At the start of 2020, CNBC reported that General Motors suffered a decline in sales in the fourth quarter (4Q) of 2019. Chevrolet, its largest brand, experienced the most significant drop in sales, with car sales declining 31 percent and truck sales down by nearly six percent. Out of the truck category, the Silverado experience the most notable decline of 2.6 percent, with heavy-duty trucks dropping in sales by as much as 7.5 percent. The only good news for GM in 2019 was that sales for SUV crossovers rose 5.8 percent.
Several factors contributed to the Chevy Silverado’s decline in sales, notably a 40-day strike in late October 2019 led by the United Auto Workers union. Another factor that drove down sales in 2019 was the anticipated redesign potential pickup truck buyers expected. But when the 2020 Chevy Silverado finally hit showrooms, many found the supposed “redesign” lackluster. Of course, throughout much of 2020, Americans have been trying to cope through a 100-year pandemic—not to mention all kinds of other problems that have followed.
The Duramax Turbo-Diesel receiving a $1,500 MSRP reduction
Chris Bonelli of Chevrolet Communications told GM Authority: “Effective today, all 2020 Silverado 1500s equipped with the 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel will receive a $1,500 MSRP reduction. This reduced pricing will also apply to 2021 Silverado 1500s, as we work to put as many of America’s most fuel-efficient full-size pickups on the road.”
Working “to put as many of America’s most fuel-efficient full-size pickups on the road” may suggest more than concern for the environment.
Beyond the economic turmoil, Chevy has fought hard to earn back its place as the second-best-selling pickup truck brand in the United States. During 2Q and 3Q 2019, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) flagship full-size pickup truck managed to outsell the Chevy Silverado 1500.
But if Dodge thought holding onto Chevy’s long-held position would be easy, it has another thing coming.
The 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel dropped the ball in towing capacity
In mid-June 2019, Dodge walked itself out on a less-than-sturdy limb by boasting that its EcoDiesel would be the unmitigated towing champion in the full-size, diesel-powered class. Of course, many reviewers couldn’t help but hop on the Ram 1500 bandwagon. Prognostications abounded how the Ram was going to serve the Silverado, Sierra, and F-150 their lunch.
It does out tow the Silverado by around 360 pounds (lbs). However, the 2019 Ford F-150 smashed them both with a towing capacity of 13,200 lbs and a payload capacity of 3,270 lbs. The 2019 Silverado’s 6.2-liter V8 engine came with a 2,543-lbs payload capacity; at 2,200-lbs, the Dodge Ram 1500 earned third place in the payload capacity.
Considering everything Chevy faced in 2019, it’s unlikely the Silverado’s “outdated” interior or 360-pound difference in towing were significant contributors to the slump. As the 2021 Silverado hits showrooms, it’s looking to be anyone’s game—except when it comes to Ford’s F-150.
Dodge should be a little worried about the 2021 Chevy Silverado
One of the biggest complaints about the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado was that nothing had changed interior-wise. Edmunds referred to its interior as being “highly outdated with “subpar material quality.” The author of the review further stated that “the cabin design looks like it came from 2010 rather than 2020.” But information has since surfaced, suggesting that Chevy had planned to introduce higher-quality interiors in 2020. Nevertheless, with a 40-day-long strike and faltering sales, GM determined it best to get the Silverado to market quickly.
In other words, the automaker chose to sacrifice upgrading the Silverado’s interior for not allowing its competitors too much of a head start. And for all intents and purposes, the gamble is looking to be paying off. Chevy reported a 27 percent increase in overall vehicle sales Q1 2020. However, those numbers still mean that Chevy is 13 percent below Q1 2019, with 186,562 units sold (this includes all models).
Looking at it from a business standpoint, Chevy seems to be focusing on other things and trying not to rush a redesign to spite Dodge. This is probably why the interior redesign got pushed further back to 2022 with some modest exterior updates. In 2023, the Silverado HD and Sierra HD are supposed to receive the same treatment. Lastly, the off-road-focused Silverado ZRX is also scheduled to make its highly anticipated debut in 2023.