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Full-size pickup sales - F-150 best selling truck, but for how much longer?

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  • KCRam@EdmundsKCRam@Edmunds Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,497
    A major chunk of the new technology Bob and I refer to is the ability to test trucks without building them. Computer simulation can easily determine in a couple of hours what used to take months in proving ground testing. Something as "simple" as changing where the coil's spring rates vary in order to maximize load without compromising ride can be done with mouse clicks, instead of having to forge another spring set.

    The half-ton pickup customer is also not the same person from 40 years ago. This is the guy who used to buy full-size LTD and Caprice station wagons - those are not available any longer. He needs a back seat for the family but doesn't really care about an 8-foot bed because it won't fit in the garage. The bed is more appealing than the full-size SUV because he doesn't have to keep it clean. So now we have a selection of crew cab half-tons with beds around 5' 6" or so for these people. The commercial buyers are getting away from half-tons because the manufacturers have "consumerized" them... and a base 250/2500 is no longer a price problem.

    In today's market, Dodge may have a better focus on what will actually sell, compared to Toyota's number-bragging. If you need to tow 10,000 pounds, do you want a truck that will be at its limits, or are you going to make the safer smarter choice and buy a 3/4 ton that offers a healthy margin above that?

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  • Yep... puttin them coils on that dodge is a smart move now. That factory can tune them coils for cushy rides when empty and load them ones up when full. We got us a massey that works hard that way, thats for sure! That dodge factory got the knowin on them trucks, and how folks is workin them dodge ones hard. Problem with them forien ones is they break quicker if worked hard now. We need ones that haul and last long, like that 52 we still work them fields with now. Good luck on this one now!
  • KCRam@EdmundsKCRam@Edmunds Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,497
    Class-exclusive features:

    Trailer Sway Control


    Not so fast, Mark... from the 09 Ram press kit:
    ---
    Trailer Sway Control System: Reduces trailer sway and improves handling in adverse towing conditions caused by crosswinds and traffic. Software monitors the vehicle’s movement relative to the driver’s intended path, then applies brake pressure to slow the vehicle and increases the pressure on one front wheel to counteract sway induced by the trailer
    ---

    If not at the same time, all the manufacturers will have these same features within a year. It's going to come down to design and price for most buyers.

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  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,653
    Exactly. Computer-aided engineering is allowing for new ideas to be explored that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago.

    Most 1/2-tons today are family vehicle substitutes—that can take on weekend chores when needed. That's why we're seeing so many 1/2-ton crew cab versions. A 1/2-ton crew cab was unheard of a decade ago.

    Yeah, the new Ram 1500 will probably ride and handle better than other 1/2-tons because of the coil springs. Dodge has stated it will have a payload and towing capabilities of the outgoing models. I see that as a win-win situation.

    Bob
  • True, crew cabs 1/2 tons are now to haul family. In LALA land, freeways are irregular concrete where several mile sections can be teeth-jarring, chest-pounding rides, followed by smooth asphalt. I've been in crew versions of each of the Big3 products (but more than 5 years back), but no improvement in ride. Perhaps coils will help.

    Mark, perhaps I was a little harsh on the F-150, but Serious improvements to the F-150 drivetrain are still needed. That would include more power from the 5.4L V8 and a 6 spd automatic. I drove the 5.4L and it sure didn't feel like 300 HP; it was slow. I drove a 4.6L to the CA high desert, and it felt reasonably quick. It turned into a high speed run to get it back to the rental place (85 MPH for 60 miles). Handled with confidence.

    The F-150 drove much better than the '07 Tundra, & similar to my '00 Tundra (not a Real truck). It can be had with waaaay nicer interior than the '07 Tundra. BUT, I do not want another under-powered truck (did I forget to mention that the '00 Tundra doesn't breathe and power is really lacking). 350 HP and 6 spd is what I want, and I think that's what a lot of people want.

    A car-savy buddy bought a new Sequoia (no, not an oxymoron). He "ooo's & ahhhs" about the 375 HP and 6 spd. IMHO, Ford needed these things badly to compete. Failing this could really hurt upcoming sales. Hope they can survive this decision.
  • I don't know much about pickup trucks particularly but here's how I imagine the conversation went at the Dodge head office:

    [management] So... what are we going to do with the Ram? We keep getting ranked last in magazine articles and it ain't gettin' any younger!

    [accounting] Well if we spend as much on a redesign as Ford and GM, but only sell half the units, we'll just continue to fall behind in profits.

    [marketing] We need to pull a play out of our history books and make a bold statement. I say we swing for the fences! If we win big the company will be saved. (If not I've got a cousin at Toyota - hehehe.)

    [consumer research] The new trend these days is recreational trucks. Nobody actually does hauling anymore. If we make it more comfortable maybe we can pull in more new customers than we lose old ones? You know, like the Ridgeline...

    [engineering] Let's put coil springs on the back. It won't cost any more and its on the bottom of the truck where most people won't notice the change. It'll improve the ride for everyone with an empty bed.

