GM’s Lead in Truck Sales Isn’t as Impressive as It Seems

General Motors recently posted its 2020 sales data. And the automaker proudly announced Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks outsold the Ford F-Series. GM claims victory in the full-size truck class in an undeniably challenging 2020. But according to GM Authority, General Motors declares 847,110 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks outsold Ford F-Series pickups by 59,688 units.

Is it true GM now leads in the full-size truck game? Or is the automaker scripting an unfair comparison to try to claim dominance? 

GM vs. Ford in the full-size truck wars

A year ago, the Ford F-Series was the undisputed king of the full-size truck hill. And industry experts saw the Ram coming up fast behind it. The battle for second place between the Ram and the Chevy Silverado has been ongoing for a while. 

So how in 2020 could GM bundle Silverado and Sierra and leapfrog over Ram and the F-Series trucks to claim the top spot? Is that fair?

In 2020, GM sales numbers show the automaker sold 847,110 Silverado and Sierra trucks. The Ford F-Series sold 787,422 units, including the popular F-150 and its Super Duty range of trucks.

GM Authority reports that the Chevy Silverado alone sold 594,094 units in 2020, while the GMC Sierra sold 253,016. Together they experienced cumulative growth of just under 5 percent, with 3 percent growth for Silverado and 9 percent growth for Sierra. 

The Ford F-Series experienced a 12 percent drop in 2020 sales. The decline was mostly due to constraints on supply during the transition to the 14th-generation F-150.

Steve Hill, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales and marketing, told GM Authority that the availability of Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks was “tightly bound.” He went on to say that sales for the two truck lines might have been higher under more favorable conditions. The pandemic hit the auto industry pretty hard in 2020.

The real situation

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Taking a closer look, you realize that the numbers GM posted include a combined nine models from Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, including their heavy-duty trucks. Ford’s number includes only the F-Series, one line of trucks, not two, including its heavy-duty trucks but excluding heavy trucks such as the F-650 and F-750. Ford sold 10,036 F-650 and F-750 units in 2020.

Should GM be allowed to bundle the two truck lines and use their combined numbers to claim victory over the Ford F-Series and Ram? When you consider that other automakers report their trucks individually, like the Ram, Nissan Titan, and Toyota Tundra, GM’s numbers seem misleading. That’s because neither the GMC Sierra nor the Chevy Silverado outsold the Ford F-Series individually.

Is GM or Ford the real winner?

It’s hard to declare GM the new king of full-size trucks when the automaker had to combine two truck brands to surpass the Ford F-Series and Ram. Perhaps the folks at GM decided that was the only way they could claim the top spot.

The Ford F-Series has long held the distinction as the best-selling full-size truck because it has a lot to offer truck enthusiasts. It’s often the first to introduce innovative features such as an onboard generator. The F-Series features six trim levels, six drivetrain choices, and a slew of configuration options. 

The Ford F-Series enjoys popularity because it combines the best of both worlds. It’s a tough and rugged truck that performs myriad work tasks. But it can also be a consummate family vehicle with enough tech and safety features to make everyone happy. 

If the folks at GM want to beat the F-Series legitimately, they should craft a more competitive full-size truck.