Yesterday I started The Morning Dump with a nod to the Chevy-Ford truck rivalry I grew up with in Texas. As if on cue, we’ve got data this morning proving that owners of those trucks are indeed committed to their brands. Ram owners? They’re as committed as a husband in a Loretta Lynn song.
What’s curious about all of this is that RAMs are actually great trucks. As are the Ford F-Series and Chevy trucks. Is there even a bad truck for sale in the United States? The Tundra has some quirks and the Titan is weird, but they’re fine. I haven’t actually driven a Titan in forever so I’d be curious. I guess I need to drive a Titan.
Today we talk trucks, and then we talk about electric vehicles, because America is becoming obsessed with both.
RAM Buyers Have That Wandering Eye
That graphic above, via auto industry forecasting/intelligence company S&P Global Mobility, tells the story of how loyal different segments of the half-ton truck market are. If you’re buying an F-Series, you’re probably going to keep buying an F-Series* (which is why it’s the most popular vehicle for sale in the United States). The same is largely true for Silverado owners.
Within those brands, it’s the full-size truck customers who are most loyal. Here’s the skinny from that same S&P Mobility report:
Ford brand loyalty for the 2022 calendar year was 58.6%. When the F-series models – the F-150, F-250 and F-350 – were stripped out, brand loyalty fell to 49.5%.
At the model level, owners of a Ford F-series showed 62.2% brand loyalty in 2021 and 59.7% in 2022. As the F-series is Ford’s best-selling nameplate, it pulled the overall brand loyalty figure upward by a whopping 9.1 percentage points in 2022.
Similarly, Chevrolet brand loyalty in 2022 was 56.3%. When the Silverado was removed, it fell to 47.9%. Silverado owners, while loyal, aren’t quite at the level of Ford owners. Make loyalty for all Silverado models in 2021 was 54.7%; in 2022, it rose to 55.4%.
And what about the RAM Ram? Not so much. Before the pandemic, loyalty to the Ram 1500 was about 47.3%. In 2022, that number fell to just 36%.
Some factors in play for all of these brands is, of course, availability. If you need a truck and one isn’t available, eventually you’re going to find a competitor or a different vehicle. This seems to have hurt RAM more than other truckmakers.
Perhaps the biggest problem for RAM is simply that it sits on its own. If you want a RAM you can get a Ram 1500 or a bigger, heavy-duty Ram. While RAM does offer many trim levels, their mix isn’t as strong as its competitors. If you’re a Ford customer, you can get a Baskin Robins of F-150 flavors, and a ton of heavy-duty options. God forbid you want a truck and don’t want an F-150, but even then, you can get a Ranger or a Maverick.
This report doesn’t say where all the RAM owners are going, other than to point out that the brand picked up a negligible number of F-150 conquests in 2022 and lost an even smaller amount to the Chevy Silverado. My guess? Wranglers, Gladiators, and Grand Cherokees.
*The caveat with all reports on full-sized trucks is that Ford reports all F-Series sales as “F-Series” and GM breaks out their trucks (for example, GMC Sierra isn’t included).
Ford CEO: Our EVs Are Going To Be Different
Ford’s CEO tried to assure investors yesterday that the company was going to focus on profitability and make that money, honey. Specifically, he told analysts that Ford’s EVs would compete in segments that BYD and Tesla aren’t focusing on at the moment.
Here’s the key exchange from Bloomberg, which I can’t help but quote liberally from because it’s extremely amusing. Basically, what’s going on here is that Farley is trying to convince skeptical analysts that Ford is positioned really well to sell a lot more EVs than it currently is. At least one analyst is not buying it.
“We don’t really see ourselves competing with Tesla and BYD in our second cycle of product,” the CEO said. “I don’t see how there’s a large-size, three-row crossover industry in their indigenous markets.”
Ford is going its own way to avoid creating EVs that could be “commoditised” by too much price competition, Farley said. Elon Musk’s Tesla has cut prices of its electric cars at least a half-dozen times this year as it seeks to retain dominance of the global EV market.
