In a way, I like to think of Chevrolet Silverado enthusiasts as the sort of Chicago Cubs fans of the automotive world. With each passing year, there’s the idea that maybe, just maybe, this’ll be it. This’ll be the year when the Silverado topples the Ford F-Series. And every year, Ford walks off with the win. Like it has for the last 34 years.
And this past December, Ford clobbered the Silverado on the dealer lots. Actually, it clobbered everybody. It was a strong finish to a bizarre year: Because of weakness from a plant re-tooling and rolling out its new F-150, it seemed like Chevrolet might have had a window to lead — even just for a month. The year turned out to be more like the ’69 Cubs. Ironically, the Cubs had their best season in recent memory.
Ford finished up the year with F-Series sales up 3.5%, which sounds like sort of a low growth number for America’s best-selling vehicle. But at the levels of volume that Ford is moving these things, a 3.5% bump resulted in 780,354 units being sold in the 365-day span. That led the Silverado by over 180,000 vehicles. Or, about 3.2 times the entire sales volume for Volvo in the U.S. in 2014.
That sort of perspective puts Ford’s truck sales into context, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a 14.6% hike in December when Ford sold 85,211 trucks in the span of 31 days. It’s the first time the nameplate has punched through the 80,000 barrier in more than 10 years.
What makes this deal sweeter for Ford is the F-Series is the company’s profit machine. Ford could sell $56,000 Mustang Shelby GT350s all day, but it’s the pickups that make up the margins. In fact, it’s the profit margins provided by the F-Series that make cars like the aforementioned hot Mustang and GT possible. The new Ford F-150 Limited is bound to help boost those margins, as it commands a base MSRP of $58,770 — about the cost of a nicely appointed Mercedes E-Class sedan.
This all helped bolster Ford’s transaction price by about 2.1% year-over-year for December, to a healthy $37,061 — likely largely in part because of its trucks.
It is worth mentioning that combined, GM’s line of trucks did outsell the F-Series to the tune of about 44,000 units. But considering Ford’s line is a single nameplate, the feat isn’t any less impressive. In fact, Ford reckons that across its lineup, the Blue Oval was America’s best-selling brand for the sixth straight year.
“December capped off six straight months of year-over-year sales gains for F-Series, with strong increases coming from both retail sales and the strength of commercial fleet orders, as we closed out 2015,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of Marketing, Sales and Service, said in a press blast. “Ford-brand SUVs delivered their best sales results in more than a decade, with our newest SUVs leaving dealer lots in a matter of days.”
With a new line of heavy-duties rolling out this year for the 2017 model year, we don’t expect to see that momentum sputter just yet.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.