Tundra Could Overtake Ram Sales in 2010

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Last week PickupTrucks.com published an excellent break-down of 2010 pickup truck sales through the first four months of 2010. While there are a lot of interesting takeaways, the one that jumps out at us is the fact that the Tundra could outsell the Ram in 2010. To be clear, knocking off the Ram is still only good enough for 3rd place…and close is a relative term (Toyota is still about 3,000 units short). Here are the numbers:

2010 Sales Through April
Ram 1500 32,058
Tundra 29,106

Does this mean anything? Not really. Depending on how you look at it, it can be a positive:

  • The Tundra is gaining ground on the Ram 1500.

or a negative:

  • Toyota has been aggressively incentivizing Tundra sales (along with everything else), and despite that fact they still can’t surpass the sales of the the Ram 1500.

Either way, sales figures really don’t mean anything.

Sales Figures Are Fools Gold

Ford and GM sell nearly 3 times as many half-tons as Toyota and Chrysler-Fiat…does that mean they’re 3 times better? Not a chance. Here’s what drives sales:

1. Brand loyalty. Toyota has found out the hard way that no matter how good your truck may be, some people refuse to switch brands. Ditto for Chrysler-Fiat and Nissan. How many times do we read a comment here on TundraHeadquarters.com from a Ford or GM loyalist who brags about how many generations in their family have owned Ford or GM trucks. Is that a rationale basis for buying anything? Not really…but I can certainly appreciate it.

2. A large number of dealerships, including rural locations. Dealers sell vehicles – the more dealers you have, the more vehicles you sell. Toyota has 1,200 dealers, Ford and GM have about 5000…each. All of these dealers are busy running TV and radio ads and doing anything and everything to move some iron…and that’s a sales advantage.

You also have to consider rural locations when you look at pickup truck sales. There’s no getting around the fact that Nissan, Toyota, and to a lesser degree Chrysler-Fiat don’t have a lot of dealers in small towns that are dominated by truck buyers. Ford and GM, on the other hand, have thousands of rural dealerships between them. While it’s true that rural dealership sales account for a small percentage of the total, I think they’re under-reported because rural buyers tend to “go to town” to buy their pickups, but they only buy brands they can have serviced locally.

Large numbers of dealerships (including rural dealers) drive pickup sales in a big way.

3. Fleet business. Ford and GM sell the most trucks in North America year after year, and arguably their products aren’t much better than any other product. However, both companies have a strong fleet business…and fleet business drives sales because:

  • When Company X starts a truck fleet, they try and stick with the same brand to reduce complexity. Big fleets can get away with owning different makes, but small and medium sized fleets tend to stick to one brand because it makes maintenance and repairs easier.
  • The employees at Company X tend to fall in love with whatever brand the fleet is composed of. When these employees go to buy a personal vehicle, they often buy the same brand they drive at work.
  • Fleet sales allow for incredible economies of scale. In the world of manufacturing, the cost-per-part is lower when you buy higher volumes. Buy 10,000 steering wheels and your price might be $14 each. Buy, 500,000, and the price might be $7. Obviously, lower costs per part mean lower prices and/or bigger sales incentives.

Ford and GM fans will tell you that their trucks sell better than Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, etc., because they’re better quality…but that’s simply not true. If quality were the only consideration people made before buying a pickup, they would buy whatever model got the best rating from Edmunds, JD Power, Consumer Reports, etc. For most of the last decade, that brand hasn’t been GM or Ford.

Instead, the factors that drive high sales volumes are complicated. Brand loyalty, geography, cost, and familiarity are all in the mix.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Anonymous says:

    This article is laughable. Keep the spin jobs coming. What else should we expect from a Tundra site. They aren’t about to admit that the Silverado or F150 are better. The items posted are mostly assumptions with very little if any validity to the. But go ahead and write what makes you feel good, whether you are right or wrong cause it is your site.

  2. matt says:

    I believe that Toyota should focus on quailty and not quantity. Once they fix that it should all come together.

    Why is so much power put in JD Power? Its someone else’s opinion. I don’t know about anyone else but I get enough opinions from the news, radio, billboards I don’t think I need one more. Case in point how does the Tundra rating go down from 2007 through 2010 but awarded by JDPower even though the rating is dropping? See link.

  3. Art64 says:

    That’s not bad at all considering that Toyota stopped selling vehicles for a few weeks and with all the safety recalls they issued people still bought that much Tundra.

