Study: Ram No. 1 on Young Truck Shoppers' Lists

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
study ram no 1 on young truck shoppers lists

Domestic automakers are enamored with the full-sized pickup segment because it’s a reliable way of securing hundreds of thousands of sales in North America on an annual basis. Here, Ford’s F-Series reigns supreme. That might not always be the case, however, especially with younger buyers opting to purchase their pickups at competing brands.

Last month, Edmunds released a study claiming Ram is leading the charge with buyers under 35 — saying the brand had won over “the most coveted section of the market.”

Using data from IHS Markit, the group reported that Ram sold 43,282 new vehicles to people under 35 in 2019. That’s more than Ford’s F-Series (40,968 deliveries) or Chevy’s Silverado (39,181) could manage. In fact, Ford seemed to give its market share over to Ram, which gained 10 percent vs 2018 while Ford lost about 14 percent. The metrics used prohibit a direct, one-to-one comparison, unfortunately.

By selling the older-generation Ram (dubbed the Classic) alongside the new model, Fiat Chrysler has managed to stack the deck in its favor. FCA can effectively count two separate models as one when reporting sales, with the cheaper Ram Classic making an appetizing dish for subprime and commercial buyers.

Speaking with Edmunds this week, Automotive News noted the major price difference between the typical transaction price of new Ram models ($48,753) and the Classic ($39,121). But the distance doesn’t prohibit trim levels or special equipment packages, something which Ram has in spades (see the above Ram Classic Warlock Edition). That makes it a nice, big alternative to midsize trucks the brand lacks, but Ford and GM will be happy to sell you.

From Automotive News:

Ram Classic buyers, on average, pay the highest interest rates in the segment and roll more negative equity into their loans than buyers of any other full-size pickup, Edmunds said.

“I think having more options at different price points worked well for them, particularly because they have a flagship product to be the halo truck and then everything else slotted underneath,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights for Edmunds.

Ram doesn’t offer a midsize pickup, so the Classic effectively is filling that space, said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions. The Classic is a “premium alternative to the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma, appealing to younger buyers on size and price,” he said.

Keeping that in mind makes it harder to decide whether or not Ram is actually winning the pickup war, though it certainly doesn’t appear to be losing it. Maintaining the old full-size model didn’t require any development expenditures and seems to be working to usurp younger customers from rival nameplates. Still, we might as well count Silverado and Sierra as one vehicle if the Ram and Ram Classic get to add their sales scores.

The moves FCA’s truck division seems to be making with younger buyers should bode well for future sales. Statistics certainly back that up; we’ve amassed anecdotal data from readers, friends and family that’s anything but contradictory. While Ram may not be able to depend on the older pickup indefinitely, its current strategy had done wonders to broaden appeal. It has the new 1500 competing rather well against the latest and greatest full-sized pickups while the vintage model scoops up cash-strapped individuals who don’t want to settle for something smaller.

Turns out Americans still like a good bargain — and have a tendency to notice when one is being offered.

[Images: FCA]

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  • Cprescott Cprescott on Mar 17, 2020

    Give it to FCA for figuring out how to build a competent pickup truck - something that GM has failed to do in the last twenty years and what Nissan and Toyoduh have never done in this segment. And the Honduh Ridgeline is merely a covered catbox carrier with four doors. Ford wins on repeat buyers - I hope that they are not doing what Honduh and Toyoduh have done with their cars and decided to let their reputation sell cars without doing any serious work on improving them.

  • Crtfour Crtfour on Mar 17, 2020

    This doesn't seem like a big surprise. I'm "young" (under 40) and think the Dodge (even the classic) is the best design of the 3. To me the Ford looks geriatric with the slab sides and unattractive rear end design. The GM's don't seem to look "young" or "old" but just bad. Kudos to GM for grasping the market of bad taste regardless of age.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Mar 17, 2020

      The "market of bad taste" is still a market. Somebody had to grab it!

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