just can’t plop down money on the silverado. I must admit the 6.2 and the new inline six duramax are reasons to at least look at GM thou, curious how the little duramax holds up the babyh in the Colorado seems to be holding up OK compared to the VM in the ram ecodiesel, haven’t heard much on Fords baby diesel.

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