GM's Engle touts pickups' transaction price gains
General Motors is losing market share in the light-duty pickup segment this year, but its hauling in thousands of dollars more on average for each model.
GM, citing J.D. Power PIN data, reports average transaction prices for the 2019 GMC Sierra are up $4,300 from a year earlier to $48,500 through April. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is up $3,000 during the same period to $41,700.
"Our market performance is exactly where I would expect it to be at this point in the launch with good results in the places where weve focused," said Barry Engle, GM president of the Americas, during a presentation Wednesday at the Goldman Sachs Industrials & Materials Conference in New York City.
The Sierra, according to GM, leads the full-size pickup segment in average transaction price, while Silverado trails Ford F series, up $300 to $43,000. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Ram pickup has increased $3,700 — the second most behind Sierra — but its average transaction price remains below its American competitors and Toyota, at $39,700.
Sustaining such high transaction prices could be challenging as GM continues to move away from the initial launch of its redesigned full-size pickups, which began last fall.
Likely assisting in the pricing power will be the introduction of a new inline-six diesel engine for the light-duty models in the coming months and the introduction of GMs redesigned heavy-duty models. Also assisting the pricing is GMs decision to increase capacity of more profitable crew cab models with the redesigned pickups.
Production of the Sierra and Silverado HDs is expected to begin in June, according to Engle.
Calling light-duty pickups the "crown jewel" of GMs business in North America, Engle reiterated that the company expects to regain market share as the year goes on. He said the company saw improvements in April compared with the first quarter.
GMs retail market share, according to Engle, has been stable through April compared with 2018 at 32.8 percent. However, the Automotive News Data Center estimates its overall share of the segment through April was down 3.8 percentage points in the highly loyal segment, including a 3.5 percentage point decline for Silverado.
"The good news is the plan is working," Engle said, adding the company has lost some production but remains focused "on the quality of our share," which has allowed the company to better financially manage the changeover from the previous-generation trucks.
Engle, not referring to competitors by name, characterized Ford as acting "very rationally" regarding production, incentives and pricing discipline, while Ram has been "a bit more aggressive."
Despite having the oldest models on the market, Ford holds a significant lead in U.S. full-size pickup sales this year through April, more than 115,000 sales ahead of Ram and 130,000 in front of Chevrolet, according to estimates from the Automotive News Data Center.
"Each of the players will need to pursue the strategy that works best for them," Engle said. "In our case, we like where we are, and we like what this business does for us."
The presentation was Engles first major public appearance since beginning to lead GMs North American operations in addition to his responsibilities in South America on April 1.