Ram Truck pick-ups imported from the US and remanufactured to right-hand-drive have outsold stablemate Jeep in Australia for the first time.
Official new-car sales figures for March 2020 show Ram Trucks reported 262 vehicles as sold – the majority of them the Ram 1500 Express and Ram 1500 Laramie – while Jeep’s monthly tally across all models was 258.
The Ram Truck result is a 30 per cent increase for the month – and year-to-date – proving Australians have an almost insatiable appetite for full-size US pick-ups.
The waiting list for some Ram Truck models stretches three months, but the Melbourne facility is working 24 hours, five days a week to keep up with demand.
Jeep’s March decline, meanwhile, appears to be an anomaly. The off-road specialist had been tracking well since the beginning of the year, posting a modest increase of 0.6 per cent in a market that had declined by 10.3 per cent in the first two months of 2020.
Jeep also has a comfortable lead over Ram when the first three months of 2020 are combined.
Despite growing concerns amid the coronavirus, the Australian new-car market held up relatively well in March, with sales slowing by 17.9 per cent versus much bigger declines overseas. The US and China reported slowdowns in March of about 80 per cent.
The Australian new-car market is holding up reasonably well because all showrooms are allowed to remain open and they have good stock levels due to the slowdown leading up to March. It means if a dealer has a car in stock, they can deliver it, after negotiations are done via phone or email.
March is historically the second biggest month of the year for new-car sales in Australia as it marks with the end of the Japanese financial year.
Given the majority of new vehicles sold in Australia are from Japan, all brands – regardless of their origin – sharpen their pencils in March to remain competitive, making it a buyer’s market.
The success of US-style pick-ups is likely to come as welcome news to the limited number of Holden dealers poised to sign up as General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) outlets.
Although Detroit is yet to formally establish GMSV in Australia, CarAdvice understands negotiations are progressing and there should be some news by the end of the year.
Ram Truck pick-ups and GMSV vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (pictured above) are in fact reassembled in right-hand-drive to factory quality standards under the same roof as each other, by the Walkinshaw Automotive Group in Melbourne.