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Ford F-Series Losing Young Buyers To Ram, Report Claims

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It’s no secret that the Ford F-Series has remained America’s best-selling truck for the last four plus decades. Ford’s stranglehold on the full-size truck market has long seemed ironclad, its lead in the race insurmountable. Or, is it? While Chevrolet and Dodge Ram lag far behind in terms of sheer sales volume, a recent trend looks like it could represent a tiny dent in the Ford F-Series’ mighty armor.

It all started with a report from Edmunds a couple of months ago, which noted that “Ram has increased sales due to winning over the most coveted section of the market: people under 35.”

Full-Size Mainstream Pickup Truck Sales - 2019 - USA

MODEL YTD 19 / YTD 18 YTD 19 YTD 18 YTD 19 SHARE YTD 18 SHARE
FORD F-SERIES -1.41% 896,526 909,330 36% 38%
RAM RAM PICKUP +18.01% 633,694 536,980 26% 22%
CHEVROLET SILVERADO -1.70% 575,600 585,581 23% 24%
GMC SIERRA +5.82% 232,323 219,554 9% 9%
TOYOTA TUNDRA -5.57% 111,673 118,258 5% 5%
NISSAN TITAN -37.55% 31,514 50,459 1% 2%
TOTAL +2.53% 2,481,330 2,420,162

Ram claimed second place in the full-size truck wars from the Chevy Silverado during the 2019 calendar year on the back of a total redesign that’s proven quite popular with buyers. Taking a look at the buyers of these models warrants a close look, and that’s precisely what Automotive News decided to do. Its findings were rather interesting, not to mention potentially troubling for the Ford F-Series.

According to a study from IHS Markit, the Ram over took the Ford F-Series last year in sales to customers under the age of 35. Ram sold a total of 43,282 vehicles to that demographic, a 10 percent increase over 2018, while Ford moved 40,968 units, a 14 percent year-over-year decline. So what’s behind this major market shift?

For starters, price seems to be playing a pretty big factor. Ram is currently selling its previous generation truck alongside the new one, dubbing the older model as the Ram 1500 Classic. The average transaction price for this entry-level model was $39,121 last year, compared to $48,753 for the new Ram. In addition, the Classic comes in a whopping 46 different configurations, along with new and ever-changing appearance packages that appeal to younger buyers. But the Classic isn’t just a threat to the Ford F-Series, either.

Dodge calls the Classic a “premium alternative to the Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado, appealing to younger buyers on size and price.” Those midsize trucks can easily exceed $40,000 with options, of course. But Dodge also points to its current mix of not just value, but style, interior amenities, and technology as reasons for being being to attract the younger customers.

Of course, this bodes well for Ram moving forward. Truck buyers tend to be fiercely loyal, and the Ram 1500 has held the highest loyalty rating among light-duty trucks for three consecutive years, according to IHS Markit.

Meanwhile, the all-new 2021 Ford F-Series F-150 will bring a host of updates aimed at helping it better compete with Ram in terms of technology and amenities, so it’ll be interesting to see how this battle plays out in the next two years, once Ford has launched the new F-150 and built up inventory at the retail level. And obviously, Dodge can’t continue to sell the old Ram alongside the new one forever. But for now, it’s clear that Ford has some work to do when it comes to regaining the coveted under-35 demo.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on these trends as they ebb and flow, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest F-Series news, Ford F-150 news and ongoing Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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17 Comments

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  1. Savvy strategy on FCA’s part: sell new “old” trucks at used prices. They probably will continue doing this when the current “new” truck is replaced.
    The young’uns stay loyal to tobacco, beer and truck brands.

  2. If Ford promotes “energy efficiency” for the hybrid and electric F-150 models, then the Millenniums and younger generations will be more attracted to buy them.

  3. The trouble is the younger folks or millenniums buy Ram and Chevy because there look pretty they have no ideal of the word work the F series are work trucks they out pull and out work Ram & Chevy end of story buy a real truck that’s Ford

    • Perhaps this hammers home the reality that MOST trucks aren’t sold as workers but pleasure vehicles. Regardless of whether a Ford works harder and longer, the huge majority of buyers never work them at all with the exception of maybe hauling a bundle of peat moss for the yard.

  4. Interesting how this article is about the Ran Classic but featured pictures of the F150 exclusively. Me thinks ford authority is afraid to prime the pump….

  5. Why is it so hard for the new CEO to launch a product? The new F-150 and Bronco should have already be out.

    • The bronco isn’t a model it’s an entire sub-brand. It’s really important they get it right. The baby bronco, bronco and future pickup is essential for fords survival. As is the Mach e. Ppl think that it’s just an EV. It’s also a test to see if ppl are willing to buy a mustang brand crossover. I believe more mustang variants will be in the works soon, including gas powered SUV’s, creating yet another sub brand.

  6. They better keep those Rams clear of any salt, like up north and coastal areas. Rams turn into rust buckets pretty darn fast. Pretty only last so long.

    • Not sure you mean the latest gen. I live in Massachusetts and haven’t seen any rust issues. the previous gen I will agree but that was mostly at the rear wheel openings. Apparently they used a bonding system that trapped/caught dirt resulting in the rot. the newer version no longer uses that method.

  7. the ram hybrid system, info system display amenities and the air suspension make all the differences, to me, i had used both truck and the air suspension system, and gas economy make the point. where the ford ecoboost makes all the fun

  8. Ford is too expensive for what it offer, in the xlt trim level. XLT is averaging $58,000.00 in Canada and it does’nt even offer a keyless start. It has hard plastic. So it os too expensive for what we got.

  9. Not sure you mean the latest gen. I live in Massachusetts and haven’t seen any rust issues. the previous gen I will agree but that was mostly at the rear wheel openings. Apparently they used a bonding system that trapped/caught dirt resulting in the rot. the newer version no longer uses that method.

  10. …and once Ram brings out a mid-sized truck, their young drivers will flock to that.

    I do think Bronco sales will hurt F-150 to some extent, but not to the point of losing the sales crown.

    Chevy seems to be pushing buyers to Silverado over Colorado lately, and they are giving Ram a challenge for 2nd place again.

  11. No surprise here, this poorly managed company, despite overinvesting on it its bread and butter product still gets less desirable results. Is it possible that multiple recalls on this bread and butter product is hurting sales?

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