The past few months haven’t gone well in the U.S. automotive market. UAW strikes at several GM plants are hitting both the company and Michigan hard, Ford’s stock status was recently downgraded to ‘junk’ despite CEO Jim Hackett’s best efforts, and U.S. car and truck sales as a whole have declined significantly.
However, where trucks are concerned, there’s good news. Website TFLTruck.com recently reported that the Chevrolet Silverado’s and GMC Sierra’s combined sales in Q3 2019 managed to beat out the sales of Ford’s F-Series. This report is corroborated with information shared by Jalopnik from the Detroit Free Press.
Q3 Truck Sales
In addition, the data shows that despite lackluster car sales, American truck sales are still going strong. Compared to Q3 of 2018, both GM and Ram experienced positive growth. However, the sales of the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra both shrank. Although the Tundra’s Q3 sales only shrank 1.3% compared to 2018 (31,990 in 2018, 31,565 in 2019), the Titan’s sales in Q3 2019 are nearly half what they were in Q3 2018 (14,545 vs 7,386). Furthermore, Ford’s Q3 sales actually decreased from 2018 to 2019 by 6%, dropping from 227,880 in 2018 to 214,176 in 2019.
GM vs Ram
Nevertheless, General Motors can’t celebrate too hard. Although combined the company tops truck sales, the Sierra sells significantly less than the Silverado: 66,198 Sierras were sold vs 153, 853 Silverados in Q3 2019. This was also the case in Q3 2018: 51,368 Sierras in 2018 vs. 132,431 Silverados. However, this year the Sierra has closed the gap. Additionally, the GMC Sierra exhibited the highest percent growth in sales when comparing Q3 2019 and 2018 of any full-size pickup truck on the market. Perhaps GMC’s decision to market features such as the carbon-fiber bed and multi-function tailgate is starting to bring in potential buyers.
Adding to GM’s woes is the fact that Ram, as in Q2 2019, is still beating it in sales. In fact, if Q3 2019 sales were broken down by nameplate, Ram would be the second-highest selling full-size pickup in the US, with 161,635 sold. Although, the Silverado still shows a larger percentage gain in sales compared to the Ram: 16.2% for the former, 14% for the latter.
Ford Still on Top?
At the moment, Ford can still claim that its F-Series is the best-selling truck in America. While the automotive market is affected by numerous factors, it is possible prospective buyers were waiting until Ford revealed more details about its 2020 Super Duty. As noted previously with Ford’s stock status, decreased sales could also come from a lowered consumer perception of the brand as a whole. In the same vein, the Ram 1500 line won MotorTrend’s 2019 Truck of the Year award, which would naturally positively affect sales.
It’s also important to note that continued strong truck sales could affect the passenger car market. Ford has already cut most non-truck vehicles from its U.S. lineup in an attempt to increase profits. A decrease in F-Series sales, if it continues, might require another long-term strategy.