business

Ram and Chevy's Deep Discounts Signal an Old-Pickup Price War

  • Fiat Chrysler, GM offer big incentives on outgoing models
  • Deals could get even richer this summer, analyst says

2018 Ram 1500

Source: FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and General Motors Co. have trimmer, high-tech trucks coming this year that will fetch top-dollar prices. For now, the automakers are dialing up discounts on outgoing models.

Average incentives on the Ram 1500 pickup reached an eye-popping $7,173 last month, up almost $900 over last year, according to dealer data compiled by J.D. Power and obtained by Bloomberg News. GM jacked up discounts on the Silverado 1500 by almost $2,200 to an average of $6,517.

Incentives by the Truckload

Fiat Chrysler and GM offer big discounts on outgoing pickup models

Source: J.D. Power PIN data

Detroit has room to deal on its full-size trucks, which analysts estimate haul in more than $10,000 in profit per pickup sold. GM, Fiat Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. deliver more than 2 million of them a year in the U.S., generating annual revenue of more than $90 billion. The new Chevy and redesigned Ram are lighter-weight and boast big touch screens and fuel-saving powertrains. The companies plan to price for that added content once they clear inventory of outgoing pickups from showrooms.

“We will see a lot of discounting as they move out the old models to make way for the new ones,” Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for researcher Autotrader, said in an interview. “These incentives could get even richer in the summer.”

Ford, which is offering F-150 discounts on Facebook, increased incentives by $714 to average $4,745 in April. The average price paid for full-size pickups has climbed almost 70 percent since 2002 to nearly $45,000 last year, according to car-shopping researcher Edmunds.

The deals had mixed results in April. Ram’s total pickup sales fell 9.4 percent last month, while deliveries for Ford’s F-Series line gained 3.5 percent and GM’s Chevy Silverado jumped 19 percent.

“We are managing our full-size pickup business with a lot of discipline, especially around incentives and pricing,” said Jim Cain, a GM spokesman. The average price consumers are paying is up almost $170 per truck so far this year, and incentives have risen less than $90 per pickup, he said. The company also sells the GMC Sierra.

Fiat Chrysler has said it’ll produce the old version of its pickup under the name Ram Classic throughout this year as the company ramps up production of the redesigned model. The company will aim the outgoing truck at government and business fleets, as well as consumers looking for a bargain.

Pickups are such an important profit driver for the Detroit Three that they’re willing to give up some margin to protect market share.

“They will defend that turf,” Krebs said. “And pickups are so profitable, there is still room for them to up the ante.”

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