    [management] Something for nothing, eh? Sounds good to me. Proceed!
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    The Avalanche and the Caddy Escalade EXT both have coil springs since their inception. Course the only SUV in GMs lineup that still has leafs are the 3/4 ton Burb and Yukon.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    Still no specs eh? Makes you wonder what exactly they are waiting for.
  • dino6dino6 Posts: 7
    Horsepower is not the most important element in the volume half ton truck segment. Practicality, car like smoothness, capability, style, reliability are all more important than power or fuel economy. The biggest customer segment consists of mature baby boomers purchasing trucks for personal/family use or business/fleet use. That's why Ford and GM have the most tasteful, conservative styling in this product segment, and the biggest market shares; and Dodge/Toyota/Nissan have edgier styling for the younger customer, and are mainly competing for the first time truck owner.
    Anyone who pulls trailers on a regular basis knows that it is stability not horsepower that limits speed (unless you're going up a very steep hill). Ford's idea of combining the electronics of roll control, traction control and brake control to manage trailer stability is the single best feature of this new F-150, and puts them one up on the others (at least temporarily).
    Ford's marketing is also spot on in coming up with new premium editions. Again, because the typical half ton buyer today has more income than people expect, it's not just penniless cowboys anymore. The half ton has replaced the traditional large, rear drive Detroit sedan as the family vehicle of choice in many suburban and rural markets, hence the popularity of crew cabs. Crew cabs are also replacing large SUVs since they now offer as much comfort and luxury; more practicality and better towing. It was the 04 F150 that finally brought trucks to parity w/large sedans and SUVs in terms of comfort, luxury and driving dynamics.

    True, the new F150 is an evolution of the 2004 model, not a radical revolution but the 2004 redo simply moved pickup truck comfort and smoothness one level higher for the industry than before and the new pickups from GM and Toyota were playing catch up in these dimensions.Since Ford has the largest market share all it needs to do is to prevent owners from switching to GM or Toyota on their next purchase. (I have yet to meet any truck owner that switched from Ford to Dodge or Nissan). This 2009 update is enough of a move to parity w/GM/Toyota on the most important features. To get the lead, Ford will have to introduce a good half ton clean diesel engine. I doubt that many buyers, except urban commuters, will find a boosted V-6 appealing in this segment even with a fuel economy improvement. But it will be good PR.
    Horsepower and payload/towing numbers are more important in the 3/4 ton, 1 ton markets and here Ford has to work harder on its Super Dutys. The 6 liter diesel engine fiasco made some people switch to GM and to Dodge (more due to Dodge's Cummins diesel engine despite the rest of the truck). But where I live, which is one of the continent's number one truck markets, the Ford 250/350 still outsells GM and Dodge by a wide margin.
    The typical long time truck buyer is VERY conservative. They have the highest brand loyalty in the automotive industry.
    That's why the leaders: Ford/GM can play it much more conservative than the other 3 challengers, who have to try different things just to get noticed.
    The economies of scale that Ford has w/the F150 also allow it to drive prices down along the model cycle. Don't look at MSRPs, look at actual sales and lease deals at the dealership. Ford is more aggressive in these areas than GM in the half tons, and the other 3 don't have the e.o.s. to drive prices down in the cycle. Where I live you c/d get a 07 F150 for almost $100 less on similar lease terms compared to GM, and Toyota dealers weren't even trying to compete.
    Ford knows that the whole industry is looking at their F150 sales numbers and this is one thing they will fight tooth and nail to preserve, with prices if need be.
    Too bad, Ford doesn't have its act together in cars as much as it has in trucks.
  • Great post. A very good breakdown of the market. I am hoping and praying i can purchase a new F-150 and give America one more shot at producing a quality, long term vehicle. My biggest concern is that Ford is not as financially stable as GM and has not pumped the necessary cash into their products to get the quality back up. I own both a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis and 2007 Hyundai Elantra but have had several American and foreign trucks over the years in the family with perfect maintenance records kept and preformed. The horror stories of the GM and Ford truck transmission problems and fires still concern me, as does the relatively weak Ford truck warranty compared to the competition. Plus the current Silverado and Sierra have the most technical service bullitons out of any other full size truck but surprisingly, Ford, Dodge, Nissan and Toyota have the least.

    I know TSB's are not recalls but the fewer the better on the serious ones and im not talking owners manual corrections. I must be cautious when spending 30 some grand on a half ton. I drive vehicles until its no longer practical for upkeep so i am a long term buyer and loyalty lies with a product that lasts. Ford burned us with the 98-02 Grand Marquis with the defective intake and dint extend the warranty until it was too late. Even the 07 Grand Marquis is still having random electrical issues and considering the car has had few changes over the last 6 years, even the last 25 years, continuing issues with such a simple design is not acceptable.

    The rehash of the Ford Focus also disappoints with lack of refinement, unimpressive fuel economy, and still to be tested IIHS crash tests, the only ones that really matter. I want to really give the F-150 a try but at the very least Ford should match GM's warranty to show faith in the product. Depreciation must be brought under control as well. Even though i keep my vehicles for a long while, if I total a vehicle, its depreciation is a key factor in insurance pay out, although i always get GAP insurance as its cheap piece of mind.

