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Here's How Many New Ranger Trucks Ford Needs To Sell To Retake The Lead In Pickup Truck Sales (It's Less Than You Think)

General Motors sells more pickup trucks than Ford does. The reason is that Ford does not have any midsize trucks for sale right now. That is about to change. Here's how many Ford Rangers will tip the balance.

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Although Ford sells more F-150 trucks than GM sells Silverado and Sierras, GM sells more pickup trucks to more buyers than Ford does. The reason is simple; Ford made a massive error in judgment when it discontinued the Ranger. The midsize truck market has exploded and every manufacturer with a midsize pickup on the market today can sell as many as they can push out the door.

GM is the second leading producer of these types of pickups and that volume means GM has sold more pickups than Ford has in the first half of 2018. Through July 1st, GM sold a total of 478,671 pickup trucks. Up significantly from 2017. In the first half of 2018, GM sold 51,389 more pickups than it did in the first half of 2017. By contrast, Ford sold 451,138 pickups in the first half of this year, up 21,278 from the first half of last year. GM sold more pickups and its rate of growth in pickups is faster. But that will soon change.

The new Ford Ranger is coming in the early part of 2019. Ford is a big-boy automaker and its sales will ramp sharply once the truck is released. As the Ranger sales pile up, Ford's second place to GM in pickup truck sales will move to parity and then Ford will take the lead.

By our calculations, Ford will need to produce about 70,000 Rangers in 2019 in order to finish the year ahead of GM. That guestimate includes a bit of sales growth by GM and also counts on the Ranger not hurting F-Series sales. Past sales at GM have proven that the midsize trucks don't have a parasitic effect on full-size truck sales, particularly in a growth market.

Since Ford will likely miss most of Q1 and will need a couple months to ramp sales, Ford will need to average about 10,000 new Ranger pickups per month from about April through December. Which it will easily do.

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Steve McCormick (not verified)    July 10, 2018 - 10:33PM

I'm a Ford guy so my comments are not because I prefer brand X. Ford chose to quit building the Ranger just as that segment exploded. Ford now is sure the 4 cylinder , not a V/6 , is what they should build. ....Why am I starting to think Ford is not paying attention to the people that buy their product?

John Goreham    July 11, 2018 - 10:19AM

In reply to by Steve McCormick (not verified)

Excellent point. It will be very interesting to see how that I4 performs vs a V6. Just to take Ford's side for a moment, the switch to the 3.5-liter Ecoboost in large trucks has not hurt Ford's sales (despite tons of negative commentary). My theory is that Ford will sell every Ranger it can make in years one and two after launch and that after that a "premium" engine will be added. Plus perhaps a "base" engine. I reached out to Ford directly to ask if this might be the plan and they declined to acknowledge my question.