“Sales of the Ram pickup truck were up 7 percent in February; its 58th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.” - FCA US LLC press release, March 3, 2015.
What do 58 consecutive months of year-over-year U.S. sales improvement look like? This chart is one way of looking at it. Ever since May 2010, Ram P/U sales have been on the rise. Most recently, this translated to a 24% year-over-year increase in calendar year 2014, a 14% jump in January 2015, and a 7% improvement last month.
No high-volume vehicle has even approached the level of consistent growth achieved by the Ram P/U, America’s third-best-selling vehicle line. The Audi brand’s 50 consecutive months of year-over-year improvement and 19 consecutive months of monthly sales records is similar, powered by an expansion of its model range, greater interest in entry-level luxury, and steadily improving brand image. Indeed, the Ram P/U’s parent company, FCA (née Chrysler Group) has posted consecutive U.S. year-over-year sales increases in every month going back to April 2010.
Of course, part of the reason for the steady growth of the Ram truck line was its steady decline. Ram volume declined in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, tumbling 61% between 2003’s high of 449,371 sales and 2009’s 177,268-unit performance.
While it’s true that the truck market declined consistently during the same period, the class-leading Ford F-Series didn’t fall quite as hard, sliding 56% between 2004’s record high and 2009’s low point. Moreover, while the F-Series continues to be America’s top-selling truck and best-selling vehicle line overall, it hasn’t recovered to the same degree as the Ram: F-Series sales jumped 82% between 2009 and 2014 and even last year were still 20% off 2004’s pace.
Ram sales, meanwhile, jumped 148% between 2009 and 2014. Last year, the Ram P/U was only 9582 sales off its 2003 total.
And yet, even now, Ford’s overwhelming capacity and steady increases from the full-size GM twins keep the Ram at bay. In 2003, 18.8% of the full-size trucks sold in the United States were Rams. Over the last two months, that figure is only modestly higher at 20.1%.
This article also appeared this morning on The Truth About Cars.