Despite having relatively barren supplies on dealer lots and dismal sales in June, Ford Motor Co. revealed on Friday a dramatic plan to pivot.
Ford is getting a new supply of semiconductor chips and will now ship thousands of F-Series pickup trucks built and parked in lots in states including Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri, the Free Press has learned. The company did not provide specific numbers of vehicles.
“We’re working to get chips into F-Series pickups and get them out to dealers. That’s our first priority,” said Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst at Ford. “We’ll see our inventories improve. It’ll take time but stock will gradually start to improve the second half of the year.”
Ford inventory is at “record lows” right now, he said. “This is having a near-term impact on our sales.”
June wasn’t pretty for Ford, overall.
The company was down 26.9% year over year, despite the fact that last year at this time was peak pandemic. F-Series trucks, the Holy Grail franchise, plummeted 29.9% to 45,673 F-Series trucks sold in June this year from 65,188 in June 2020.
During the first six months, F-Series dropped 1.5% to 362,032 from 367,387 a year ago.
While Ford has made headlines for its limited vehicle supplies amid supply chain disruption, the company still sold 362,032 F-Series trucks while Ranger sold the most vehicles in the first half of a year since 2005 on total pickup sales of 58,371. That grew 26.9% from a year earlier.
The company noted that it’s a lot easier to exhaust inventory in today’s strong sales environment than build it back up. Rebuilding supplies will take the industry well into 2022, Merkle said.
F-150 buyers hungry
Mark Restum is one of many consumers who contributed to the dip in Ford sales.
Restum, 63, loves his 2013 Ford F-150 and he is ready to buy a new one. But the insurance consultant from Denver, Colorado, plans to wait.
“I am shopping for a new F-150 but there’s not much selection at the moment and I’m thinking it might be better to wait,” Restum told the Free Press. “I understand the situation with the parts shortage and still have six months before retiring, I’m not mad or disappointed. I’m actually hopeful that the delay now will result in more selection and lower prices later.”
When he researches online for trucks in the area for sale, Restum usually gets three to five pages of results that match his search for a vehicle good for taking on vacation and off-roading. Most recently, he had just five possibilities and the costs were high, he said.
Also Friday, Ford said it maintained its industry leader status in average transaction prices, which climbed approximately $6,400 over one year ago to $47,800 per vehicle sold.
Overall retail truck sales grew 2.6% in the first half of the year, totaling 420,403 pickups.
Meanwhile, the all-electric Mustang Mach-E and Bronco Sport solidified their front-runner status among consumers. They drove Ford brand retail SUV sales to their best first half of the year sales performance in 20 years, Ford said in its release.
Bronco Sport continued to steal buyers from Jeep, based on industry data.
Ford brand retail SUVs grew 37% over 2020 on sales of 391,190 SUVs in the first half of the year. And Bronco Sport sold 60,514 while Mustang Mach-E sold 12,975.
Overwhelmingly, industry data shows Bronco Sport is taking customers from Jeep more than any other competitor. This is what Ford CEO Jim Farley predicted when he talked to investors last year.
The baby brother to the Bronco is turning on dealer lots within 15 days.
While the bestselling F-Series trucks will always provide a steady revenue stream for Ford, the 118-year-old automaker is also moving aggressively to make its mark in the sale of all-electric vehicles.
Ford sold 56,570 electrified vehicles in the first half of 2020; the F-150 Powerboost Hybrid totaled 17,039. Escape Hybrid and Escape Plug-in Hybrid totaled 15,642, up 45.9% over a year ago. The Mustang Mach-E sold 12,975 through the first half of the year.
It remains challenging to compare any data to 2020, when the U.S. spent much of the year in various periods of shutdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, Ford is reflecting trends toward national luxury consumption with its Lincoln SUV sales of 46,018 during the first half of the year. The Corsair accounted for 13,507.
Ford did not break out the second three months of the year to spotlight second quarter data, choosing instead to provide first-half sales and month of June.
“Through June of this year, Ford retail sales were up 10.7%,” said Andrew Frick, vice president of Ford sales in the U.S. and Canada, in a news release. “With constrained inventories and record turn rates in the second quarter, we have been working closely with our dealers. …”
Commercial fleet sales increased 2.4% with 51,713 Transit Vans sold. Heavy Duty pickups did well, too.
Ford just began selling the full-size Bronco in June with 801 listed for the month
“There’s so much excitement about the Bronco coming,” said Jeff King, vice president and general manager at Bozard Ford Lincoln in St. Augustine, Florida. “It will be nice when we actually have Broncos that we can deliver.”
Ford sold 115,789 vehicles in June in the U.S., with 63,129 trucks and 49,792 SUVs and 2,868 cars. Year to date, this year saw sales helped by Explorer, Expedition, Ranger, Lincoln Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator.
GM crushed sales
In the first six months of 2021:
Electric carmaker Tesla sold nearly 185,000 vehicles in the first three months and 201,250 in the second three months of the year, totaling approximately 402,685 vehicles. The Wall Street darling has a market value of $668.7 billion while Ford has a market value of $58.3 billion and GM has a market value of $85.3 billion.