So far in 2019, the best selling vehicle in the U.S. has been the famous Ford F-series of trucks. However, that piece of good news doesn’t necessarily reflect the reality that Ford is facing right now. Because in fact, according to Ford itself, Ford’s been losing market share for the last few years now.
Ford’s truck growth
Like all good things, Ford started at the bottom but then it got to the top. This was when Ford was booming, and it’s no surprise that Ford was the inventor of one of the first pickup trucks in the world. However, Ford’s pickups wouldn’t become world-renowned until a few decades later, when Ford introduced its F-series of trucks.
It didn’t take long for the F-150 in particular to become one of the most iconic trucks in American history. The F-150 was the most popular American truck, and although Ford had plenty of competition from rivals in General Motors, Chrysler, and Toyota, the F-150 was able to maintain its dominance of the market for decades due to new features and new innovations.
One of the latest and most impactful innovations from Ford was the introduction of the EcoBoost series of engines onto the F-150. These engines were not only great for towing and hauling things, but were also extremely fuel-efficient.
This made the F-150, when equipped with an EcoBoost diesel, one of the most practical pickup trucks that anyone could buy. But, that would soon change.
Ford’s market share stagnation
Other automakers caught onto the trend quickly and all started introducing similarly powered engines onto competing trucks. Ram’s trucks in particular now have an optional EcoDiesel engine, which, like Ford’s EcoBoost, is not only great for doing truck things but it’s also great for the driver’s wallet, too.
Outside of the American market, other automakers have introduced trucks that are simply superior to what Ford offers. For example, Toyota has the Hilux, which is a truck that isn’t available in America, and it’s one of the most durable and reliable trucks ever. In China, Nissan teamed up with a local Chinese automaker to introduce an affordable electric pickup truck, and it’s far more fuel-efficient than the F-150 is.
This competition from everywhere on the globe has caused Ford’s market share to dip. According to Ford, between 2016 to 2018, Ford’s market share has dropped in almost every area of the world.
In the U.S., it’s dropped from 14.6% to 14.1%. In Europe, it’s dropped from 7.7% to 7.2%. Finally, in China, it’s dropped from 4.6% to 2.9%. Taken as a whole, Ford’s market share around the world has dropped from 7.2% to 6.3% in those few years.
Not all of those cars sold were trucks, but according to Ford, about half of all the vehicles that Ford sells in the U.S. were trucks. Ford hasn’t talked about its market share of trucks around the world, but given what Ford has said, it’s fair to say that Ford’s share of the truck market has probably declined as well.
What Ford is doing in response
Like Ford’s CEO, Jim Hackett mentioned, Ford was the original Tesla in the sense that Ford was the first automaker to really shake things up and innovate in the industry. In order for Ford to reclaim its market share, Ford will have to do that some more.
Currently, Ford is experimenting with an all-electric F-150, and in a recent ad, Ford showed it towing over 1 million pounds of cargo. Other than electrifying its fleet, Ford is also improving on the interior of its trucks. Ford knows that its trucks don’t have terrible interiors, but it’s not the best truck interior either.
It remains to be seen whether these changes will be enough for the company to remain the top dog in the truck industry. With a changing global landscape, it will be hard.