According to many automotive retail experts, the month of May (2015) was a rough one for Ford Motor Company and its most important and profitable line, the F-150 pickup and its Super Duty counterparts. Sales for the full-size pickups were down 9.7-percent, even as sales for the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2015 Ram 1500 pickup posted notable gains. The Silverado experienced a sales increase of 10.6-percent over May of last year and Ram sales were up by 8-percent.
It seems that without resorting to significant incentives or heavy rebates, Chevrolet has stolen its increase in market share directly from Ford. This is evidenced by the synonymous increase in Ram pickup sales as the “top three” from Detroit are the only ones in the upper echelon. Overall, GM’s level of incentives and rebates as a percentage of transaction prices remains unchanged from May 2014. That should tally up as some outstanding gains in profit when second-quarter earnings are reported at the end of June.
GM Rolling Strong
The Chevrolet Silverado’s estimated retail segment share was 27 percent in May, according to J.D. Power PIN data, up 3 percentage points over last year. Calendar year to date, the truck’s retail segment share is 26 percent, up 1 percentage point. “Chevrolet has the hot hand in the pickup market thanks to our three-truck strategy,” said Kurt McNeil, General Motors’ U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. “Our market share is growing and our strategy is to retain these customers with the best overall ownership experience.”
In addition to the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup has been the top-selling pickup truck in the industry over the last four consecutive months. Demand for the newly redesigned midsize pickup is rising faster than GM’s ability to increase production – despite the addition of a third shift in March. The Colorado garnered about one-quarter of the new retail sales market for midsize pickup trucks in May, with 8,881-units delivered. Surprisingly, its “days-to-turn” is 13 days and its retail inventory time is projected at only 11-days.
Sales figures for Chevrolet crossovers are also up. Both the 2015 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2015 Chevrolet Traverse saw their best sales figures ever for the month of May. The all-new 2015 Chevrolet Trax is also making a mark, with 5,707 total units delivered.
Many GMC models also had their best month in years. Their trucks and crossovers are far outpacing the competition. The brand as a whole had their best May since 2005, with an increase of 12-percent over last May. The popular 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup is up 4-percent, the 2015 GMC Terrain is up 11-percent, the new 2015 GMC Acadia had its best month ever with an increase of 67-percent, and the 2015 GMC Canyon (twin of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado) sold 2,901-units. Annual sales figures are up by 15-percent over last year at this time for GMC.
Better Days Ahead for 2015 Ford F-150?
Sure, 2015 F-150 sales are down but not due to a lack of consumer interest. With new F-150 production just now getting close to “full-speed”, the sales issues have mostly come from restricted supply. Building a totally redesigned F-150, with aluminum body panels, means that Ford was faced with major changes in the factory production line. This translates into weeks of extra downtime and a ton of lost production. The fact is that Ford began the month of May with approximately half of its typical new F-150 inventory.
The good news for Ford is that the concept of supply and demand never changes. In other words, the 2015 Ford F-150 remains a hot-commodity despite declining sales figures. Since demand for the all-aluminum bodied pickup is still high, Ford has been able to squeeze truck buyers a bit harder than normal. The average transaction price for the F-150 in the month of May was up over $3,000 from a year ago; making the average sales price a col $43,000.
Photos courtesy of GM and Ford.