  4. Jason says:

    Matt – I think that JD Power is just one place to look for info. Taken individually, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in JD Power, Consumer Reports, Edmunds, etc. – they’re just one company. However, taken in aggregate, any trends should be taken to heart.
    I think it’s funny that the link you provided shows the predicted reliability of the Tundra to be much higher than the Ram, yet you talk about Toyota as if they have quality issues…LOL
    Art64 – I think it’s a good sign of recovery in the truck market, and it might be a sign that Toyota is finally starting to build a base of truck customers.

  5. matt says:

    Point taken about reliability. Now ask all the people having issues with the frame replacements, VVTI spring, air pump valves about quailty. Those seem to be just the top three. Whats the issues with the new Rams? Not little things like a dash board but safety or operational issues.

  6. danny says:

    Why does GM count their GMC and Chevy brands seperately? In the Light duty catagory, GM would have a commanding lead over Ford if they combined the two.
    Here in rural Mississippi (Delta), it’s still Ford but mainly GM country. Tundra is now firmly in 3rd with Titan and Ram pulling up the rear. I’m only counting observed new trucks on the street. If you consider the 1990’s trucks, chevy wins this outright with Ram in a distant 2nd. The 90’s gmc/chevy’s are almost indestructable.

  7. Justin says:

    Danny: Actually, combined GMC and Chevy have typically sold more trucks 1/2 ton thru 1 ton trucks. But because GMC and Chevy are different brands, they must count them separately. Just like the Chevy Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire for example. Both are the same car underneath, only with a few stylistic differences. But because they are different brands, they must be counted separately.
    Now actually for this year, Ford has been selling more 1/2 ton thru 1 ton trucks than both Chevy and GMC combined. Not sure if it has to deal with GM taking the bailout moeny, or if Ford is offerring better deals, can’t say why. Heres’ the stats for you in the link below. For the 2009 year as of the beginning of Jun, Ford has sold 198,843 trucks to Chevy/GMC’s 179,955, which is 18,888 more truckls sold by Ford. And for the Month of May alone, Ford sold 49,858 to Chevy/GMC’s 44,995 trucks, a difference of 4,863 trucks. So the trend you speak of has been the pattern of recent history, but this year it has changed.

  8. Jason says:

    matt – I’m not sure, I’m not an expert on the Ram. However, it would seem that – based on JD Power, Consumer Reports, and others – the Ram has more problems than the Tundra. Of course, those sources are all inherently flawed at some level.
    danny – I’m not sure – they can report the sales any way they choose, but they’ve always broken them out.
    Justin – Ford has been KILLING IT this year across the board – very exciting news for Ford stockholders like me! 😉

  9. rich says:

    There are so many variables when it comes to sales. Fleet numbers do make a huge difference. For obvious reasons (as stated in the article), GM and Ford would have the customers. But I am surprised that Tundra is closing in on RAM sales. Especially since the redesigned RAM has hit the market. Remember the gen 2 Tundra is only in its fourth year…pretty impressive!

  10. danny says:

    i was just using the site that Jason provided under “light Duty” Ford=88,007
    Chevy+GMC= 81,679+ 25,632

  11. Jason says:

    rich – That is a good point. I think the Ram’s sales for the first few months of 2010 were down because Chrysler refused to place big incentives on the trucks – they were trying to hold the line because they’re DESPERATE for cash. They changed that policy in April and their sales have climbed as a result. I don’t project that the Tundra will outsell the Ram this year, but who knows. May was a very good month for Tundra sales…

  12. Mickey says:

    Jason I like the article. I figured you would bring em all out on this. Anonymous just can’t stay away. Justin very good point.

  13. matt says:

    Here is a little history for everyone. Someone with the last name of Mouse has no creditbility! He said that Dodge owns the Nissan Titan name but after repeated requests for the article or link he will not produce it. Then that Dodge was making the 2011 Titan. Some one likes to make up stuff as they go along. So take everything with a grain of salt! Some people can’t stay away but at least they are not!

  14. Jason says:

    matt – I think there’s a difference between lying and being mistaken. I’m sure that sometimes we all speak without having all the facts and/or mis-remembering them.

