Ram Is Catching Up to Ford Motor Company's F-150 and Chevrolet's Silverado

Although Ford's F-Series and Chevrolet's Silverado still lead U.S. auto sales, Ram is catching up...and fast.

Aug 17, 2014 at 8:00PM

Dodge Ram

Ram pickups are gaining ground on the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado, boosting sales nearly 20% this year. Photo source: Chrysler Group.  

Ford's (NYSE:F) F-Series pickup truck and General Motors Company's (NYSE:GM) Chevrolet Silverado were the two top selling vehicles in the United States last year. Despite seeing sales slip slightly in 2014, Ford and Chevy's pickups are yet again the top two in sales so far this year. But the Fiat Chrysler (NASDAQOTH:FIATY) Ram pickup  is quickly gaining ground. When there is a disruption like this in the industry, investors should take notice.

Below are the sales results for the three truck competing models for the first six months of 2014:

Vehicle 1H 2014 1H 2013 Change
Ford F-Series 365,825 367,486 (0.5%)
Chevrolet Silverado 240,679 242,586 (0.8%)
Ram Pickup 203,860  170,319  19.7%

Source: GoodCarBadCar; table created by author. 

First, the F-Series
Recently, F-Series sales have been slumping, which may be of concern to Ford investors. After all, the F-Series isn't just the company's top selling model, it's been top selling vehicle in the country for 32 consecutive years

That's why when sales fell 4.3% in May, and then a chilling 11% in June, I had to take a look, and the results I found were actually calming. 

F-Series sales have taken a hit due to temporary assembly line halts, most of which will take place in the second half of the year. These are necessary for the production of the new, aluminum-bodied, 2015 F-150. 

Also, dealerships are using fewer incentives to get low-paying customers in the door. In other words, Ford's pickup units are already in tighter supply and dealerships won't be willing to tack on the kinds of incentives they usually do. 

As a result of these two temporary situations, Ford F-Series sales are down. 

Okay, so what about the other two?
Ram pickup sales continue to surge ahead, and its not just this year that's been a success. In 2012, Ram was the seventh highest selling vehicle in the U.S., when sales grew 19.9% to 293,363. 

In 2013, growth stayed on track, as sales swelled 21.2% to 355,673 units on the way to becoming the fifth best selling vehicle of the year. 

Ford F

Ford F-150. Source: Ford Motor Company

For the first six months of 2014 -- as noted in the table above -- sales are up 19.7% to 203,860, while the Ram pickup has become the fourth best selling model in the U.S. 

Over the previous four years, Ram truck sales have been stronger in the second half of the year, compared to the first half. For that reason, I would expect Ram to approach 420,000 units for 2014, which would represent a conservative annual growth rate of 18%, lower than the past few years. 

To date, the Silverado has sold approximately 240,000 units, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Ram become the second best selling pickup in the U.S.

While I don't think it's likely that Ram will surpass the Silverado in sales in 2014, I certainly think it's plausible in 2015 -- which would happen if sales growth remains the same for each vehicle. 

Money talks
Taking a look at a standard 2014 Silverado 1500 crew cab truck, the MSRP price is $36,250. A comparably equipped Ram 1500 costs $33,775 and the Ford F-150 costs $35,930. In this case, the Ram has more horsepower than the Silverado and the F-150, but lacks the torque of those two models, (the best in this metric is the Silverado). 

Aside from being $2,500, or roughly 7%, cheaper than the Silverado, the Ram also has more incentive-friendly offers. This is likely giving the model a boost in sales over its competitors -- especially as Ford remains stingy with its offers.  

And in a world of ever-rising fuel costs, you can believe that consumers are looking at fuel efficiency. The Ram pickup edges out all other players in the truck market with its 20/28/23 city, highway, and combined miles per gallon, (tied on combined mpg with the Toyota Tacoma). 


Chevrolet Silverado. Source: General Motors

May the best truck win
It's perhaps not surprising that with a lower price tag, 2013 and 2014 Motor Trend "Truck of the Year" awards, and better highway fuel efficiency, the Ram is eating Chevrolet's lunch in terms of taking market share. 

Sure, the Ram hasn't surpassed Silverado sales, but at this point, the trend suggests that it will. The only question, is how long will it take?

When the 2015 F-150 comes on line, it will be interesting to see if there's a change in the sales trend for the top three selling pickup trucks. Stay tuned. 

Do you know this energy tax "loophole"?
You already know record oil and natural gas production is changing the lives of millions of Americans. But what you probably haven’t heard is that the IRS is encouraging investors to support our growing energy renaissance, offering you a tax loophole to invest in some of America’s greatest energy companies. Take advantage of this profitable opportunity by grabbing your brand-new special report, “The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!,” and you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.

Bret Kenwell owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers