Nothing motivates an athlete like good competition, and that's exactly what Chevrolet wants us to think about how it's responding to the March sales totals that put Ram just a nose ahead of the Chevrolet Silverado in monthly sales: 42,532 versus 42,247. Statistically, that's a difference of just more than one-half of 1 percent. The year-to-date numbers put Ram about 11,000 units behind Chevy for 2014, and it could be even less by the end of the first quarter.
To combat this encroachment, according to Automotive News, Chevy is extending its relatively successful Truck Month promotion and adding bonus cash on select Silverado models, specifically both light-duty and heavy-duty double-cab pickup trucks. Several regional sales managers reportedly wrote some strongly worded communiqués to rally the sales troops to take back the monthly title by the end of April.
There has been a loud and vocal debate about which manufacturers are using the most incentive money to lure customers who value price above all else. Some argue this is a short-sighted way of boosting sales and losing profit margin, while others argue that not using incentives gives the competition a significant advantage. If history is any indication, finding the right balance is not easy for any truckmaker.
Both Ram and Chevy have worked hard in the last several weeks to get their days supply of pickups down while watching incentive spending as much as possible. But as some regional managers have noted, the gloves will have to come off if they're going to win this monthly battle. We expect to see more promotions and possibly more creative TV commercials as the truck race heats up through the more aggressive sales months in summer and fall.
Cars.com photo by Mark Williams