Ram Pickups Outsold Chevrolet? Well, Maybe Not

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There's no question the biggest number that stands out in our March 2014 sales chart is the 42,532 units Ram Truck sold in March 2014. That means Ram, while still in third place for overall truck sales, outsold the Chevrolet Silverado by a 285 units. You can bet there are folks in Auburn Hills, Mich. (and maybe even Turin, Italy), who are jumping for joy given the magnitude of the feat. However, there are a few factors at play here.

To begin, the Ram Truck category includes their Class 4 and 5 chassis cab models in the total, as well as any 3500 fleet models ordered in the chassis cab configuration. And for 2014 they are now available with a Hemi 6.4-liter V-8 option as well, making them more popular with more businesses replacing their aging fleets. We should note Ford does the same thing (with their F-450 and F-550 sales) but since GM does not offer any vehicles in this category, some could argue the numbers are not directly comparable. 

In fact, every truck counted in GM's monthly sales numbers is either a dedicated personal-use, fleet or commercial 1500, 2500, or 3500 pickup truck. GM doesn't have a medium-duty truck any more (although it used to have the Chevy Kodiak and GMC TopKick that might come back), so all the GM numbers reflect a cleaner retail and/or fleet pickup truck sales.

Yes, we're absolutely positive the Ram Truck guys are excited about the March milestone, but we also know the sheer numbers aren't really what they're working for. A truer reflection of how much Ram is gaining on Chevy is probably better seen in the 2013 numbers we break down into weight categories (click here to see "Who Sold the Most Pickups in 2013?"), where Ram sold more 3/4-ton pickups by a narrow margin and many more 1-ton trucks than Chevy. They're also gaining traction in the half-ton segment as well.

Things are definitely changing, and they're changing because some truckmakers are taking risks and clawing for every sale they can make. Last year was like that, and we have no doubt 2014 will be that way as well. And as long as we have anything to say about it, you'll have a ringside seat.

 

Comments

Wow GM needs to get on board with three things to stay in the game (comming from a GM fan)

1) Pricing seems out of line for their trucks.
2) No true commercial trucks (limited chassis cabs, no 45/5500 or larger
3) Slow to market with updated 3/4 and 1 ton offerings. I haven't seen an innovating heavy option offered the the General in some time.

Congratulations RAM! Bottom line: quality still matters, and GM has always had a penchant for a little lighter built, a little cheaper materials here and there. It is catching up with them.

The thing here is that Ram is doing just fine with it's current sales. In other words they weren't expecting to necessarily outsell the Silverado, it just happened. Even if the 4500 and 5500 Rams weren't included in the figures, it still shows that Ram is closing in fast. Once again I will say that I think GM has been way too slow in releasing the new HD models. I'm sure over the last year or two, there were a number of buyers that bought a Ram HD instead of a GM HD just because of aging platform of the GM trucks. If GM's new HD models sell anything like the 1/2 tons, then they still got a lot to worry about.

Numbers are the numbers but note as i just read on story on Yahoo finacial page, RAM did offer the biggest discounts on trucks last month.
"Last month, Chrysler offered an average incentive of $5,598 per truck on the Ram 1500, 35 percent more than the Ford F-150 and 46 percent more than Silverado, according to data dealers provide to researcher J.D. Power and Associates obtained by Bloomberg News. GM is holding off on incentives to preserve profit margins on its redesigned pickups. "
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-01/chrysler-s-ram-and-jeep-sales-lead-to-48th-straight-monthly-gain.html?cmpid=yhoo

Wait until April numbers come out. Now that GM is recalling millions upon millions of vehicles for shoddy quality (surprise there, huh?) it is affecting sales of ALL their vehicles. Chevy is finally going where they have belonged since 1987.

It doesn't matter how you slice it, GM lost. And will continue losing. No one forced them to abort their medium duty trucks. And no one forced them to build them so crappy that fleets had no choice but to avoid them. GM couldn't sell them cheap enough.

What matters is how many run down the assembly line, regardless of flavour. GM can't compete with what's out there. Or on the way.

Look at it this way, if you're not making enough total profit on sales (model, not individual) then maybe you're asking too much for your product. With the law of Supply and Demand, you've got to find the balance where demand meets or exceeds supply.