Farley’s comments were made in response to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who expressed scepticism that Ford could achieve its goal of an 8% return, before interest and taxes, on its EV business by the end of 2026. Ford sees it EV unit losing $3bn (roughly R57.8bn) this year.
Taking on Tesla and BYD “is a pretty easy way to destroy billions and billions of capital over a three- or four-year period”, Jonas said.
Mwhahahahahaha (my emphasis). First, Adam Jonas is an absolute killer. That’s rough. ROUGH! B
And the great Keith Naughton, who wrote the story, doesn’t hold back either, following up this little back-and-forth with a reminder that Cadillac just announced a three-row electric SUV in form of the Cadillac Escalade IQ.
You’ll have to read the Bloomberg piece for the kicker.
House GOP Wants EPA To Push Back Emissions Regs
As we previously wrote, the EPA’s proposed emissions restrictions are probably the strictest ever. The Inflation Reduction Act provided the carrot (in the form of tax credits), and the EPA is providing the stick.
Unsurprisingly, many (thought not all) Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives are not super DJ Jazzy Jeffed about this. You can read their whole letter here, if you’re curious. They make a few points:
- This is market manipulation designed to take EV adoption way up past current levels.
- EVs “would benefit only the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)” because of their dominance of lithium and cobalt processing.
- EVs are not affordable.
- EVs don’t really help the environment.
I’m not going to counter all of this, because I don’t want to get too political, but I’ll briefly address the obvious.
- Yes, indeed, it is manipulating the market to encourage people to buy EVs. That is the point.
- At the moment, this is fairly true, although companies are rushing to fix this precisely because of the laws recently passed and the economic opportunity they create.
- This is true. And GM is nixing their most affordable option.
- This is questionable, as it cherry-picks data from this testimony from a behavioral economist that points out that EVs are good for the environment but have mostly been second cars for rich people. Obviously, that’s changing.
This is all part of the game, of course, with politicians, environmentalists, and industry groups all working the refs to try and get accommodations.
The Mercedes-AMG SL Will Come With A Fourbanger
We wrote last year about the new Mercedes-AMG SL getting, as an option, a four-cylinder motor. This is a far cry from the sixes and eights of old, but it was only for those thrifty Europeans.
Alas, the four-cylinder is coming to the United States as well, all for the low-low price of $111,050 (before destination).
Carscoops provides some details this morning:
So what do you get (or not get) for your $109k? Most obviously you forgo the SL55’s 4.0-liter V8 for a 2.0-liter four, although that might not be as catastrophic as it sounds. For a start, the mild-hybrid SL43’s 375 hp (380 PS), while hardly epic, probably isn’t as far behind the SL55’s 469 hp (476 PS) as you might think (though it’s still weedier than the 2.0 C43 sedan), and the F1-derived electric turbocharger should help with the response. Plus, although the 43 won’t sound anywhere near as good and the 354 lb-ft (480 Nm) is way down on the 55’s 516 lb-ft (700 Nm), the little guy has a lot less weight to move.
That’s a lot of money for a four-cylinder, though I’m sure the average SL owner doesn’t even know what engine is in their car.
Here’s A Question:
Based on the last story there about the AMG, is that the most expensive four-cylinder car in the United States? Can you think of a more expensive one?
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Regarding Ford’s BEV strategy… I think coming out with BEVs in segments that don’t have any BEVs is a great idea. I think they should also come out with a new all electric Transit Connect 7 passenger minivan, among other vehicles.
Leases. Customers in $350 a month Ram truck leases ending, walking back into the dealer to trade in, and being offered the EXACT truck at a payment that is now $699. Last year our (small rural) store probably sold somewhere around 20 new Ram 1500’s a month. Right now, were lucky to find 10 takers a month. Im sure we’re not alone.
Flush: “Want a free aircooled?”
