Every month we report the sales performance on every pickup you can buy in the US, and every month we come up against the same frustration: all three major manufacturers report their sales deceptively. I want that to change, and so should you.
Ford, GM, and Ram all make several distinctly different models of trucks, yet each brand lumps their entire pickup lineup together in sales reports. This makes comparing truck sales across brands a muddy and imprecise business, which is annoying to the research-conducting consumer.
Ford's F-150, F-250, F-350, and for 2015; F-450 pickup, are all wrapped up as "F-Series" sales. GM does the same with the half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-ton versions of their Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. Chrysler's no more innocent; Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500s are all counted as "Ram P/U."
It's not like those are different trim levels of the same truck. Sure, they look similar (sometimes exactly the same) but they're distinctly different vehicles with different frames, powertrains, (parts of) interiors, and accessories. Each company's marketing department will tell you they're purchased by "entirely different customers for different purposes" and they're right about that. So what gives with the convoluted categorization?
Not everyone gets fired up about sales figures when they're in the market for a new truck... but I take issue with this misleading reporting when manufacturers put stock in sales claims in advertising.
Ford loves to remind us F-Series is "America's Best Selling Truck For 37 Years." That is "sort of true" at best unless they say best selling "trucks." Otherwise it's no different than Mercedes saying the C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class are "the best selling car" (obviously just an example for illustrative purposes). That does not. Make. Sense.
Not saying every automaker needs to start dividing their sales reports by trim level (although that would be great and fascinating to see) but the Big Three needs to break out their trucks by model, by capacity-class, for us to have a remotely accurate idea of what their sales look like... and a reasonable ground for "best selling" claims to stand on.
Images: Andrew P. Collins, graphics from schmilblick/Flickr, Ford