In other words, you want to price your product to where you make the most profit overall, rather than going for huge profits per item. Truck pricing has been grossly overboard for decades and people have been willing to pay it. But now that people are getting a little more cost-conscious, they're not as willing to pay those higher prices if someone else offers an equivalent product for less. Sure, any one of those brands could offer a much lower profit margin (and subsequently a notably lower price), but if that lower profit margin doesn't increase sales enough to generate a higher net profit, they're just screwing themselves. Sure, you could sell a megaton of trucks at a 5% margin, but if a kiloton at 20% makes more net profit, you'd be a fool to go that low. On the other hand, if you're barely selling a decaton at 50% profit, your net falls drastically.

Some of you are commenting how Ram has offered significant discounts; obviously the rebates are helping sales. Meanwhile, GM's 10% increase in price (and profit margin) appears to be hurting sales, driving net profit down by almost that same 10% as well. Cut that MSRP by 5% and Chevy's sales may rise more and realize more net profit for the company.

Strangely, despite DM's argument that GM is seeing karma, GMC trucks are also showing a near 25% growth. It looks to me like part of Chevy's problem isn't the recall issue, but rather simple appearance; people just don't like how the Chevy looks when compared to the GMC.

@MJ

My analysis differs from yours (esp #2).

1. GM is going full bore to offer American consumers a mid-size truck this Fall. It's not here yet but the press has seen them; and we've covered it heavily at PUTC.

2. The market for the commercial grade HD and Kodiak style trucks is a very specialized market with loads of global competition. GM made the decision to compete where the money is, in the personal market. I predict they'll be either a winner or close second place in that segment, especially after the Colorado and Canyon have made their mark.

3. RAM is probably years away from having the necessary dealer network to compete with Ford and GM.


My 2 cents.

@roadwhale

Let's try this again:

You are over-loading your hummingbird tail with your alligator mouth. Stick to a topic you know.

Automakers price their products based on the market--not stockholder demand for profit.

Profit in a big product-development and manufacturing business such as GM comes from almost entirely from operational efficiencies, not trying to guess the prices that will support profits in a given month or year.

Dealers do that--linking price/profits, not manufacturers.

Manufactures set up internal programs among their divisions (accounting, manufacturing, franchising) to discover opportunities for profit. These proprietary activities are very private and not discussed in the public sphere.

Establishing retail pricing is strictly at the distribution, sales and dealer level.

Spew all the bs excuses you want. The numbers don't lie and this monumental feat cannot be compromised or diminished. It's survival of the fittest and Chevy has become a herbivore in a carnivores market. Welcome to the new age.

GUTS, GLORY, RAM

End of years stats will be the determining factor.

Sales over the long haul. Glad to see Ram increases.

I think deep down they have always been #2 (or should be).

I would have to agree that the prices of full-size trucks are getting out of hand. I recently looked at a 2014 GMC Sierra regular cab, short bed Z71 in the SLE trim. The final price for this truck was just over $41,000. For this price, you might as well get an SLT (or maybe even a Denali) crew-cab. I still like the regular cab, but I would never pay this much for a regular cab truck.

My 2006 Silverado just turned 337,000 miles and I still do not need a new pickup. My suggestion to GM is to keep building the longest lasting pickup available and the Ram and Ford buyer will eventually come to you unless they are in the " You Cannot Fix Stupid" group. Also, when GM did build the Kodiak and Topkick, those sales numbers were not included in the Silverado and Sierra numbers because of the model names.

10 years ago, the market and the economy were so good that they could simply make their trucks evolve a little and all would be well. GM is learning the hard way that is no longer the case. Toyota and Nissan should be paying attention too. Yes diesels will help, but it is not a wonder drug, they are going to have to put some real innovation throughout the truck, which also means more than adding on a few gadgets.

GM is trying to wean itself off of the high-volume/huge discount business model that burned them in the past. They are selling fewer vehicles, but making more marginal profit on each one...Like Toyota does. The consumer pays more up front but recoups most if not all in higher residual/resale value. (Steep discounts on new trucks undermine resale value.) There was a good article on this in the Detroit News today:

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140402/AUTO0103/304020024/0/auto01/GM-puts-margins-before-sales-by-not-matching-truck-discounts

Whether or not the market will fall for this, is still up for debate.

@Alex

That's a curious point of view, in my opinion.

Ten years ago the market for pickups was so soft that GM, Ford and Chrysler were having to sell financing terms, instead of just selling trucks.

On main street, people were borrowing money from home equity to buy trucks. Hardly a healthy sign, either for the automakers or the economy.

Unemployment was much lower then; today's awful unemployment makes the 2000-2007 economy look better by comparison.

@Jason

"...Steep discounts on new trucks undermine resale value."

That's an opinion.

