DETROIT — General Motors' prolonged ramp-up of the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado has put the longtime No. 2 pickup in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable position: third in Detroit's three-way race.
Ram has beaten the Silverado in nine of the past 10 months, according to U.S. sales estimates from the Automotive News Data Center that have been validated by GM's quarterly reports. The Ram has outsold the Silverado by 36,619 since the latest Silverado 1500 hit dealerships in August and holds a lead of nearly 22,000 five months into 2019.
Including the GMC Sierra 1500, which was also redesigned at the same time, GM's full-size pickup share was down 3 percentage points in the first five months of 2019 compared with the same period a year earlier.
With the Sierra, GM remains in second place in the full-size segment, behind Ford Motor Co.
But GM executives insist the shake-up in a closely watched battle with major image and profit implications isn't a sign of trouble. They say the trucks' launch is going as planned and that GM is focused on profits, not market share.
Barry Engle, who became GM's president of the Americas on April 1, played down declining Silverado sales as a "temporary phenomenon" that will be corrected with more capacity and a normalization of production.
"Given our limited availability, we deliberately launched with a really high mix in trims," Engle told Automotive News this month. "But as we get broader availability and get the full portfolio out there, we'll be just fine."
Broader availability includes increasing annual capacity of the pickups by 60,000 — 40,000 for the heavy-duty models and 20,000 for the 1500s.