The numbers are in for the second quarter of 2019 and the results have one simple conclusion: Ram is simply killing it.
Going back to late last year, Ram started trending upwards and surpassed Chevy for a few months. This brought a big reaction from truck fans and journalists. It was a fluke Chevy said. Ram is putting a lot of cash on the hood Chevy said. Yet, the trend continues.
Journalists, truck fans and consumers are rewarding Ram’s design, powertrain choices and execution of its pickups to catapult the brand knowing for bringing up the rear to now being a serious threat to Ford and GM’s truck sales.
Without further ado, here are the results. We break off mid-size pickups and put them in their own category.
|2019 Q2 Pickup Sales|
|Full-Size Truck Sales||Q2 Sales||Last Year Q2 Sales||Quarterly Change||Year to Date||Last Year to Date||Year Over Year Change|
|Mid-Size Truck Sales||Q2 Sales||18 Q2 Sales||Quarterly Change||Year to Date||Last Year to Date||Year Over Year Change|
Starting from the top, Ford F-Series trucks continue to lead the way. This is to no one’s surprise with Ford’s well known half-ton pickup, the Super Duty trucks and their commercial business. While Ford will very likely retain the crown of Best Selling Truck Lineup in the U.S. this year, it is clear they need the refreshed Super Duty lineup (due out this Fall) and a new F-150 pickup (due out next year in 2020) to help keep that crown moving forward.
Next, Ram blew their sales out of the water with nearly a doubling of total sales output for the quarter. They have a large 28 percent increase year over year (unheard of really) and are surely going to be limited by overall production constraints. While Jeep is planning a new plant in Detroit, if these sales results keep up, Ram might have to start looking to build a new plant as well.
Then, there is the Chevrolet Silverado. Chevy issued their sales results differently this time splitting out light duty and heavy duty numbers. This was an interesting strategy to deflect from the significant sales drop they experienced. While GM has announced investments in their truck plants in Fort Wayne and in Flint to expand capacity as well as try to spread a narrative that their crew cab pickups are doing well, the numbers don’t lie. A 12.3 percent drop (15.8% with GMC added to it) is big news and senior leadership must be concerned about their new trucks performance.
Toyota continues to tread water with the Tundra and we expect to see a new model next year at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show. The new truck is sorely needed and our guess is Toyota’s goal would be to get sales in the 50,000 units a year range. They will never be the big truck players like Ford, Ram or GM, but Toyota’s senior leadership has admitted they can do better.
Rounding out the pack is the Nissan Titan which continues to flounder in the truck market. There is a new model under development, yet the spy photos show it being more of a refresh rather than an entirely new design.
For mid-size trucks, the Toyota Tacoma continues to lead the way even after new competition has hit the market. Incredibly, it seems every new competitor helps grow the Tacoma sales. It is a solid producer for Toyota and we see its sales growing with a new Mexico plant on the horizon dedicated to just building Tacoma pickups.
Next is the Chevy Colorado which saw a big hit to its overall sales. This is a surprising result considering the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison sold out quickly once it hit the market and the truck is still pretty competitive in the market with its gas and diesel powertrain choices. This might just be a blip in the radar for now and we will see what the rest of the year looks like.
The new to the U.S. Ford Ranger doubled its sales from the 1st quarter of 2019 and is now much more respectable for a new pickup. The real question for the Ranger is what happens after pent-up demand is met for it and how will the new pickups like the Jeep Gladiator impact its sales.
Once again, the Nissan Frontier continues to sell well even if its the oldest pickup on the market. It is really a value-driven pickup offering a lot of features for a low price and this is driving volume for it. While we hear a new one is done and ready to make its debut, there is nothing solid to report on.
The GMC Canyon had a good quarter upstaging the big loss on the Chevy Colorado. While its sales volume will always be less than Chevy by design, sales continue to grow with the top tier Denali trim helping bring people into the brand.
Plodding along the Honda Ridgeline is having a pretty good year considering it is now becoming one of the older truck models on the market. The truck that “isn’t quite a truck, but maybe all the truck you really need” is up a respectable 1.8% year over year and we don’t expect much change.
Rounding out the bunch is the Jeep Gladiator. This truck has taken the truck world by storm with many people lauding its capability and social media going nuts over it. However, the sales results don’t really add up to all the attention. We expect this is simply a supply issue and with more Gladiators on sales lots, we could finally see some incentives and sales volume taking off. For now, it is an interesting case of a pickup getting a ton of attention from fans and the media, while consumers are passing on it right now.
With two more quarters to go, the big questions are going to be how much can Ram continue to grow chiseling away at Ford’s lead. As well as if Chevy will rebound when their plants starting shipping the new heavy-duty trucks to the sales lots along with more extended and regular cab light-duty trucks. With the increased production, Chevy should retake the number 2 spot based being able to build more trucks than Ram, yet Ram is on such a roll, it is going to be fun to watch this play out. Grab the popcorn, we are in for a good finish!