General Motors Company (GM): Ford Motor Company (F)’s 2014 F-150 Falls to 3rd Place — for Now

Ford’s F-150 still has plenty of loyal fans. But Consumer Reports likes the new Chevy better — at least for now. Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

The latest update in the full-sized pickup wars came from Consumer Reports on Tuesday. The venerable consumer magazine has tested General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’ all-new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups – and it rates  General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s new trucks as the new top dogs.

But as the magazine’s testers point out, it was a close battle: Not between the Chevy and the Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) F-150, America’s top-selling pickup, but between the Chevy and Chrysler’s Ram 1500, which got a big update for 2013.

The Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)? It fell to third.

A tough showing for Ford’s flagship product
Technically, if you look at Consumer Reports’ rating page for full-sized pickups, the Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) fell to fifth – behind the Sierra, the Silverado, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s Chevy Avalanche, and the Ram 1500. That’s a dim showing for the Blue Oval, and it’s at odds with many buyers’ perceptions. What’s the deal?

Well, the deal is pretty simple: Fresher products usually win in these kinds of comparisons. The Chevy is all-new. It was just released a few months ago – in fact, dealers are still selling down the outgoing models. But already there are signs that it’s gaining ground on Ford.

And while the Ram isn’t all-new, it got a major refresh for the 2013 model year, and reviews have been very positive. Consumer Reports‘ testers think the Ram is the most comfortable pickup to drive, with a “smooth ride” and a “whisper-quiet cabin”.

Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has soldiered on with its F-150, which gets a nip and tuck almost every year but which hasn’t had a major refresh since 2011 – and which hasn’t been all-new since 2009.

That is expected to change soon, of course. It’s widely believed that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) will show an all-new F-150 at the North American International Auto Show in January, and will roll it out to dealers next spring. Given the success of Ford’s other recent new products, that new F-150 is likely to be a very strong contender – but meanwhile, the Chevy and the Ram are the top dogs, at least in Consumer Reports’ eyes.