But Chevy isn't panicked yet.
Pickup trucks represent the largest volume segment in the United States and have done so for quite some time. The Ford F-150 is the sales king, while the Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500 have always trailed behind it (in second and third place, respectively) with strong sales of their own. But now General Motors has a major problem because earlier in 2019, the Ram overtook the Silverado as the second best-selling truck in the US.
Chevy didn't take the defeat lightly and called Fiat Chrysler out for heavily discounting the Ram Classic in order to artificially boost sales numbers. But overall GM has been calm about the situation, and in a recent interview with Automotive News, urged people to remain patient with Silverado sales.
Ram sales have topped the Silverado's in nine of the past 10 months, according to the Automotive News Data Center, and the Ram currently holds a 22,000 unit lead five months into 2019. But Barry Engle, GM President of the Americas, says this is only a "temporary phenomenon" that will go away once the company increases production.
"Given our limited availability, we deliberately launched with a really high mix in trims," Engle explained. "But as we get broader availability and get the full portfolio out there, we'll be just fine." For Chevy, broader availability means 60,000 more trucks per year, including 20,000 extra 1500s and 40,000 of the recently revealed Heavy Duty models.
Once production increases, GM plans to double output of the off-road Silverado Trailboss. "We're selling every one of those we can make, and the real demand for that thing is probably double what we thought it would be and what we capacitized at," Engle said. "The dealers are just screaming for more." We thought the Trailboss was by far the best looking Silverado when we tested it earlier this year, but it still felt out-of-date next to the luxurious Ram 1500.
One of the reasons GM is remaining calm is because if you add in the sales volume of the GMC Sierra, it puts the automaker ahead of Ram in sales. GM also invested $150 million into its Flint Assembly plant to build more Silverado HDs, which should help to speed up the rollout of those models. "It will be the same measured approach, the same idea, the same philosophy, but we will be able to accelerate it," Engle said in reference to the launch of Chevy's HD trucks. "We've got a plan. We're in this for the long haul."