Yes, the type 2 gets to be my answer for the sketchiest car to drive and probably the most expensive 4 cylinder.
If politicians want to get rid of BS EPA Emissions laws then get rid of the Footprint rule first!
I am a former ’19 Ram 1500 owner. I’d still have it now but I outgrew it and needed a 3rd row, so I switched to a SUV.
From my standpoint there are a few reasons why brand loyalty might be lower for Ram. In no particular order:
-Ram doesn’t have as many models as, say, Ford. The F-Series contains 8 different models from the F-150 through the F-600, including chassis cabs and the Lightning, while Ram has 7, including the DS and chassis cabs. Take the DS out and you’re looking at 6 vs 8, with no counterpart to the Lightning.
-Ram has an ancient, and tiny, engine lineup. Both GM and Ford have more engines, and more attractive engines, to boot.
-Since launch in 2018, the biggest change to the Ram 1500 has been the buggy launch of UConnect 5…vs the substantial refreshes that both Ford and GM have done. While Ram still has the nicest interior of the bunch (at least at higher trim levels, can’t speak to the lower trims), it’s lagging nearly everywhere else.
-There are far, far more GM and Ford purists than Ram purists.
-Price increases–if memory serves, when I ordered my almost completely loaded truck in 2018, MSRP was around $64k. MSRP for an identically optioned ’23 is $78k. No clue if that extends down the trim lineup, but $14k in inflation over just 5 years would certainly encourage me to look for other truck options.
-Quality may or may not be subjective amongst the big 3, as when I was on the truck market all 3 were more or less equally prone to (different) failures. For a single point of data, my truck was pretty much flawless for the 3.5 years I had it barring a proclivity for the tires to vacuum up nails and screws (seriously, I had more nail/screw flats with the truck in just 3.5 years than I’ve had in the rest of my car driving history put together!)
I’ve stated this elsewhere but I’ve loved my 22 Ram 1500. It’s been flawless for the year that I’ve owned it. That probably just jinxed me so I hope I continue to be problem free. I don’t know if I’ll keep it the full 5 year loan term but I might. 0% interest is good even though the payment is steep. My 09 Sierra started having bigger issues over a year ago so I started looking for something new and I actually wanted a F-150 Powerboost but I couldn’t find one that wasn’t $75,000+. Opted for the E-Torque Ram instead. I would have liked to try the Silverado 1500 Duramax but Silverados are hideous and the added cost of the engine didn’t make sense with the cost of Diesel. I’ll look again for a Powerboost or possibly an I-Force Max Tundra on my next choice but I don’t expect the pricing to be any better. I might even go the mid-size route.
Are we just gonna skip over the dog that is completely booking it next to the car? I mean it is just going flat out. Don’t care about RAM trucks and whatnot, what’s the story on the dog?
I believe Torch used that image as a Cold Start at some point. His take was that the dog was flying while levitating the car on it’s back. Or something Torcy like that. If it didn’t happen 20+ years ago or an hour ago I probably have a very bad recollection of it.
You know, I didn’t even notice the dog, but now that I do, I can’t unsee how similar it is to the Mustang logo. The leg and tail placement is identical, and the head isn’t far off!
Not to throw out any wild conspiracy theories, but this is probably some Easter egg hinting at a bigger story. Is China going to start making Mustang clones? Maybe Ford is taking on Subaru to dethrone them as man’s best friend’s best car? Perhaps there’s going to be a smaller Mustang called the Collie, a la the Ranger and Maverick.
Matt and Torch, we need answers.
It’s a Collie, that’s kinda their thing.
They like to chase cars and nip at tires.
I’ve heard those diesel Nissans are trash but that’s about the extent of a “bad truck” i can think of in the US.
“If you’re a Ford customer, you can get a Baskin Robins of F-150 flavors”
Anything except vanilla.
How about French Vanilla then?