Here is a fact: The resale price of a used truck in 2018-2020 will be determined by the factors that are driving demand and supply at that future date. It is impossible to accurately establish retail price at some future time. It is a guess.

If the economy is much stronger in five years, that factor will have far more impact on price then, than any discounts today.

And another thing: GM, RAM and Ford's shareholders want action NOW, not in five years. That's why incentives work for them.

@papa jim
Apparently, one that is widely shared:

"Retiring GM CEO Dan Akerson has pushed hard to improve GM's profits -- and its vehicles' resale values. Making great cars and trucks -- and limiting discounts -- is the way to do that."

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/01/04/why-isnt-anyone-buying-the-2014-chevy-silverado.aspx

"Some vehicles — such as those that are heavily discounted with rebates and other incentives — will take a big hit on depreciation because the money that comes off the top also undermines the resale value."

http://ask.cars.com/2012/09/is-it-true-a-new-car-depreciates-20-percent-right-off-the-dealership-lot.html

"GM has insisted that it is absolutely focused on improving both its profits per vehicle sold as well as its vehicles' resale values, even if it costs them some sales.

Both of those goals are undermined when discounts get boosted."

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/02/why-general-motors-is-putting-the-2014-chevy-silve.aspx

http://www.autoblog.com/2013/06/06/chrysler-recalling-630k-jeep-models-worldwide/ GAS TANK FIRE RISK HMMMMMMM ...

couldn't be HEMI V8 ?

WXMAN ram never has shoddy vehicles ever ....

http://www.autoblog.com/2013/11/09/ram-pickup-recall-tie-rods/

General Motors’ product planners may be scratching their heads at the way the US market has moved in the direction of the Ram 1500 pick-up truck.

http://autoindustrynewsletter.blogspot.se/2014/04/ram-1500-gives-general-headache.html#more

wow look at all these recalls hmmmm

WXman I think all 3 manufactures have shoddy quality don't you think ?

@Jason he is still trying to make a prediction.

@Jason

By the way, thanks for the links.

Never forget who GM's former CEO is really speaking to:

His partners, his biggest stockholders, his dealerships and the huge rental agencies that buy so many GM cars and trucks each year.

They are each VERY focused on short term business concerns that are 90 or 120 days in the future.

Retail customers like me are looking at 2018 or 2020. Big difference.

It's GM's own fault it doesn't choose to compete at Class 4 and above, so they have no valid reason to cry foul.

@Jason H. - I have to agree with you that discounts affect resale. The Grand Caravan we had was purchased primarily due to steep discounts and a long warranty. We couldn't give the POS away when we got a new van. My near dead rusty old 1990 F250 sold for the same price as our 7 year old GC.

I purchased a new truck in 2010 because discounts put it at the same price as a low mile clean used 2-3 year old truck.

@PapaJim - residual value is a complex part of the picture but discounts play a role.

How cares about sales numbers, I care about how the truck preforms and if it fits my bill. Lets see some more testing and comparisons.

HEMI V8 & TRX 4 Tom report to this thread immediately!

You've got some explaining to do about Chrysler's latest recall!

wow, cory is trolling hard. Guess he's still pissed the Ram wooped the Ford in any towing eventin that last shootout. Or maybe cause a hemi thats quicker with more power and better mileage woops a 5.0, and Ford needs a pair of turbos to make decent power down low without revving way up.

this article is all about excuses for GM, to the truck buyers though, GM has run out of excuses

Funny to see the age old GM fanboy excuse of "they count everything" trotted out by PUTC.

GM has been earning higher transaction prices but as the link shown by Jason H indicates, Ford is pulling in about 2k more than GM per unit and GM is 0.9k per unit ahead of Ram.

Sierra sales are up considerably which tends to show that the Silverado look is wearing thin. It also shows that the Professional Grade versus Work grade strategy is a failure.

A study was done of 25 major cities in the USA and only 1 city on average had the wealth to afford a 32K vehicle on 48 month financing.
People are still hurting financially. A person who can afford a truck or has good financing is more likely to buy a more luxurious truck. The common salesman ploy is to point out it only adds x dollars a month. The Ford site points this out on the "build your own" page.
Trucks have gotten very competitive with options and features. Ford and Ram's innovative risks in a traditionally conservative segment are paying off. Gm's conservative approach isn't.

Regardless of how it is sliced GM is loosing market share. Profits are up for them but Ford made double the profits for 2013.

GM is going to loose a few billion just on their recent high profile recalls.

The "liberal" government who has been touted as bailing out them and their unions have an election coming up and will not want to appear soft on their "comrades".

