Ford Motor Co. sales dropped 4% during October; however, it could have been worse.
The drop was eased by rising inventories, giving dealers more vehicles to sell despite the ongoing shortage of semiconductors.
“Continuous improvement in inventories and new products made Ford the best-selling automaker in America for the second month in a row, which was last accomplished 23 years ago,” said Andrew Frick, Ford vice president of sales for the U.S. and Canada, in a release.
Frick said Ford’s retail sales improved 16% — compared to September — with retail share up 1.6 percentage points. The month-over-month improvement was driven by three things: the always strong F-Series; strong SUV sales led by Bronco, Bronco Sport, Mustang Mach-E; and the first full month of Maverick sales.
Like many other automakers, Ford’s push into electric vehicles continues to gain momentum. The automaker set record for sales electrified vehicles last month, selling 14,062 EVs — an increase of 195% compared with last year. Ford’s E-Transit is sold out and the electric F-150 Lightning has more than 160,000 reservations, Ford noted.
Inventories getting rebuilt
While other manufacturers continue to deal with depleted inventories, Ford said its stock levels continue to grow, totaling 243,000 vehicles at the end of October — this is up 7,000 vehicles over last month, placing the automaker in a strong position relative to its competition as it closes out the year, according to Frick.
In addition, Ford took in 77,000 retail orders for new vehicles in October — up 25,000 compared to September’s new vehicle orders. With improving vehicle inventory, Ford is filling these customer orders at record rates, with 32% of retail sales in October coming from a previously placed new vehicle order.
Earlier this week, several of the automakers — Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Mazda and Kia — reported sales declinesfor October.
Subaru, which saw its sales drop 40%, blamed its slide exclusively on depleted inventories.
A look ahead
“As expected, given supply chain issues in the third quarter, on top of an already lean inventory level after 2020 production interruptions, October 2021 U.S. light-vehicle sales have slowed,” said Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at IHS Markit.
IHS Markit expects light-vehicle sales to be constrained by supply rather than driven by demand through most of 2022.
“Buyer loyalty to brand and segment will be tested, particularly for buyers who do not have the ability to hold off on a purchase, which could have some ripple effect in the future,” IHS notes in its market summary for October.