I’m hardly a member of the “4 cylinders suck!” crowd. I think it’s a reductive and bad take that’s really dated at this point. There are some incredible and characterful 4 poppers out there. Obviously I won’t pass up an opportunity to hype up the powertrain in the Ns, but there are some other great ones out there too. Even though it sounds like a 3-4 angry bees quietly protesting in a tin can, the CTR’s 4 cylinder is amazing.
The general consensus is that the updated WRX engine is a treat, while it’s pretty much at constant risk of exploding the EA888 variants have absolutely massive tuning potential and are gut punchers off the line, and the 2 liter BMW uses is way better than it gets credit for. I’ve driven a pretty base 330i and was shocked at how engaging it was.
However…these Mercedes engines are a disaster waiting to happen and I would never, under any circumstances, drop friggin six figures on a turbo 4 banger. At the end of the day they’re pretty much never the ideal performance solution…they’ve always been a size, efficiency, and emissions related compromise. If you take all of that off the table and say “build the best engine you can for performance and longevity” engineers would probably give you a naturally aspirated V8 every single time…and I say that as someone who dailies hot hatches. It just is what it is.
Mercedes is pretty much standardizing this 2 liter 4 cylinder across performance cars right now and it makes around 400 horsepower in all of them. I know that turbo technology has come a long way but would you actually trust the Germans of all people to mass produce a 200 horsepower per liter forced induction engine that lasts past warranty…or hell, even to it? Absolutely not. I’ve dabbled with the idea of assorted AMG and AMG lites over the last few years but I am not going to touch anything with this engine and I’m especially not going to touch anything with this engine AND electrification.
The new C63 is going to absolutely live in the service bay…and all of this stuff is going to depreciate like lead balloons….and it leaves me with the same question every single time: are we REALLY making a positive environmental impact if our solutions to reducing carbon emissions will only last a couple of years before being obsolete? Yeah, a big honkin V8 emits more and gets worse fuel economy but in the long run is it really worse than owning 2 high strung 4 cylinders over that same period? That’s a genuine question, not snark.
Once you crest the $50,000 mark 4 cylinders are a hard sell. Really the only exception I can think of is the 718, and it’s pretty much accepted at this point that the powertrains aren’t the strength of that car until you get to the flat 6s. In fact a kitted to the moon 718 S would probably be the most expensive 4 cylinder in the American market right now and maybe even once this Benz drops. With how absurd Porsche’s options are I’m sure you can have one of those well past 100k no problem. Hell…we had an article here about how you can equip a base Macan up to 90 grand or something like that. The answer is almost certainly a Porsche.
The Ariel Atom, BAC Mono, Caterham 7 & Dalara Stradale have different opinions.
In these cases, lightweight is the performance option
Considering how slow the Lyriq rollout is, Ford is likely going to get a huge runway to establish its three-row EV SUV. Pricing will likely play a major factor in all of this. If I’m a middle-class family, you’re cross-shopping a perfectly fine $35k MSRP Kia Telluride with a $60k Ford Explorer-type EV and an $80k Cadillac IQ? Huge profit margins are nice but considering how expensive the shift to electric is for automakers, there have to be volume sales too, right?
The most expensive four-cylinder car available in the United States is not a Mercedes-AMG SL.
It’s a Koenigsegg Gemera with a single-cylinder scooter engine tossed into the trunk.
Nah… it has a very interesting 2L 3cyl engine… and it has no camshaft.
I can think of a few reasons RAM buyers are less loyal. My neighbor bought a loaded RAM truck last fall. It spent the last 5 months at the dealer, waiting for parts to fix a problem that was causing it to stall unexpectedly. He got it back last week with strict orders to park it outside and away from his house because it could potentially catch fire, even when parked and turned off. The fire risk is part of a recall campaign and the parts needed to prevent it from catching fire are in short supply, with each dealer allowed to fix 1 (ONE) truck per week affected by the recall. He’s currently 14th on the dealer wait list to get that recall completed — again, after 5 months without the truck already The day that recall is fixed he’s sworn to drive from the RAM dealer to the nearest Chevy dealer to trade his truck for a new Silverado.
