When it came to reporting its monthly sales, Ford focused on the positive in August — it was better than July. The company’s retail sales jumped 6.5% compared to the previous month, but overall numbers were down 33.1% on a year-over-year basis.
The Detroit-area automaker, which has been hammered by the semiconductor chip shortage, found plenty to be positive about despite retail sales dropping 39.6% last month, with truck sales down 35.7% and SUVs falling 30.4 percent.
Those bright spots came in the form of the aforementioned jump in retail sales on a month-over-month basis as well as F-Series sales jumping 11% during that same timeframe. The company also noted that reservations of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup surpassed 130,000 units.
The popularity surprised the company, which was optimistic about it anyway, resulting in Ford officials announcing plans to double the initial production run of the truck.
Overall, the new vehicle market was down about 17% in August, posting a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, or SAAR, of 13.1 million units. It’s substantial drop from the industry’s April high of 18.5 million units.
On the rebound
In one sense, Ford’s month-over-month numbers aren’t a massive surprise, as July was expected to be the worst due to the chip issues. By brand, Ford sales slumped 32.5% compared to the year-ago results with the largest declines, by percentage, coming from the Ford Mustang (51.1%), Edge (39.2%), Explorer (56.9%) and Ranger (67.7%).
Lincoln saw a steeper drop at 44.3% compared with last August. All of its vehicles reported negative results except for the Nautilus, which is going to be phased out in a few years, which was up 38.6 percent. For the year to date, Ford is down 5.2% while Lincoln is down 9.9%, leading to a total decline through the end of August of 5.4 percent.
Despite this, the company’s sales are on the uptick, as evidenced by the improvements compared to July’s numbers. The company’s push to spend $30 billion on BEVs is already generating positive results, as the company set a new sales record for electrified vehicles last month.
The company sold 8,756 electrified models, up 67.3% from last year. The company’s offerings are securing new customers, it reported they bringing in new buyers at a rate 8 points better than its overall conquest rate.
Do you have a reservation?
In addition to the news on the F-150 Lightning reservations, the company noted its recently introduced compact pickup, the Maverick, now boasts more than 100,000 reservations as well. California, Texas and Florida are the hot spots for the new truck.
Mustang Mach-Es continue to turn quickly on dealer lots with the first Mustang Mach-E GTs already sold in August, Ford noted. Mustang Mach-Es are now shipping with available Ford BlueCruise hands-free driver assist technology.
In addition to seeing improvements August versus July, the vehicles the company does sell, add more to its bottom line.
Ford’s product shift away from cars to more AWD/4X4 and higher trim series trucks and SUVs is showing results. The average transaction price hit a new record of approximately $50,800 per vehicle — a $9,700 increase over last year, the company reported.Additionally, the company’s incentive spending as a percentage of average transaction pricing is the lowest of its major competitors at just 3.2 percent. This is down more than 7 points compared to year ago and a full point lower than the overall industry average.