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

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-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. 

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Read/Post Comments (10) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2014, at 8:29 PM, pointerfan wrote:

    I bought a 2013 Ram Laramie Longhorn, a very handsome smooth truck. Within 7000 miles and less than a year old, the cruise control went out. A week later the electronic transmission got stuck in first gear. Googling to see if this was common and seeing the answer, I traded it in immediately for the best comfortable smartest truck most reliable truck on the road - a Honda Ridgeline - and I love it. I hope they don't change it much when it comes out in a new form in 2016. So much for Ram - they DON'T get my vote. I'd steer clear. Chrysler still has a long way to go.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2014, at 10:11 PM, rossbro wrote:

    This article lists mileage for Ram with Diesel engine. Not gasoline, as is Ford and Chevy. Hard to compare.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2014, at 11:46 PM, vinnieboiblue wrote:

    The Silverado with its squarish wheel wells, make it look old. Stodgy is a term you don't want consumers to use when buying a truck, and the Silverado has that name attached by people. When asked why not a Silverado even tho it was just redesigned and people will say its old looking and that itself is a handicap.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2014, at 12:34 AM, btc909 wrote:

    If you want a RAM and you intend to hold onto it you better shop around online for a manufactures extended warranty BEFORE the 3yr. / 36K warranty runs out. Once the extended warranty is about to run out get rid of the truck.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2014, at 7:20 AM, sanny wrote:

    I sympathize deeply with those who are buying into Chrysler's and Motley Fool's hype. My Ram turbo diesel has had problems since day one. It overheats when I try go up an incline pulling any-thing. The transmission skips gears and often won' t shift at all. Chrysler and the dealer have been giving me the runaround and refusing to do anything about it.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2014, at 8:08 AM, Cody700 wrote:

    Yeah, GM and Ford both in trouble, I can tell. If RAM can sell just 162,000 more units in 6 MONTHS they can catch up to Ford. Why would Motley Fool write such an ignorant article? Everyone knows that Ford is selling the last year of its current model before the new one hit the market, and even GM, with a stagnant new model is still blasting RAM by nearly 40,000 units. RAM is not a threat to either of them.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2014, at 9:19 AM, jhov4 wrote:

    Huh? Ram is catching up? Please! Ford sold 733 thousand F150s in the first 2 quarters, and sales are down due to people waiting for the "aluminum" model of 2015. Ram sold 374 thousand trucks in the same time period after being "truck of the year". Ford F150 has been the best selling pick up for 32 years straight. It's not by accident. A good friend of mine switched from ford to dodge last spring. He saved 5 grand. He's been regretting it ever since. If the people who voted for the "truck of the year" drove a RAM for 6 months, they would change their mind. I would buy a Toyota before I would buy a Dodge.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2014, at 10:21 AM, DeeJP wrote:

    I like the look of the Ram truck, however while shopping for a new truck, the Ram came in third due to quality problems that I read about in consumer reports and on many truck blogs. Sure, Ford and Chevy had many complaints too, but Ram had by far the most complaints about the transmission, and just basic things breaking. I chose the Silverado. Even though at first like many people, thought it was not updated enough etc. I grew to like it. Now I think it's a very tough looking truck with a great interior. The quality is excellent. It just comes down to what people like. Ford is a great truck too, I just prefer the Chevy.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2014, at 6:01 PM, randSaver wrote:

    My long term investment in Ford is partly based on what the company can do in China and India as they build factories in those countries and gradually increase sales in that part of the world, as the middle class grows in those countries. And sales are growing in many other countries too. In recent years Ford has received good reviews on reliability with so many of its vehicles. It is my hope that their cars and trucks will eventually have the same kind of world wide reliability reputation that Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and others enjoy now.

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2014, at 1:17 PM, mds wrote:

    Catching up and winning are two different things.

    They will both run out of gas before passing Ford.

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Bret Kenwell

At The Motley Fool I cover consumer goods and industrial companies, and mainly the automakers. I am a long-term investor looking for companies with sustainable and above average growth. I also like to uncover value, dividend-paying companies. Follow me on Twitter @BretKenwell

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