Next-generation F-150 reveal

Ford’s F-Series pickups retain their title of best-selling vehicle in America for the 44th consecutive year.

Ford Motor Co. reported steep drop in sales for the fourth quarter and full year but said the F-Series finished 2020 as the best-selling truck in the U.S. for the 44th consecutive year.

For the fourth quarter, Ford sales dropped 9.8% and for the full year dropped 15.6%. Ford, however, noted it was the nation’s top-selling automotive brand for the 11th consecutive year.

Ford sales were impacted by lower F-150 inventories due to the lingering effects of the Q2 coronavirus production stoppage leading up to the all-new F-150 transition. Super Duty sales maintained a strong selling pace and were up 14.1% while F-150 sales were off 32.7%, the company’s fourth quarter sales report noted.

(End of year auto sales pick up due to pickups.)

Lincoln Aviator sales were up during Q4.

“Fourth quarter represented an inflection point at Ford in our transition from cars to a much greater focus on iconic trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles to better serve our customers,” said Andrew Frick, the new vice president, Ford Sales U.S. and Canada.

“We began to see our strongest evidence of this in December with retail sales up 5.3% with the launch of our new F-150, Bronco Sport and Mustang Mach-E. We are well positioned to see the benefits of our focused efforts throughout 2021.”

Sale of the F-Series pickup truck, the company’s most important vehicle, totaled 787,422 in 2020, making it America’s best-selling pickup for the 44th straight year, Ford officials said.

(Tesla narrowly misses 500K delivery target for 2020.)

While Q4 F-150 sales were off 32.7%, on short inventory, the all-new F-150 is averaging just six days on dealer lots with F-150 Hybrid starting sales in December. High-Series models account for nearly half of early sales mix – approximately 20 points higher than outgoing model.

Ford noted that its SUV sales rose during the quarter.

General Motors, however, has claimed leadership in pickup trucks sales, noting that combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra surpassed 800,000 units last year.

Ford also continued its retreat from the passenger car business with passenger car sales falling 41.1% during the fourth quarter, according to Ford’s sales figures. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker’s luxury unit, Lincoln, outpaced the Ford unit for the quarter and the year. Lincoln sales were down 7% during Q4 and 6.1% for the full year.

Meanwhile Ford brand saw sales dip 10% during the quarter and 16.1% for the full year. Lincoln’s sales bright spots for final quarter were the Aviator, which was up 13.3%, and the Corsair, which replaced the MKC and rose 6.6 percent.

(Ford Fusion could stage a return — this time in crossover form.)

Explorer represents one of the few vehicles to increase its sales in 2020, with a reported gain of 20.9%. The fourth quarter also represents the initiation of Bronco Sport and late December introduction of Mustang Mach-E as Ford transitions from cars to SUVs, Ford noted.

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