J.D. Power and Associates' December 2008 sales data show large market-share gains for Ford's full-size pickups after the introduction of the new 2009 F-150. J.D. Power's Power Information Network figures are unique because they break full-size truck sales out into light- and heavy-duty classes. Monthly figures released by Chrysler, Ford and GM aggregate both light- and heavy-duty truck sales into a single number without revealing class splits.
According to PIN, in the fourth quarter of 2008 Ford's total full-size truck sales rose to 36.4 percent of the full-size pickup segment, up from 26.9 percent in the third quarter of 2008, while many F-Series competitors lost market share. The Chevrolet Silverado fell from 31.7 to 28 percent, the Dodge Ram was down from 15.3 to 14.8 percent, and the Toyota Tundra dropped from 8.8 to 6.6 percent.
Among light-duty pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 held the biggest slice of the market in December, gaining 1.2 points compared to December 2007 to end at 30.8 percent. The F-150 jumped 4.8 points versus December 2007 to claim 28.8 percent of the market. Part of Ford's gain was due to national availability of the new 2009 F-150.
"The new [2009 F-150] is doing great from a share standpoint and the mix we're selling," said Ford truck marketing manager Doug Scott. "Our October, November and December share is up year-over-year. Over 60 percent of the trucks are crew [cabs], over 65 percent are four-wheel drive and there's a good high-series mix. Over 40 percent are Lariat [trim]. We're also seeing sales of the new Platinum F-150 at about 7 percent. We originally said Platinum would be about 3 percent."
Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari said 2009 F-150 transaction prices were also higher. Since they went on sale near the end of September, the new models have been selling for an average of almost $2,000 more than 2008 F-150s did.
The Dodge Ram 1500 surprisingly lost market share. Like the 2009 F-150, the all-new 2009 Ram 1500 is also available nationally. According to J.D. Power, total half-ton Ram share fell by 2.6 points to 11.9 percent. Last year, Chrysler execs said they expected the new Ram to help the truck gain market share even if total volume in the segment was down.
"Many things could account for the difference in December sales for the Ram and F-150," said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with AutoPacific. "How much and where they advertised could have had a big impact. Chrysler and GM were also in front of Congress seeking federal help, while Ford appeared to be strong by not asking for a bailout. People could have held off buying a new Ram after seeing that."
According to J.D. Power, the 2009 Ford F-150 had the quickest turnover in the segment in December 2008, averaging 18 days to sell. The 2009 Dodge Ram averaged 49 days.
In the heavy-duty segment, all manufacturers felt the pain of a 38 percent contraction in sales volume, from 50,137 units in December 2007 to 30,891 units in December 2008.
According to PIN figures, Ford's Super Duty pickups gained about 9 percent market share, while the Chevrolet Silverado HD shed 4 percent, the GMC Sierra HD lost 1 percent and the Dodge Ram HD dropped about 4 percent.
Gattari said Super Duty trucks have gained market share on the strength of fleet and commercial buyers who have continued to purchase heavy-duty pickups.
"We have about 60 percent of commercial customers, while our competitors have had more share among personal-use buyers, who've left the segment since fuel prices rose last year," Gattari said.