I grew up with a staunch adversity to Chrysler products. It stemmed from my dad, who had a bad experience with a Chrysler Le Baron. And by “bad experience,” I mean an engine blowout before the 60,000-mile mark.
Since that day, mentioning Chrysler in conversation was akin to discussing poor bathing habits or certain political parties. It was simply not to be done in polite company.
I took that perspective into adulthood, but now that I’m older and considering a truck purchase, I’m re-thinking my attitude toward the company formerly known as Chrysler.
So, it seems, are thousands of other truck buyers in the United States.
Allow me to quote the intro of a story posted this week on Automotive News:
It’s been three consecutive months of bronze for the Chevrolet Silverado.
After managing another second-place upset in May, Fiat Chrysler’s Ram is threatening to upend the all-important but usually predictable pickup battle. A year ago, Chevy launched a brazen marketing assault on the long-dominant Ford F-Series, with a series of commercials asserting that its new aluminum body was too fragile to survive a day at the job site unscathed.
Let that sink in for a second. Ram has taken the second-place sales position for the last three months. Ford’s impressive lead, meanwhile, is mounting since Chevy’s attack ads debuted. The ads, and a changing consumer preference, could be enough to topple Chevy trucks out of second place for good.
The Bowtie still holds a lead over Ram for the year, but FCA’s truck brand is catching up fast, and there’s no guarantee that Chevy will end the year in its usual second place.
What has suddenly made the perennial third runner-up such an attractive choice for so many buyers? Part of that answer goes back to incentives, which Ram piles on heavily compared with Chevy and Ford. The comparison also doesn’t account for sales of the GMC truck brand, which are essentially re-branded luxury Chevy trucks.
All that aside, buyers are giving Ram the chance it deserves. The trucks, especially when equipped with a Cummins diesel engine, last hundreds of thousands of miles. There’s a saying that’s popular on Ram forums that says the Ram parts will go bad long before the Cummins does. With proper care, though, that won’t happen for a good 300,000 miles or more.
Even in V8 gas-powered guise, the Ram remains a viable, and affordable, entry in the full-size truck market. As Car and Driver said, “It’s hard to go wrong with this truck in any configuration.”
More and more U.S. car buyers are coming to the same realization. Sorry, Dad, but you can count me among them.
What’s your truck of choice and why: Ram, Chevy, or Ford?