I tend to agree. I like my 2021 RAM, but it’s been more trouble prone than any vehicle that I’ve had in the last 20 years or so. Nothing has been a major problem, but it’s stupid little things, and I just hate taking things to a dealer, because it’s a time suck. And there always seem to be recalls to deal with. Right now I’m waiting for an appointment to do a software update for a recall, deal with a noise from the front end when I turn right (supposed to be a software update thing too), and replace a gasket around the sunroof that got torn when the sunroof snagged on it when opening. I also fully expect to have to replace cracked exhaust manifolds before the warranty is up, because they all crack.
A guy at work bought one and it would not go into gear like a week later. The dealer said to bring it in and he told them to come and get it, since it wasn’t drivable. They didn’t believe him until they tried to pick it up by dropping someone off to drive it to the dealership.
I assumed that was a one-off, but it seems I was wrong about that.
I have a 22 and it’s been flawless in the year that I’ve owned it. I probably just screwed myself just saying that but I’ve been really happy with mine.
I’m not sure RAM’s unique there. Not quite as bad, but my Volt spent 6 months in the shop last year waiting for a part. The CPO warranty includes a loaner vehicle, but GM just decided to not do that part. You can rent one yourself and front the 6 months, and maybe at the end of it they’ll reimburse you for some of it. Called corporate and they wouldn’t even admit they offer a CPO program.
As someone who comes from a Mopar family, I can assure you that this phenomenon is not exclusive to trucks. Being a Mopar fanboy always comes with a touch of self-doubt.
I’m in the midwest, and the ONLY truck I’d consider would be an F150 purely because of the aluminum body panels. It is so common here to see rotted out trucks, I’m not sure if it’s because they just rust faster than cars, or the owners don’t clean them, but man I swear I’ve seen rotted out 2015-17 models already, and they’re not even a decade old! Once that happens, your resale value tanks.
I’m surprised Ford isn’t further ahead based PURELY on this aspect alone.
This is exactly my stance on it too, and I’m amazed Ford doesn’t just run ads of nothing but steel panels vs aluminum panels after a decade in salt.
I’m also amazed GM and Ram seem to have no plans to follow suit. I wouldn’t buy a truck from them until they do.
Super, super bummed the new ranger isn’t aluminum. Was interested in maybe having a new vehicle for once, but …. yeah nope. Not happening with a steel bodied car here.
Yes, because you need to understand who Ram buyers are. And 99% of people – including journalists – actually don’t.
Go look at the Chevy Silverado. The cheapest one on the lot these days is allegedly $36,300 but it’s actually more than $39,000. And extremely expensive to repair because of overcomplicated parts everywhere. The F150’s even worse.
The Ram 1500 classic is $32,000 including freight charges. It still has composite headlights; no expensive fragile LEDs or expensive HIDs, it doesn’t have seven thousand sensors in the front bumper, and it uses the same parts it has for a decade. Which makes it cheap to insure. In other words, it’s the cheapest and most durable work truck on the market, by a county mile.
And you better believe they sell a whole lot of those to repeat customers. Because those customers are small businesses who can’t afford a $50,000+ truck, and large businesses with a stock of parts they’ve been amassing since 2012.
Then there’s the big Ram buyers. Know why they buy Rams? Because GM and Ford don’t have a competitor. If you need a chassis cab for your upfitter of choice, GM and Ford make you jump through a bunch of hoops. Ram? It’s right there on the lot, today. They also don’t have any competition in terms of capacity; the Ram 5500 chassis cab with 6.7 Cummins is rated for a 43,000lbs GCWR – slightly over half a Class 8 semi. The 6.4 is no slouch either, at 28,500lbs GCWR.
