United States automakers Ford and GM are doing battle over pickup truck buyers in Texas, and the University of Texas is its key battleground.
This past week, GM’s Chevrolet brand trumpeted a deal naming the Silverado pickup truck as the official truck of the Texas Longhorns and the Texas Exes. The Silverado is now billed as the “Official Truck of Bevo,” the Longhorns’ mascot. This fall, Longhorn football fans will see the Silverado name and images plastered all over Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Why are GM and Ford dueling in the Lone Star State? The answer is simple: Texas accounts for one-sixth of all pickup-truck sales in the entire country.
A day after the Silverado deal was revealed, Ford trotted out a news release bragging about the eighth year of the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Player of the Week program. Ford’s announcement touted the automaker as “the undisputed truck leader in Texas,” with its F-Series trucks leading the pickup pack among all automakers. Ford’s announcement even noted that current UT running back Johnathan Gray is the only two-time Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Year.
So, why are GM and Ford dueling in the Lone Star State? The answer is simple: Texas accounts for one-sixth of all pickup-truck sales in the entire country.
In a recent article, the industry publication Automotive News observed that Texas “is shaping up as the key battleground in a pickup war that will grow especially fierce over the next two years.”
Through April, Ford controlled almost 40 percent of the pickup market in Texas, compared with the GM brand's respectable 34.2 percent, according to Automotive News.
In a statement, Chris Perry, vice president of marketing at Chevrolet, said the new UT partnership “complements the Silverado’s overall marketing campaign, with its strong focus on Texas, where a Longhorn fan is almost twice as likely to buy a truck than the average consumer.”
While Chevrolet caters to the Longhorn crowd, Ford continues its focus on high school football in Texas. In a news release, Ford did some name-dropping by reminding us that Heisman Trophy winners Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel both received its Player of the Week honor when they were in high school.
“Honoring Texas high school athletes with this program is one of Ford’s favorite endeavors,” said Chris Rushwin, regional sales and marketing manager at Ford. “The F-150 is the best-selling truck in Texas, and clearly, the state is tops for producing some of the best football players anywhere.”
The Chevrolet-Ford feud gives new meaning to the phrase “Texas Fight,” doesn’t it?