Silverado, Ram Switch Places Again in Pickup Sales Rankings

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One month after a surprise shift in the second- and third-place ranking of pickup truck sales, General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Silverado recaptured the unit sales lead in October from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s (NYSE: FCAU) Ram pickups. Perennial leader Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) has delayed its October sales report due to fire last week at the company’s headquarters building in Detroit.

For the month of October, Silverado sales dipped 3.6% year over year to 49,768 units, and GMC Sierra sales dropped 18.7% to 15,050 units. Ram sales increased 7% year over year in October to 43,891 units, but that was not enough to remain ahead of GM. In September, Ram sold 47,792 units, compared with 45,380 Silverado pickups.

Month over month, Silverado sales rose to 49,768 units in October, and Ram sales slipped to 43,891 for the month.

October buyer incentives remained high, but were a bit lower than September incentives: down 1% at FCA and 4.6% at GM. TrueCar estimated that Ford increased its October incentives by 30% year over year, although that was 1.1% below the September incentives.

The increased incentives in September could have caused whatever pent-up demand there was for pickups to exhaust itself by the time October rolled around. It will be interesting to see how the Detroit Three apply incentives in November, not a traditionally high sales month. If dealer lots have moved most of the 2016 models, incentives should drop. If not, more price reductions could surface.

Brad Korner, general manager for AIS Rebates, noted:

In general, significant incentives spending continued in October with much of the focus again being on pickup trucks.  Beefy incentives prompted the Ram 1500 sales to surpass Chevrolet Silverado in September; to deny a repeat performance, Chevrolet added some hefty rebates on some Silverado models in October.  Meantime, Ford held generally steady in F-150 incentives.

The other full-size pickups on offer in the United States are the Tundra from Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and the Nissan Titan. Tundra’s sales totaled 9,533 in October (up just 0.2% year over year). The Titan sold 3,181 units in October, up a whopping 261% compared with October 2015.

Toyota’s midsize Tacoma pickup sold 15,875 units in October, holding its place as the leader in this space. Sales of GM’s midsize Colorado pickup rose 49.9% to 10,578 units, and sales of the GMC Canyon rose 15.3% to 2,785 in October. Nissan’s midsize Frontier pickup sold 6,364 units in October, up 34% year over year. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) sold 3,371 units of its all-new Ridgeline midsize pickup, up from none in October of 2015.

We’ll update market share data when Ford releases October sales data later this week.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales is forecast by Edmunds to come in at 17.8 million for October, down from 18.2 million in October 2015. Even so, the October SAAR is among the best of the year.

TrueCar reported that the average incentive from all carmakers in October rose 16% year over year to $3,587. Among the Detroit Three, GM led with an average incentive of $4,417 (up 14%), with Ford at $4,404 (up 30%) and FCA at $4,388 (up 23%).