The new CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA), Mike Manley, recently told Reuters “We need to get ourselves into second.” when referring to Ram sales in the United States.
Selling a large volume of trucks requires factory capacity to build them, and Manley is reportedly reconsidering a previous decision by Sergio Marchionne to shift pickup truck production from Saltillo, Mexico to Warren, Michigan. FCA reported an investment of approximately $1 Billion as part of the effort to retool the Warren, Michigan plant to produce the upcoming new Ram HD trucks.
Manley said “With a combination of Warren and Mexico building what we call the classic truck, we have enough production to increase output next year if it’s required”. What is the “classic truck”? When a new truck like the 2019 Ram 1500 (DT) come to market, their sales are supplemented by continued sales of the previous generation truck. Ram calls these “classic”.
As the plan develops, Ram continues to produce the Ram 1500 trucks in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Ram HD trucks will be produced in Warren, Michigan, and potentially at the Mexico facility as well.
When could Ram pass General Motors for the second sales position in U.S. truck sales? Is it possible? This is difficult to say, but the process would take at least several years. Take a look at the full-size truck sales over the first three quarters of 2018 (January through September). Chevrolet and GMC together sold 576,645 trucks over the nine month period. Ram sold 375,583 trucks over the same period. GM and others would have to lose a lot of share in order for Ram to gain the second position behind Ford, who sold 679,018 trucks in 2018.