Chevy-Versus-Ram Price War Punctuates Banner Year for Trucks

(Bloomberg) -- A tightening sales race in the lucrative full-size pickup segment had General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV spending on hefty incentives to close out a banner year for trucks and SUVs in the U.S. auto market.

  • Discounts on GM’s Chevrolet Silverado and Fiat Chrysler’s Ram trucks probably helped the industrywide selling rate reach 17.3 million, the average analysts’ estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. While that would be a bit slower than a year earlier, it may be enough to produce a sliver of unexpected annual growth for 2018.

Key Insights

  • Fiat Chrysler’s redesigned truck is giving the Chevy Silverado all it can handle. The Ram pickup -- the perennial No. 3 model line in the segment -- has outsold Silverado in several of the last few months, according to analysts who estimate GM’s results between the company’s quarterly releases. December figures will be released Thursday.
  • Last month, GM added about $1,000 to November deals on its top truck, which has also been redesigned. Ford’s F-Series pickup line, the oldest on the market, may have had the least cash on the hood and still remains No. 1 by a wide margin.
  • Strong sales of pickups and sport utility vehicles probably sent light trucks soaring to a record of almost 70 percent of the U.S. market last year. With the three Detroit automakers dropping many sedans, IHS Markit forecasts the light-truck mix will approach 75 percent in the next four years.

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Chevy-Versus-Ram Price War Punctuates Banner Year for Trucks
  • For the full year, U.S. auto sales will probably end up being in line with or a bit better than 2017’s 17.2 million. Most analysts expect that higher interest rates and record-high prices will make affordability an issue for some consumers and contribute to the market contracting in 2019.
Chevy-Versus-Ram Price War Punctuates Banner Year for Trucks

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