Ford is still in the lead, but the difference is no longer a comfortable one.
The general automotive market is starting to hit a cooling point, a trend which was reflected in the latest batch of sales data to drop at the beginning of this month. In fact, the slowdown is so pronounced that it can be felt in America’s hottest auto sector, the truck segment, with Ford and General Motors seeing year-over-year sales decline. The Ram pickup, however, is the one exception. Not only was it able to prevent sales from dropping, Ram actually experienced an increase in sales so strong that it put deliveries for the entire Fiat Chrysler group ahead by 1.9%, according to Bloomberg.
Previous reports had already indicated that the Ram was going to be somewhat of a sales phenomenon when it beat out the Chevrolet Silverado for the spot of second-place truck maker (putting it right behind the incumbent, the Ford F-150), but nobody quite knew it was going to be this good.
Though combining the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado’s sales puts GM back into second place, the Ram’s gains made during the month of June are so good that it’s posted a sales number closer to what we’d expect from the F-150. That’s because Ram sales in June skyrocketed by 56% to 68,098 units, putting it just 3,400 units behind the F-150’s 71,500 average monthly deliveries in the first quarter of 2019.
"This truck is getting the attention of all brands’ previous pickup owners,” said Cass Burch, the owner of two Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships in Georgia. "It’s the very best pickup truck we’ve ever had for sale.”
Ram’s success seems to be taking place for three reasons. The first is that truck customers seem to be changing the way they decide which pickup to buy. Whereas before, brand loyalty, fuel economy, and tow ratings were deciding factors, more buyers are now focusing on niche features, such as the Ram’s available 12-inch infotainment display and the GMC Sierra’s MultiPro tailgate. The second reason is that Ram is heavily incentivizing its truck line, a move that Chevy called Ram out for earlier this year.
And the third reason, of course, is that Ram is still selling its previous generation truck, which it now calls the Ram Classic, albeit at a discount. The fact it’s still selling that version and lumping sales together with the current-generation Ram is certainly adding a boost to sales. "You have a discounted Ram Classic and a very competitive Ram,” summarized Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive. "I anticipated a big month, but not this big.”