NAIAS 2019: When 'war' is good! Detroit's Big 3 engaged in pickup battle, driving sales


DETROIT-- Just a small number of trucks are making their debut at this year's North American International Auto Show, but trucks are a vital segment of the overall vehicle market. There is a battle, of sorts, taking place among General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Flint plays a major role.

General Motors produces the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Light-Duty and Heavy-Duty models at its Flint Assembly plant. Neither is the market leader, but both are hot sellers.

Pickup trucks are the crown jewel of the Motor City. They are big, beefy and all-American. They also are big profit centers for the Big-Three.

Ram, FCA's all truck division, rolled out the all-new 2019 2500 HD at NAIAS. It has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds and is the first production truck with 1,000 lb-ft of torque. Ram ranks number three in sales, but is growing in popularity among consumers.

"Not only is Ram the fastest growing truck brand in America, but also has the highest loyalty of any half-ton pickup," said Ram division chief Ried Bigland.

Ram also enjoys the distinction of winning the Motor Trend Truck of the Year and North American Truck of the Year honors for the 2019 1500 pickup.

RELATED STORY: North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year awards announced

RELATED LINK: Motor Trend Truck of the Year is Ram 1500

The leader among the domestic trucks is Ford's F-150 lineup. Todd Eckert with Ford Truck Group likes to say that Ford has been number one in trucks since Ford was president, referencing the 38th president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford who was a Michigan native.

The latest F-150 was introduced at NAIAS last year, but the company has updated the lineup with a new Limited trim.

"We've updated and upgraded the interior," said Eckert. "We gone to our camelback interior, very similar to Super Duty so it matches very well, it's very luxurious," he added saying it puts the truck at the top end of its line, a segment Eckert says Ford owns.

These trucks are not cheap. According to Kelly Blue Book, the average price is now approaching $50,000. You can get a Flint built Chevy Silverado for less but well-equipped, the model will still cost you close to- if not more than- KBB's reported segment average. Low lease payments and cheap gasoline are helping to drive sales.

The 2019 Silverado is all-new and every bit the capable behemoth that full-size pickup truck customers expect.

RELATED LINK: Kelly Blue Book reviews the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado

"We've been doing trucks for over a hundred years," said GM engineer Tim Herrick. "This is our next generation of the truck and it's the best driving with the most payload that we've ever had."

The Silverado is number two in the market. Its corporate cousin, the GMC Sierra, is all-new for 2019 and heavy duty versions are coming in 2020. GM plans to unveil the HDs soon during a special ceremony at Flint Assembly.

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