The battle for the top of the heap in the full-size truck segment has suddenly grown quite interesting. With numbers skewed from financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, first-quarter sales for 2020 were released and General Motors has dethroned Ram from second place in the full-size truck category and also made significant gains on Ford’s F-150.
The F-150 remains the top-selling nameplate in America (barely) with Ford’s full-size trucks showing a 13.1 percent drop in year-over-year sales. Comparatively, sales for the Chevy Silverado were up 26.6 percent from the same period last year and sales of the GMC Sierra were up even more with a 30.7 percent increase. Even Ram saw a 7 percent increase in their sales year-over-year.
That leaves Ford as the big loser in this oh-so-important segment. Of course, it’s hard to tell how much of this was due to the coronavirus pandemic or what other factors were involved. Ford claims “the decline is explained by the timing of our fleet sales and weaker retail sales in March due to coronavirus.”
Ford claims stock levels are well-positioned at the end of the first quarter despite plant closures. In a statement, Ford said, “Ford’s overall inventory levels remain in good shape during a period of production downtime and lower industry sales. Overall days’ supply at Ford stands at 100 days at the end of March.”
First Quarter Truck Sales Numbers For 2020
The F-Series maintained its overall lead, but if you combined GM’s two trucks, they outsold the F-Series for Q1 this year. Here are the numbers:
Ford F-Series: 186,562 (down 13.1 percent year over year)
Chevrolet Silverado: 144,734 (up 26.6 percent year over year)
Ram 1500: 128,805 (up 7 percent year over year)
GMC Sierra: 53,009 (up 30.7 percent year over year)
Combining the Silverado and Sierra means GM sold 197,743 full-size truck units.
Monthly sales numbers are no longer made available, but this dramatic increase can likely be chalked up to GM having an aggressive sales incentive program to kick off 2020, while Ford did not.
Sales Incentives Abound For Ford Trucks
Industry-wide, too offset the effects of the corona pandemic, car dealers and automakers have offered aggressive financing options. I reported on Ford’s Helping Hand program which offers 84-month interest-free financing and up to six months of deferred payments.
Programs like this are essential right now to spur some consumer confidence. The one trend spotted from the release of the Q1 sales figures is that the truck market is stronger and healthier than the car market. Down the board losses and drops in sales of cars across almost all car manufacturers point toward a trend we already knew.
The future of the auto industry is in trucks, SUVs, and crossovers.
Likewise, a nationwide drop in fuel costs will only spur on this trend further. Driving up sales of bigger, family-friendly SUVs. Even in a corona economy, deals can be had at car dealers, especially on trucks.
And as I reported, many car dealers throughout the country have implemented social distancing policies to help the buying process. Ford said: “Ford and Lincoln dealers are also responding to the crisis with countless acts of community support, hygienic cleaning processes and innovative sales and service processes to safeguard employees and customers, including remote sales and pick-up and delivery services.”
We are in strange and historic times indeed. And despite these numbers, I don’t believe Ford will lose their grip on the top spot once this crazy year is over and done with. Plus, Ford has a bright future with many new and exciting vehicles coming including the 14th-generation 2021 F-150 which includes for the first time ever a hybrid version and also two variants of the Ford Bronco.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.