  15. mk says:

    Been a GM fan since the late 70’s. After finally learning my lesson (kickme in the head now!), in 2007 I finally switched to Toyota’s. I’m not saying they are much better overall than GM, but the resale holds up better and reliability overall so far has been much better than GM for me. I would bet brand loyality is hard to swerve customers over to toyota from GM and Ford, but it can be done – I’m a perfect example. Also, like the article states, there are tons more Ford and GM dealers in the local small communities to sell much more vehicles and the rebates on ford and gm and way high as compared to the tundras. I bet if toyota offered 5K off the tundras, it would easily surpass Dodge and make more of an impact, but I still think even with tundra’s few flaws, it sure beats ford and gm and of course dodge.

  16. matt says:

    Jason I disagree! I gave him how many chances to either defend his statement or provide the facts. Neither happened, besides someone changing the subject.
    I asked five times for the link, article, site, anything validating the statements below.
    – M. Mouse Said in May 28th, 2010 @5:46 pm “2011 Matt is the final year of the Nissan Titan. Then it will be built by Chrysler. Look at another thread on here a”
    – M. Mouse Said in May 28th, 2010 @1:06 pm “Matt Chrysler bought the Titan name from Nissan do the research”

    There’s the facts!

  17. danny says:

    i too was a GM fan and so was my Dad. I still love the Sierra Z-71 but the BS from their sales people and the pure amount of problems we’ve had with our 2008 HHR, i switched, i mean, i was pushed to Toyota. I’m still not a 100% Toyota loyalist but everyday it gets closer. I was the last in the family to own a GM and the only cars left is the HHR and the Buick GN. I’m thinking the GN will be the only one in the future. Even though i love the HHR’s cargo space, excellent mpg and handling, the realibility stinks as well as its build quality.
    the Tundra is not the perfect truck but it’s a great start. I kept my old Sierra Z-71 for 15 years and hope this new Tundra can keep the tradition going.
    Also, please no massive Toyota incentives! Our resale value will drop….. like a chevy “Rock”.

  18. greg says:

    Danny, who pushed you to Toyota? You made the decision! No one pushed you! Nice copout! I hope you enjoy your purchase. You seem to have forgotten the frame replacement occurring on the 1st generation Tundra. The ones that are 10 or less years old, so I wouldn’t hold my breathe on making it to 15 years. Maybe you will have the infamous oil sludge problem. Did you have the VVTI problem? The one where within daysnof purchase they tore into that new engine? Nows lets not forget the air injector pumps, you may want to start settin aside money now for that. Now to the actions or lack of with recalls or issues in general. How can place their trust in a company who can not be honest, with themselves or the consumers. The company tells its division In Europe they have a issue but wouldn’t release it in the USA. That just goes to show they don’t care about you, your family, or the other drivers on the road! But you bought a HHR, that says enough!

  19. Jason says:

    mk – They’re all pretty good in terms of quality. Toyota’s greatest strengths in my mind are the above-average resale value, the above-average safety, and the strong powertrain. If all the vehicles are relatively close in quality, I’ll take the one that’s safe and that holds its’ value best (the Tundra).
    matt – I don’t think Mickey is a “liar” – I think he just got mixed up. Everyone is entitled to an error.
    danny – I’m with you – incentives hurt resale a lot. Hopefully Toyota doesn’t get sucked in.
    greg – What brand do you like again? Whoever it is, are they any different? Do you really think any business “cares?”
    My opinion? They all care, but care doesn’t mean sacrifice. Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai…they’ve all been accused of not caring at one point or another. If you really don’t think people should buy a Toyota because the corporate execs put dollars ahead of people, then you probably should build your own car! 🙂

  20. greg says:

    That was great Jason! If they only had a sarcasm button it would have gave your last statement more effect!

    Do I think any manufactures care about customers. Yhea, they would have never made it if they didn’t! Toyota just happened to get caught! Consumers love it when a manufacturer tries to hurt them and hide it. I loom for that with every vehicle I buy!

    what with all the talk about Dodge? Jealously?

    I can’t figure out if this site is really biased or full of BS! But they like to focus on others ALOT!