Hail to the Ram! They did what seemed to be the impossible.

- "Strangely, despite DM's argument that GM is seeing karma, GMC trucks are also showing a near 25% growth. It looks to me like part of Chevy's problem isn't the recall issue, but rather simple appearance; people just don't like how the Chevy looks when compared to the GMC."


@Karma, I agree. The Silverado is still just not a very attractive truck and hasn't been for many years. I think GM wins a small victory in swinging a few loyal "GM" buyers over to the GMC Sierra. The vast majority of Chevrolet buyers however just leave the Chevrolet lot and go down to the Ford and Ram dealers. It's always been a Ford/Dodge/Chevy battle when it comes to trucks. Not necessarily a Ford/Dodge/GM battle. And when GM throws GMC into the mix and dilutes Chevrolet, you get what we have here. They have nobody to blame but themselves.


- "Bottom line: quality still matters, and GM has always had a penchant for a little lighter built, a little cheaper materials here and there. It is catching up with them."


@CommonSense, I agree with this. The interiors, frames coatings, loss of SFA, very poor body metal quality etc have all contributed to this as well. 100% of it can be traced to cutting pennies. Their quality has slowly diminished since 72, even moreso since 87, and vastly went downhill since 99. Congratulations to Dodge though. We'll see what Ford can muster up. I think Chevrolet is quickly becoming a lost cause outside of the racing industry. GM has done too much damage IMO to the nameplate. It seems like everyone on the outside can see it but those in GM land are blinded.

all of the big three got lazy regarding innovation for there pickups around 99-2000.thats why some people jumped ship to toyota and nissan.ford and ram are the only brands making any progress on there half tons. as good as the 5.3l small block is its a dated design even with direct injection.gm put too much money devolping cadillacs and buicks then innovation the half ton market. remember the 4.5 dmax? that went nowhere and its a shame it did. gm would have a relevant product at the moment. .chevy trucks were the best until 99.ford will be on top for the rest of the decade unless gm unleashes something radical. ram will continue to make a great product and the titan with the cummins diesel will b a great alternative to the big three.

(TRX) "Ford needs a pair of turbos to make decent power down low without revving way up."

You're not familiar with Ford engines then? (5.4, 6.8, 351, 460). You think they forgot how to make big torquey gas V8s and didn't since find a smarter way of doing it, which is the same way that BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Porsche are now doing it.

- "Sierra sales are up considerably which tends to show that the Silverado look is wearing thin. It also shows that the Professional Grade versus Work grade strategy is a failure. "


@Lou, I completely agree with this too. What is 'Professional' grade vs. 'Work' grade anyway. Isn't ones work ones profession? It's completely ridiculous and laughable. Odd that no other company seems to have this issue which as I pointed out, is one GM created for themselves. You ever see the commercial for the Sierra touting the 'cold rolled steel' beds? Every time I see it I think to myself, 'it must suck to be a Silverado buyer'. The marketing implies the Silverado doesn't have it. Very weird stuff. You're right on the Silverado look too. It lost the 'it' factor a long time ago. GM banked on traditional Chevy loyalists to carry them but it isn't working. I knew this was going to be a downhill slide since the 90's when the Denali package came out and Chevrolet guys were complaining about not being able to order it. Then came the All Terrain. The blowback has been fierce. No way GM can continue to have their cake and eat it too like it's 1940. Two lines of trucks in 2015 will be a very short lived strategy going into the future.

@papa jim,
That will make a difference for GM. Interesting this comparison of Apples to Oranges as regards GM and RAM's Pickup composition does not apply to Toyota's Tundra that does not have a 3/4 or 1 ton or heavier on offer.

"GM banked on traditional Chevy loyalists to carry them but it isn't working...."

@Fordtrucks1

I agree with your notion about how stupid it is for GM to sell discrete brands of truck on the same platform. Wrong in a LOT of ways--we agree.

But when you say, above, it isn't working I don't get it. GM sells more halfton trucks than anybody, if you combine the brands. When they aren't number one, they are right behind in number two.

RAM would give their left n*t to have GM's sales numbers and all the RAM fan boys would wet themselves.

Also, later this year GM introduces a mid size truck that can really change the game if gas prices continue the recent uptrend.

Don't shovel dirt on the grave just yet.

