Lower fleet drives Ford June sales down 5%

on Jul5

Total fleet volume fell 14 percent in June, Ford said, with fleet shipments representing a third of the company’s U.S. deliveries last month. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

Ford Motor Co.’s June sales fell 5 percent as fleet sales declined.

The automaker’s sales to daily rental companies fell 2.4 percentage points to 13 percent of its overall U.S. light-vehicle sales, as companies such as Avis and Hertz take a more cautionary approach amid a plateauing market. Sales to commercial businesses dropped 0.6 percentage points of overall volume and sales to government agencies fell 0.5 percentage points.

Total fleet volume fell 14 percent, Ford said. Fleet volume represented a third of Ford’s U.S. sales in June.

Ford has said the fluctuations in its fleet business — those sales increased 8.4 percent in May — is timing-related, and are tough comparisons to last year, when most of its fleet orders were front-loaded. The automaker still plans to finish the year with about the same fleet sales as 2016.

Ford’s retail sales were flat — off just 36 vehicles — compared with last year.

The company was again driven by pickup/van and SUV/crossover sales, up 1.4 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. Car sales plummeted 23 percent. Through the first six months of the year, Ford sold more SUVs/crossovers than it ever has.

“Customers drove a record 406,464 Ford brand SUV sales in the first half of this year,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement. “F-series continues expanding its sales and share this year, with customers opting for high-series pickups and investing in class-exclusive features that only Ford trucks offer.”

Ford’s F-series sales rose 9.8 percent last month, as average transaction prices rose $3,100 to $45,600. It was Ford’s fourth month in a row selling over 70,000 pickups.

Ford’s SUV/crossover sales were driven by the Explorer, up 19 percent, and the Edge, up 20 percent. Ford blamed a 6.4 percent decline in Escape sales on fleet orders. Escape retail sales rose 5 percent and Ford is shortening its summer shutdown at its Escape plant in Kentucky because it expects continued strong demand.

Sales of Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand rose 5.3 percent; it was the brand’s 17th consecutive month of retail sales gains.

MKC sales increased 16 percent, and Lincoln’s car sales were again propped up by sales of the new Continental, with 973 deliveries.

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