Ford and GM have nothing there. The biggest Silverado HD you can buy has a maximum 40,000lbs GCWR but a trailer limit of 31,340lbs and in 2WD base trim costs over $60,000. Ford makes you jump through hoops and commit to buy a whole fleet to get chassis cab, makes you buy from an upfitter without Ford’s warranty, or puts you in a $70,000+ F450.
Ram, no joke, you just walk in and buy a chassis. Or a 3500 Tradesman with the 6.7 at $58k including freight – thousands less than GM or Ford.
That’s why availability hurts them so much. If they have commercial trucks, they have commercial buyers lined up around the block. The core Ram buyer is someone who actually needs a truck to do truck things and is shopping on price or capability. (Remember, when the 5.9 Cummins first came out, neither GM or Ford had anything half as capable. Just a big gap between half ton and Class 6.) And sure, they’re happy to sell high margin stupid trims and silly ‘limited editions.’ But that’s the core, and why availability hurts them so much.
Weird, wasn’t this the same guy who not one quarter ago who was reassuring investors that Ford was going to focus on fixing their quality, which was dragging badly on their profitability and reputation?
Must’ve been some other CEO of Ford, right?
Uh, excuse you?
Adjusted for inflation, the BMW 740e xDrive with the turbo 4 is $114,901.71 base price adjusted for profiteering. The 2017 Volvo XC90 T8 was $105,895 new and a staggering $133,848.70 adjusted for profiteering. A $90,000 2017 Porsche Cayman S (trust me, you could easily spec into the 90’s) would be $113,000+ adjusted.
Maybe it depends on where you are. Here in the Midwest all the dealers tend to have a variety of trucks on-hand, from stripper work trucks, to lux trucks, to true commercial-grade work trucks. They know that sometimes customers need a vehicle that day, and anything available is better than something that isn’t. Ford, Ram, GM, they all have a variety. Not as much as it was 10 or 20 years ago, but that’s the market.
As for competition, I dunno where you get your delusions that the segment isn’t competitive, but just for giggles I went to Ford’s website (it’s easiest to navigate), and an F-600 (just because it’s the highest number) chassis cab has up to a 43,500 GCWR, towing up to 34,900lbs, and payload up to 15,090lbs (and, yes, I know that usually max payload and towing tend to be exclusive of each other, because physics, and the towing figures are for the 6.7L HO PowerStroke, and payload figures for the 7.3L gas; all three makers tend to do this for the usual numbers-game pissing match).
Anecdotally, one of our tow vendors already has a new 2023 F-550 rig in service, and he’s gradually replacing his Ram fleet because of how his dealer was treating him. No goofy hoops to jump through with the new truck, no secret handshake, just pick truck, order, pay, receive, done. He also got it faster because it was coming from the factory here in the Midwest instead of Mexico like the Rams.
Looking at Ford’s website (since I’m there already) there are 88 2023 chassis cabs available within 5 miles of me in various configurations and trims.
I can’t speak for GM (nor are they worth the effort, to me) but I imagine they have to be somewhat similar. They – like Ford – also offer medium-duty trucks (F-650, F-750, Silverado 4500 & 5500, though admittedly they’re Navistar vehicles rather than being closely related to the conventional GM 1500-3500 vehicles) with the semi-like tall bodies and configurations, whereas Ram merely has the pickup-based trucks and chassis cabs. Yeah, height doesn’t mean more capability, but it makes Ram look less competitive, not moreso.
I think you can option up a Porsche Boxter S 718 up to over the cost of the 4cyl Mercedes.
I was going to suggest that. Otherwise, the Jaguar C-X75 is also more expensive, but never really became a production car.
My favorite part of today’s edition was the legend on the graph showing the trend line for the “RAM RAM.”
I’m surprised Toyota and even Nissan trucks aren’t more popular, given how they’re so much better than anything from Detroit.
Toyota makes the best cars and trucks 🙂
Chrysler has always had kwalitee problems
The sheer number of old domestic trucks still on the road, even compared to similar vintage Japanese sedans that sold in high numbers, would seem to argue against you.