  21. Mickey says:

    Okay Matt, sorry for the delay been out of town working. I went by the latest material I had seen which I don’t follow Dodge or care to. This article was dated may 2009:
    Now were you forthcoming with material stating that the govt dropped some of the payback but elected not to say half of what was owed? No you were called out Jason on that. Fiat did buy into your so called american company. Whether it’s 20 to 35% who cares you’re no longer an American company. Now you failed to tell everyone about the Jatco trannys you have in your company vehicles. Yes JATCO is a Nissan company which has been suppling your so call american company since 2004. Hence the reason your american part content that was lower than the rest and you and Hemi hated. http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oG.....index.html
    Yes Matt I misquoted info I only had. The same can be said for your misquote. Also you put down I wrote something about the vehicle’s gross weight when all I wrote was what was quoted in the article that ram tows only 9,100lbs to Tundra’s 10,400lbs. Just the same when Jason stated how did Dodge raised the towing without any change? It seems your company quite deceitful on that.

  22. Mickey says:

    Matt what does this state about you? Your statement on June 5th. Some people can’t stay away but at least they are not! You come here listing all of the Tundra’s issues but fail to list your own. We can go back to your model year 2000 and print those issues out also.

  23. danny says:

    Awww, did i hurt your lil’ feeling? Being a lil’ sensitive? Did i push your buttons when i was talking to mk? Well, cheer up lil’ buckaroo, everything will be a-ok.
    Well, you are right, i wasn’t pushed to Toyota, i was pushed away from GM. I made a conscience objective decision to embrace toyota. In fact, i bought this new Tundra the same day they voluntarily suspended sales. And yeah, you’re right about the HHR. I should have bought the Toyota version. It would have been the best choice available in North America.
    Also, the Cummin’s turbo diesel is the only thing dodge has that i’m impressed with and it’s not even mopar. And yes, we have 2, 3500 turbo cummins duellys 4×4’s on the farm. The motors are great, the truck, well……… not so much.
    and, speaking of trust, you dont have to look too far in the past for issues with every auto manufactures. let’s not forget the side saddle chevy gas tanks, the ford pinto, etc, etc.
    Have a great day my friend! (push sarcasm button NOW)
    aww, just kiddin, have a great day!

  24. Jason says:

    greg – I’m really lost in your point here. Are you saying that I was being sarcastic? If so, you’ve got it wrong. While I definitely agree that Toyota purposefully compromised consumer safety to try and save a buck, it’s not as if they’re the first automaker that’s ever made that mistake.
    If you think that manufacturers (or any business, for that matter) cares about anything other than the bottom line, then we’ll have to agree to disagree…and I want to buy whatever you’re taking. I’m admittedly a bit of a pessimist, but I’ve never been under any illusion that the companies I do business with are concerned about my health, happiness, and/or well-being any more than they have to be.
    OBVIOUSLY, making sure your customers are happy is important to staying in business. However, there’s a difference between ensuring satisfaction and “caring.” My Mom cares about me – my automaker, my dry cleaner, and the guy that sells me groceries only care that I bring them my money. This is what I refer to as “reality,” my friend.

  25. greg says:

    What is this a play on words. They care if your satisfied, correct. Care doesn’t mean they love you and want to call you at midnight, fix you soup if you sick! The fact your in auto sales shows!
    “My Mom cares about me – my automaker, my dry cleaner, and the guy that sells me groceries only CARE (which care is this) that I bring them my money.” Oh so they do care but what care is it? Point of the matter being they do care!

    Danny, I don’t care what you drive! You didn’t hurt my feelings, just wondering how some one pushes you to another brand! Then talk about quailty while stating the day you bought your Tundra the sales halt started. Wasn’t the sales halt for quailty issues? Do you care to provide your source about the Dodge transmission? It isn’t going to be years, or decades ago like what someone else said is it? Now saddle bags and pinto’s, got anything in the past decade? Reaching alittle far aren’t ya? Its ok buddy, your the reason there are warnings on devices!

    Mickey, looks like someone called your bluff! Wanna talk about 2000 Dodge issues? Great lets also talk about 2000 Tundra issues! Just make sure you provide your reference!
    Oh about the references you posted, you wanna post some that work? Jatco transmissions are used in Dodges, and Toyota’s. So why are people bring up the Dodge caliber front wheel drive transmission? That has a lot to do with Dodge making the Titan doesn’t it! No! Try again Mickey!

    Seems like there’s a lot of people trying to make stuff up! Some call them liars.