@papa jim
i agree, i believe the colorado/canyon twins will be the saving grace of gm. right sized truck with the right amount of power and good fuel economy, but knowing gm a crew cab collie 4x4 willl cost just as much as a silverado. the success of the colorado will depend on where its priced

GM-GMC has pretty much sunk Chevrolet just like they did every other company they once held. Let Chevrolet pawn cheap south Korean cars for a wind down and then close em. The only thing GM has left worth looking at is the Buick cars-suv's and the GM'C' trucks anyway. I can't say I've been impressed with Chevrolet's for a long time. They're just too cheaply built and damn hard on the eyes. It's not like their old stuff the Chevy guys keep clinging to that's for sure. Them days are gone.

"...agree with you that discounts affect resale. The Grand Caravan we had was purchased primarily due to steep discounts and a long warranty. We couldn't give the POS away when we got a new van. My near dead rusty old 1990 F250 sold for the same price as our 7 year old GC.

I purchased a new truck in 2010 because discounts put it at the same price as a low mile clean used 2-3 year old truck."

@LouBC

you covered a lot of ground there.

1. Sorry about the GC but they really were uncompetitive; new, used, trashed or not running--you just couldn't give one away. Minivans in general suck as used cars because Mommie and the kids wreck a car worse than road salt. They are also heavy and the old ones had small engines with low power/torque and 3 spd trannies W/overdrive. Those motors lived hard and died young.

2. Time is the issue with residual resale: What I proposed to Jason was that GM (and the others) live life one month, one quarter, one year at a time. Me? I may not buy again for several years. By then, I won't care at all about incentives that might have affected sales of a new truck five years ago.

Re: number 2 The market for used sedans, station wagons and CUVs is probably different, but I really don't care if the "new" truck I buy is a three year old. Or Five. Or...?

As a truck buyer I'm a total opportunist. For me it's DEAL, DEAL, DEAL. I would only buy a new truck today under exceptional circumstances like winning the Lotto.

Raminator & Mopar musle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UMWh35T3i8

@Gene

Only thing GM has to look at is Buick and GMC? ATS/CTS ring a bell on the Cadillac side? They have been nipping at or beating the German's in comparison tests. The escalade looks to step it up a notch or two.

Chevrolet has the Volt on the technology front, Traverse is tops in sales for full size CUV, Equinox is towards the top of the class. Impala has won awards, Corvette is shutting down much more expensive rivals, The Camaro is the sales leader (and with the Z28 brings a unique and godzilla beating track pack/future collector with F1 tech). The small cars are killing it (see cruze and sonic). The big SUV's always have/always will be number 1 in their segment. And they are coming back to the midsize segment with what appears to be a class leader in many leagues.

Only area that could use some work is the Full size trucks but not much. A few special edition models, maybe make the 6.2 an option across the board. They have been raved upon as being equal to the Dodge in interior quality (with a more truck like feel rather than a car like one). Drive train doesn't need any work and style is in the eye of the beholder. They have stated they have stuff up their sleeves. Also look at their trans action prices and discounts. Higher ATP's than Dodge and much less discount. Anyone can throw a bunch of money on the hood and sell something, but that is bad business case, horrible for resale and doesn't do much for the perception of the brand. GM is trying to find a nice balance on that front, they are enjoying some nice large paydays as of late (with exception to the recall costs).

Dodge can enjoy it, won't be a long term thing. With GMC being a cash cow and Buick making some awesome products (just adding awd to the regal helps too, that car is a killer deal) GM as a whole will be fine and the trucks will eventually turn it around. They are making many class leading vehicles in the past few years. Chrysler err I mean Fiat has too.

@papa, Dodge will soon. You can bank on it. That old 2 truck thing only worked when I was a kid and even back then folks snickered at it. We bought a Bonneville in 64 at our Pontiac dealer and there was what I viewed as Chevy trucks sitting right beside it. Cept they had a different emblem. That crap don't fly anymore. Tis why they try and make em different. Problem is, Chevy is the bottom feeder now. Back then, Chevy trucks were top dog. I'd bet the Sierra sales will continue to rise albeit slightly, and CK Silverado sales will continue to plummet. A guy really is better off buying a Dodge or Ford truck these days than he is a Chevy. Better trucks for similar money and Way better resale value down the road. I was raised on Chevy, Olds and Pontiac. Two of em are dead and the other is a dead company walking. Chevy and GM really should have parted ways during the bailout. It may have saved em both.

Chevrolet can't keep pawning off cheap crap much longer. Especially not trucks. It has been and will continue to be damaging till the end. But GM can't make their bottom line without pawning off cheap crap through Chevrolet motors line. Both are done for together long term. Separate, they'd be better off.



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