I’ll usually see a dozen GMT400s before I see a single 90s Camry or Accord anymore.
I think there are a TON of factors inside that statement that have nothing to do with basic quality. Passion vs appliance. Willingness to keep a POS, because you only use the truck for truck stuff sometimes, but the appliance car is used all the time and must be nicer. Ease of repair. I’m sure there are others.
The Tundra is the most mechanically reliable and cheapest to own of all the truck V8s. I work in an industry with substantial access to current repair costs, frequency, type of repair data, nationwide in the US. But, the Tundra is also only a half ton, so the comparison is limited. And that only speaks to mechanical reliablity. There seems to a certain je ne sais quoi about the american truck market that the Japanese brands have never really gotten.
I was much more incredulous about the Nissan being mentioned than the Toyota. Even so, “more reliable” != “better”.
As for your other point, yes of course it’s not as simple as counting cars vs trucks, but much the same story can be told from those lists of vehicles that reach 250,000 miles or whatever. Domestic trucks are well represented (alongside Toyota).
I worked in oil and gas and our fleet manager sat in the cube down the hall from me. He pushed to get a trial order of Tundra’s vs the 200+ F150s and Silverados we had back in 2016ish. The Tundra’s ended up being way more expensive because their incrementally better reliability could not make up for their hugely worse fuel economy, higher initial purchase price, and crappy Toyota service. When a guy smashes up the box or takes an access road way too fast and ruins the front end suspension and it needs to get fixed, Ford and GM will have you back on the road pretty dang quick; Toyota takes comparatively ages so you’re down a truck substantially longer. A couple additional days of unplanned lost revenue is difficult to overcome cost wise. Resale also didn’t really matter because after 200k miles being a service truck running out to rigs, there really isn’t much truck left and all are pretty equally valueless at that point.
Hiluxes are good enough for African warlords. They are good enough for the rest of us.
Interestingly, I tend to think I have a different list of priorities in my truck buying than African warlords.
They’re also not sold in the US. We get the half-baked Tundra or the generally underwhelming Tacoma (although it sounds like the new one might fix a lot of the chronic problems with those). Neither of those are slam dunk options.
I don’t see how they’re better. American trucks are huge cash cows and you can tell. Updates every two years, continually improving numbers. By comparison, Japanese trucks look like an afterthought. Older stuff, while more reliable, was worse power, torque, mpg, features. These are significant areas that customers shop for.
Easy. Because, typically, RAM buyers are typically value buyers.
Reference: people I know, including friends and relatives.
Yeah, Mopar used to be the purchase you made to save some money. As they’ve increased in price, people have jumped to whatever gives the best value and serves their needs.
See my comment above. It’s not simply value. It’s value + capability.
Most Ram buyers came over in the first place because they needed a truck to do truck things, and neither GM or Ford offered anything that could match. And they’ve stuck to that. Ram offers more capability for less money, which is especially attractive to commercial buyers.
But it’s also their weak point. If they don’t have supply, contractors and construction companies can’t just wait for trucks.
I just checked it out. I agree with your points. Yours is a more fleshed out, eloquent elaboration of my abbreviated comment. 😉
Admittedly, I forgot about the Classic, which does offer an excellent value for capability if you can find one. You’re right that the Ram buyer usually needs a capable truck now, and they need the best value they can find. If the Classic’s not out there, then they’ll look at whatever best suits their needs. I’ve noticed a lot more Titans and Frontiers as fleet vehicles lately, depending on needs (obviously neither one will serve everyone), and I think it’s because they are cheap enough, capable enough, and, like you emphasize, available.
Yep, and that’s exactly the problem the dealers are having. My local has all kinds of lease deals on the consumer crap (Big Horn, Lone Star, Rebel, etc.) They’re moving ridiculous volume at $4k down, $499 a month.
