Chevrolet dreamed the impossible dream. On Dec. 31, that dream may come true.
When Chevy initiated its "American Revolution" marketing program this year, one of its announced goals was to regain first place in car-truck sales. Chevrolet hasn't been the leader since 1986.
Colleagues smiled politely when Chevy talked about unseating Ford. In the auto business, you don't laugh outright at Chevrolet, but a polite smile is permitted if Chevy makes a preposterous statement.
Chevy's dream of being No. 1 was pretty preposterous. After all, in the last 10 years, Ford's winning margin has never been less than 200,000 units. In 1998, 1999 and 2000, Ford won by more than 800,000. Last year, it was 243,992. How was Chevrolet going to overcome deficits like that?
But pay attention. Going into October, Chevy was only 8,303 sales behind Ford for this year.
No way, Chevrolet
For the first six months of this year, there was no way Chevy was going to challenge Ford. Ford led by 67,567 after three months and lengthened its margin to 107,157 at midyear. Ford outsold Chevrolet in every one of those six months.
Then came the third quarter. Chevy loved it. Ford didn't. By the end of August, Chevy was down only 53,953, and in September, Chevy blew Ford out of the water, winning by an astonishing 45,650 sales. By Sept. 30, Chevrolet had reduced Ford's year-to-date advantage to 8,303 vehicles.
It would take a brave person to predict the year's outcome in print, but keep this in mind: Chevrolet is on a roll; Ford is being rolled.
Chevrolet has done it by a virtual wipeout of Ford in car sales. At this time a year ago, Ford had sold 8,000 more cars than Chevy. Now, Chevy has sold 165,000 more than Ford. Ford sits in fourth place in car sales behind Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda.