In a surprising switch up in 2019, the perennial second-place Chevy Silverado was deposed by the Ram 1500. Quality and a much nicer interior were some of the charms that swayed buyers toward the Ram pickup truck. Was it just a fluke, or will the Ram vs Silverado wars see another flip in 2021?
In the Ram vs Silverado war, Ram beat Chevy in 2019
For decades, the Chevy full-size pickup truck had yearly sales that were more than double those of the Dodge/Ram 1500 truck. When the totally redesigned Dodge/Ram truck came out in 1993, it began to close the gap. With the sale of the all-new Ram 1500 in 2019, it leapfrogged over the Silverado for the first time.
In 2020, the Silverado regained its number two position by a very small margin. But now it looks like 2021 will see it finish in third place again if Ram’s numbers hold on. And we’ve only got a week to go.
Ram hit the big time in 2019 with almost 650,000 1500 pickups sold. It dropped off in 2020, with 563,676 trucks finding buyers. So far in 2021, it is down a bit more at 434,773 units sold.
Chevy bounced back in 2020
Silverado sales dropped below Ram’s to 575,569 in 2019, with Ram beating Chevy by over 50,000 trucks. In 2020, Chevy came back to second with almost 600,000 pickups finding buyers. So far in 2021, it is down to 414,388 sold. So right now the difference is 20,000 trucks for Ram versus Silverado.
Chevy responded to the down 2019 numbers with a reworked Silverado for 2022. The fascia has been tuned up to make for a less fussy, bolder presentation. The grille openings have also been enlarged again, to give a more aggressive face.
Going to the interior, Chevy chose to completely change it to give the appearance of a more luxurious look. One of the deal-makers for the Ram 1500 was the interior. It was undoubtedly nicer and cleaner than Chevy’s interior. Even the materials looked more high-quality than in the Silverado.
Chevy got the message about its Silverado interiors
Now, Chevy has eliminated the pod-look, instead, going with a more integrated design tying together the two screens and the air conditioning vents. Before, they were visually enclosed in sectioned-off pods. It also looked fussy and a mix of different elements. The new dash ties everything together and gives more of a sweeping visual presentation.
To compete with Silverado or the Ford F-150, you have to give something more. That is what Ram did in 2019. It will probably never reach the numbers that Ford sees for its top-selling truck. But it did the unthinkable and hit number two in 2019. We expect that, though the numbers will be a bit greater, Ram will take over second place once again.
Where does Chevy go now?
What does Chevy need to do to improve the Silverado to get number two back? Maybe a cheaper base model, and a bit more variety. Getting the single cab, short bed version will help. It will never see huge numbers, but it should sell 20,000 to 30,000 units. That would have been enough to have kept its advantage over the Ram had it been available this year.
And all Chevy needs to do is look across town to Ford’s Lightning EV reservations to see it needs an all-electric Silverado. That is coming in 2023, but that is a year away. With Ram not expected to get into electrification until 2024, Chevy has a shot at reclaiming the number two position in 2023. But what about 2022?