But 1500 Tradesmans (~$42-48k)? It’s the closest thing they can get to the Classic (has the updated front end,) and nobody can keep them on the lot. Same for the big Promaster. I know someone with a fairly big general contractor, and their entire fleet is FCAtlantis. Or was. Rams and Promasters. But they’ve had so much trouble getting replacements, as vans go permanently down, they’re having to try and patch whatever used rotted out junk they can find into halfway functional shape.
And they have no idea what they’re going to do, because Promaster is the only option. Sprinter’s dead and Transit doesn’t work for them (they buy all high-roof, LWBs.)
I suspect the reason Ram’s loyalty is lower is because by comparison they are more or less a new entrant to the field.
Yes Dodge has made trucks forever, but until the ’94 Ram jump started sales, they were basically where Toyota and Nissan sit today. Most Ram owners probably haven’t bought more than a couple. Meanwhile, plenty of old guys/families have bought nothing but Ford and GM for literally decades.
Also, I can’t think of a more expensive 4 cylinder, but shout out to the $150,000 3 cylinder i8. RIP
I suspect that the move from Dodge being the budget truck to starting a little higher than the F150 also hurt them. People used to buy Mopar to save money.
Not only that, but Ram has the oldest product with the least new features added over the years since its overhaul 4+ years ago. With exception of the TRX, there really hasn’t been much new about the 1500 since 2019. No new engines (less actually since the EcoDiesel died and mild hybrid is now mandatory on the hemi), no notable new options/features, not a ton of changes to the trims. Ford and GM on the other hand have done all new models as well as mid cycle refreshes, added completely new trims, new tech and options, have better/newer/more engines to pick from, tried new things like hybrids or full EV. I don’t blame them for looking else where. Ram is kind of stagnating in a ultra-competitive segment. Hell, why haven’t they thrown the new Hurricane I6 in the Ram yet?
Don’t forget, Rams of that era are notorious for eating transmissions, and later ones are still affiliated with the chystler/fiat reputation. It wasn’t until the interiors got fancy and they ditched leaf springs that their popularity started exploding. I know they are supposed to be pretty good now, but in my mind, buying a Chystler will always be a bit like buying a time share-just don’t do it son.
Trucks build loyalty with people who actually do truck stuff because it often requires beating on them in situations where failures would be bad-towing heavy loads up a massive mountain, getting down beat up hunting trails, overloading the bed, etc. That builds a connection. If a kid grows up in an f150 that takes 20 years of abuse like a champ, they won’t care about the size of the rams touch screen, they’ll go buy the same damn truck. The new rams haven’t had enough time to build that kind of following.
Ram sales quadrupled between 1993 and 1996.
I agree with you that they had quality issues in the 90s and beyond, but they started selling as soon as the big rig styling appeared.
I stand corrected-anecdotally, I don’t recall seeing as many until 10 years ago, and could have sworn I read something recently about their sales steadily building since the rebrand. Serves me right for not double checking.
I will say though that makes reliability issues on the older trucks even more problematic, because you just don’t see many of those 94 vintage trucks anymore. Plenty of 90s f150s and gmt400s rolling around here though.
Yeah, rustproofing was maybe not Chrysler’s strong suit either.
In the Midwest at least, the only 90s Rams left are HD Cummins, and those usually have visible holes in the body by now.
It’s been ages since I’ve seen a clean 1500.
Yep, there were a ton of 90’s Rams on the road here in the northeast when I was a kid. They all rotted out. You still see the occasional F-150 and GM from that era, but I can’t tell you the last time I saw a Ram.
Everything turns to dust up here eventually.
My first Ram was a 2015 on lease. Got a smoking deal because it was awhile since the refresh and they were motivated. 28,500 trouble free miles . I LOVED that truck .Turned it in and got a 2019 in November 2018 . 1500 Laramie ” level 2 ” Crew Cab ,leather,sunroof, 19 speakers , heated , cooled fronts , heated rears. I LOVE this one as well. 44, 700 miles . I loved it so much i bought it when the lease ran out . It’s my daily driver and our road trip vehicle of choice .