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Ford Sales Slip But Automaker Can’t Complain

Executive Summary

The automaker delivered 235,429 light vehicles last month over 26 selling days, according to Wards Intelligence data, compared with 235,508 in the same period last year with 25 days to move the metal.

Ford’s May U.S. daily sales fell 3.9%, although the automaker continued to enjoy strong demand for its bread-and-butter F-150 large pickup and results for the month were skewed by an extra selling day creating unfavorable year-over-year comparisons.

Dearborn, MI-based Ford delivered 235,429 light vehicles last month over 26 selling days, according to Wards Intelligence data, compared with 235,508 in the same period last year with 25 days to move the metal.

Mark LaNeve, vice president-U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service at Ford, says including heavy-duty models the F-Series approaches the halfway mark of the sales year with good momentum, and the newly redesigned Lincoln Navigator large luxury SUV is out of the gates quickly.

“F-Series is off to its best start since 2000 and is on track to deliver its ninth consecutive (yearly) gain,” LaNeve says in a statement. “Navigator continues to fly off dealer lots, with an increasing number of customers coming from Mercedes and Land Rover.”

Big-pickup sales across the industry remain robust as gasoline prices stay relatively low, while SUVs of all sizes maintain their popularity with buyers fleeing cars for greater cargo room and new levels of comfort and convenience in the segment.

Ford truck sales, including Lincoln and CUVs, totaled 182,911 compared with 52,518 cars to reflect the industry trend. Ford brand sales grew to 225,674 from 225,220, while Lincoln deliveries edged down to 9,775 from 10,288.

Even with the extra selling day, F-150 sales grew 6% to 78,541 units from 71,285 in the same period last year. Navigator sales more than doubled to 1,837 copies from 826.

Extensively redone to levels of luxury previously unseen by the nameplate, the new Navigator even has the segment-leading Cadillac Escalade on its heels with big discounts to retain buyers until its redesign arrives later this year.

Sales of the compact Ford Escape CUV, which occupies one of the industry’s hottest segments, also nearly matched year-ago on sales of 26,993 units compared with 27,830. However, sales of the popular Ford Explorer fullsize CUV weakened 14.9% to 22,676 units from 25,632, although the extra selling day again may have played a role.

The all-new EcoSport small CUV, which also plays in a wildly popular segment and has been out for just a few months, saw 5,481 takers.

On the car side of the business, the Ford Focus performed best last month with demand off 10% to 16,144 units from 17,244 in the same period last year. Sales of the Fusion midsize sedan, which will go away soon as Ford restructures its portfolio to better reflect consumer demand, tumbled 32.1% to 15,253 units from 21,603.

Deliveries of the venerable Ford Mustang sports coupe rose 6.3% to 8,739 copies from 7,895.

The Lincoln Continental large luxury sedan, which Ford brought to market last year to great fanfare, saw demand wilt 40.5% to 660 units from 1,061. The MKC midsize CUV was the brand’s best performer, up a sturdy 2.0% to 2,677 units from 2,524.

Ford sold 32.5% of last month’s volume though fleet, which includes rental-car companies and government and commercial groups, down slightly from 33.3% last year.

Ford closed the month of May with 678,396 cars and truck in stock, including vehicles in transit to dealers, with 517,132 of them trucks and CUVs against 161,264 cars. Days’ supply of those three groups equate to 66, 77 and 80. Overall days’ supply stood at 73.

jamend@wardsauto.com

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