  26. Jason says:

    greg – Did you see the 600k unit Chrysler recall yet today? Did they do that recall because they “care” about consumers, or because they “care” about getting their rear-ends handed to them by a newly empowered NHTSA?
    What’s your point, anyways? You seem to antagonize Toyota owners for fun, but you don’t seem to be willing to stake a claim for a brand YOU think is great. I’m all for antagonizing, but it’s pretty meaningless if you don’t have the courage to defend something yourself. What do you drive to work? Does that automaker “care” about you? Have you ever had to perform a repair? Do you have any items on your vehicle you wish had been engineered better? Any gripes at all?

  27. greg says:

    Ok Dodge has a recall! 600,000 is chump change compared to the multi million Toyota had! But Chrysler did it with out hurting anyone, amazing!

    Some people like to make jokes about other like Dodge. I believe you have a past time of that. Well I like to laugh at people who laugh at others! Didn’t you bring up karma? Funny how people Dodge questions and statements when called out on it! Like the Jatco transmissions, just about every manufacture uses one but they where trying to use it in defence of Dodge and Titan partnership! The transmission made by Jatco and used in a Dodge caliber and is not in there truck. So that’s funny to me, good job! If someone is going to say something atleast make sure it doesn’t make you look ignorant! Aka: Jatco transmission, Dodge owns Titan name!

    What does it matter what I drive! My project is a Jeep, my wife drives a Mini and I have a HD.

  28. greg says:

    – here is the infamous Nissian makes Rams transmission, BS page. I wouldnt expect anything else out of Mickey! Please post the link of the facts when making statement. They do make fwd transmissions for a Caliber, Patriot, Compass. See links below, notice links below, information backing up statement below, the facts below!

    Since I can not find any substantial evidence that Toyota uses Jatco transmissions I wiuld like to dismiss that comment and state I was incorrect. See how that’s done, I manned up and said I was wrong!

  29. Mickey says:

    Greg did I not state that Nissan is making trannys for Dodge since 2004. I didn’t state a specific vehicle and the website provided stated just that period. You come on head strong about the truck period. Did I say Ram or Dodge truck? You’re two comrades were speaking about how american Dodge is and I just hit you with two with Fiat owning a percentage and now Nissan with trannys. If you would read before you speak maybe you might see what’s in front of you instead of jumping the gun.
    Greg as usual you see what you want to see. How come you didn’t pick up on the replacement frames being model year 2000-2003 as one of Matt’s quality issues? Isn’t this what Matt quoted as a quality issue? Are we being one sided here?
    Now Greg who’s laughing at who? You need to do a little more manning up. At least I can read there ole mighty ignorant one. You’re trying to put words where there wasn’t any now try again.
    Jason, Greg is playing on the word care to his liking. He has no clue the real meaning of the word. In accordance to Greg since he didn’t read the post exactly the way I wrote and put his own words in I guess now we can call him a liar also.

  30. danny says:

    Actually, that would be “you’re” not your.

  31. danny says:

    Again you’re wrong. i never said anything about dodge transmissions.
    And, regarding your other comment, those who don’t remember the past are destined to repeat it.
    hahaha, at least i can read the warning labels. I guess the lil’ stick figures and pictures are reserved for you.
    Have a wonderful day!

  32. greg says:

    Danny, are you trying to compete with Mickey? Mickey has to take every advantage he can get. Who would have figured that if your on a Dodge and Toyota you would think when one mentions something its would be reference to the subject. I guess this is Mickey’s way of feeling smart. As you for correction my grammar, thanks! I really hope you frames don’t rust out speaking oh the past repeating it self, seeing how corrosion issues are reaching out to 2009 Toyota models, ask Mickey he knows about rust already! Yhea who’s laughing now!

    Jason, so its ok to just start talking about random subjects? Lets talk about who makes acceleration pedal assemblies? Don’t worry about what model vehicle its for I will change that at my convenience!

  33. Mickey says:

    Greg just to keep it on subject this article just out will help Toyota sales.
    Not one big 3 in the top 5 but look at the bottom 5…. lol…It’s all big 3.
    Danny, Greg along with Matt are a little disturbed because anyone against the mighty Mopar just isn’t American. Notice the name calling…… I guess childish was the right term to use.

  34. Jason says:

    Greg – As always, I appreciate the dissenting voice. I hope that this little exchange doesn’t keep you from participating in the future. Having said that, I expect a better level of discourse, and I would ask that you try to respect everyone enough to a) answer the questions that are asked of you and b) refrain from calling people liars or morons. It’s just not as much fun. Thanks.
    You are correct that this has gotten off topic…which is why I’m closing the comments here. Thank you all!

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