Ram beat the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado for leadership in the closely-watched pickup truck sales race during the second quarter of 2021. The sales victory comes as Ram celebrates its 10th anniversary as an independent of brand by threatening to break Ford Motor Co.’s four-decade hold on pickup truck sales leadership.
Ram’s surprising second quarter blitz
Hobbled for months by the shortages of semiconductors, Ford surrendered F-150 sales leadership to Stellantis’s Ram 1500. Ram pickup trucks rose 28.5% to 164,232 units, even as the F-150’s declined 12.5% to 158,235. General Motors reported sales of 161,706 Chevrolet Silverados and 75,495 GMC Sierra pickup trucks. With combined sales of 237,201 light-duty Silverados and Sierras, GM claimed segment victory, with deliveries increasing from 174,568 in the second quarter last year.
Ram’s lead suggests that for the first time in years, Ford’s leadership in pickup truck sales is under serious threat. If Ford continues to see production shortfalls, Ram could claim the crown, but they’ll have to work hard to do it. Ford remains the segment leader with 362,032 units sold in the first six months of 2021 vs. Ram’s 313,068. Chevrolet is third at 161,706 units, followed by GMC at 75,495. Toyota and Nissan round put the segment with sales of 43,865 and 17,776 units.
Ram’s newest luxury model
The sales victory, however transitory, comes as Ram reaches a milestone. Having been part of Dodge until a decade ago, Ram is celebrating its 10 years of independence with the 2022 Ram 1500 Limited 10th Anniversary Edition.
“Ram 1500 Limited buyers have enjoyed the highest quality materials for a decade now and the Limited 10th Anniversary Edition is the latest example of how Ram delivers the most luxurious pickups in the industry,” said Mike Koval Jr., Ram Brand Chief Executive Officer.
The new special edition is distinguished by its unique “Blue Shade” paint, Ram’s multifunction tailgate that swings open as well as up and down, a center-mounted bed step and adjustable cargo tie down hooks. Climb inside and you’ll find a cabin lined in real wood, metal, suede and quilted leather. A 19-speaker premium sound system, metal pedals and special badging complete the makeover. Driveline choices are among the Ram 1500’s most fuel efficient: the 395-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 eTorque mild-hybrid, or the 260-horsepower 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. Prices start at $60,175, plus $1,695 destination.
The new model joins the Ram 1500’s high-performance 1500 TRX Crew Cab, with its Hellcat-like persona. But Ford isn’t standing still either as it expands its F-150 line-up with an all-electric version of its best-selling vehicle.
Marchionne’s move proves wise
The Ram 1500 Limited 10th Anniversary Edition commemorates newly-minted Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne splitting Dodge’s Ram trucks from Dodge, creating its own brand. “This reorganization will allow us to protect and develop the unique nature of the product offerings within the Dodge Brand,” Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said at the time.
By extricating Ram from Dodge, Marchionne thought the truck brand would gain a unique identity, allowing Dodge to focus on its image as a performance brand. The move came four months after Chrysler completed its bankruptcy reorganization that would lead to the creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now known as Stellantis. The wisdom of the strategy can be seen in the ensuing years.
When the strategy was announced in 2009, Dodge, with its Dodge Ram truck line sold 522,686 units. Ten years later, Dodge and Ram, now separate marques, sold a combined 1,125,090 units, a 53.6% increase. Even when compared to 2020’s sales, impacted by the Pandemic, deliveries have remained strong at 891,970 units, a 41.4% rise from 2009. Memo to Ford: watch your back.