For much of the past year, Fiat Chrysler’s Ram brand has been creeping up on Chevrolet’s sales of the full-sized Silverado. That is no longer the case as during the second quarter, Ram outsold Silverado for the first time, taking over the No. 2 spot behind Ford.
Ram sold more than 68,000 pickups in June, noted Reid Bigland, head of FCA sales. In all, Sales of Ram pickups for June rose 56% to 68,098 vehicles. For the quarter, Ram pickup truck sales finished at 179,454 vehicles.
The strong month resulted Ram outselling Chevrolet for the second quarter by more than 35,000 trucks: Silverado sales were 142,464.
“For the first-half of 2019, Ram has been on a tear since we made the strategic decision to enter the year with a three-truck strategy. The new Ram 1500, Ram Classic and Heavy Duty are all generating a huge response from customers and critics alike,” said Reid Bigland, head of FCA sales.
“This is now the third month Ram pickup sales have surpassed 60,000 since December. Our dealers had a steady stream of customers all month long,” Bigland said.
The news for GM doesn’t improve any as deliveries during the second quarter were down 1.5% versus a year ago, in line with third-party estimates for industry sales. The company estimates that its retail market share was even with a year ago, with truck and crossover deliveries offsetting lower passenger car sales.
Sales of the Silverado light-duty pickup truck dropped 9.4% during the first six months of 2019 to 194,426 as sales of the Ram pickup surged. Ram has been on a roll for some time now, and the reasons are pretty straightforward, according to one analyst.
Affordability has been a major issue in the pickup truck segment. For instance, the 2019 Ram 1500’s average MSRP is now above $50,000, and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s average MSRP is just below $50,000.
However, with the higher price comes new technology, including a 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen standard for Ram or the optional 12-inch screen, which rivals the tablet found in Tesla’s Model S, notedGeorge Augustaitis, director of industry analytics for CarGurus.com.
However, Ram’s solution to the affordability problem is to keep its previous-generation vehicle, now called the Ram Classic, he said, and price it lower than other new trucks. The Ram Classic trim’s average MSRP sits just above $40,000.
“While the Classic lacks some of the new technology, engine offerings, and towing capabilities of the new Ram,” he said, “its relative affordability appeals to price-sensitive consumers who are willing to make those tradeoffs.”
By making both the new Ram 1500 and the RAM Classic available, Ram addresses two different segments: those buying for technology and safety, and those buying for value. This leaves Chevy in a tough spot.
“Transaction price growth accelerated in June, climbing 3% as demand for trucks and SUVs pushed sales and prices up in those segments. Light trucks and SUVs are expected to account for about 71% of sales in June, up from 68% a year ago.,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.