    The 09 F-150 certainly looks the part and i love the many ways to custom build one. I also want a nice ride and QUIET! I will be towing possibly a HI-LO travel trailer or Airstream. So the overall towing will not be too high, allowing me to opt for the more fuel efficient combo. No need for the 10,000 pound overkill, just wastes fuel and ride quality for my needs. I cant wait to drive one. I do expect refinement, better fuel economy, and improved durability. If they deliver? Sold! If not, let em rot! Maybe breaking up Ford and hiring management who knows what the hell they are doing will correct their greedy cost cutting mistakes. Time will tell.
  • 04cad04cad Posts: 131
    have to smile every time I hear Ford's ads touting they have the best selling truck for xx years.... Considering that GM makes both the Silverado and Sierra and they are basically the same truck except for some trim pieces, GM has had the title forever. Same for the Colorado and Canyon, S10 and Sonoma. Ford just wishes they were outselling GM (Silverado and Sierra combined). If GM wasn't so hard headed they would have dropped the GMC years ago and Ford couldn't even claim to have the title.
  • KCRam@EdmundsKCRam@Edmunds Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,497
    Jan 08 / Jan 07 / +/-
    ----------------------------------
    F-Series...41,125 / 44,919 / -8.4
    Silverado..36,122 / 38,393 / -5.9
    Ram........19,902 / 24,379 / -18.0
    Sierra......13,200 / 13,147 / 0.4
    Tundra......12,073 / 6,321 / 91.0
    Titan........3,692 / 5,226 / -29.4
    Mark LT.....376 / 774 / -51.4

    Bad month all around. The Tundra number is compared to the last of the old model, so still not a fair comparison... and it's much lower than what the new Tundra was doing through most of last year.

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  • KCRam@EdmundsKCRam@Edmunds Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,497
    Feb 08 Feb 07 +/- CY 2008 CY 2007 +/-
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    F-Series / 52,548 / 55,251 / -4.9 / 93,673 / 100,170 / -6.5
    Silverado / 44,096 / 58,696 / -24.9 / 80,218 / 97,089 / -17.4
    Ram / 22,642 / 28,633 / -21.0 / 42,544 / 53,012 / -20.0
    Sierra / 15,088 / 18,140 / -16.8 / 28,288 / 31,287 / -9.6
    Tundra / 14,400 / 9,669 / 43.0 / 26,473 / 15,990 / 62.2
    Titan / 3,794 / 6,058 / -39.9 / 7,486 / 11,284 / -35.0
    Mark LT / 364 / 649 / -43.9 / 740 / 1,423 / -48.0

    Even though Tundra numbers are up, this was still against the old smaller Tundra. They are still well below the pace they need for 200K annual units.

    The American Axle strike has closed another GM plant, although they claim they have a 150-day supply of Silverado/Sierra already at showrooms. Chrysler said they had a 10-day supply of differentials for the HD trucks, then they would have to consider reduction or suspension of production.

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  • KCRam@EdmundsKCRam@Edmunds Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,497
    Mar 08 Mar 07 +/- CY 2008 CY 2007 +/-
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    F-Series / 54,465 / 71,481 / -23.8 / 148,138 / 171,651 / -13.7
    Silverado / 42,561 / 55,626 / -23.5 / 122,779 / 152,715 / -19.6
    Ram / 26,318 / 38,301 / -31.0 / 68,862 / 91,313 / -25.0
    Sierra / 15,919 / 16,503 / -3.5 / 44,207 / 47,790 / -7.5
    Tundra / 14,311 / 13,196 / 8.4 / 40,784 / 29,186 / 39.7
    Titan / 3,869 / 7,563 / -44.9 / 11,355 / 18,847 / -39.0
    Mark LT / 387 / 805 / -51.9 / 1,127 / 2,228 / -49.4

    Tundra numbers still adjusting to the design change.

    In contrast, Hyundai had its best March ever.

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  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    I wonder when Toyota figures it's newly designed Tundra going to hit their predicted 200K units per year? Or perhaps by now they figured that was a pipe dream? Even with their rebates, new prices, buying incentives they look to be substantially short of the 200K units. Now if we increase the time period of sales per 1.5 years they may have a chance. :shades:
  • KCRam@EdmundsKCRam@Edmunds Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,497
    From March 07 to February 08, the Tundra sold over 207,000 units. Even the calendar year 2007, they were at 196 and change. They met their target already.

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  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    LOL!! Hey have you read your post from March 3, 2008?

    Let me quote you:

    Even though Tundra numbers are up, this was still against the old smaller Tundra. They are still well below the pace they need for 200K annual units.

    For the two months after that post they averaged a little over 14K units each month. I would think they would've needed to average more like 24K per month.

    At the pace they are at now at 40K for 3 months that should give them around 160- maybe 170K units for the calender year. Far cry from 200K.

    The Dodge numbers are spooky down 25% yikes.
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