Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) released its first quarter sales report on April 1. Quarterly sales rose year-on-year thanks to strong demand for trucks and cars. However, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in dealerships being closed for part of the year, which had a negative impact on sales.
Ford sold a total of 521,334 vehicles in the first quarter, up 1% over the same period last year. The Michigan-based automaker said its sales had been positively impacted by its investment in electric vehicles.
Trucks had the best first-quarter retail sales in 13 years, while SUVs had the best retail sales in nearly 20 years. Combined truck and SUV retail sales increased 30.8%.
The growth was partially offset by lower F-150 inventory levels as production activities ceased in March 2020 and continued through mid-May, resulting in a decline in production volume.
Andrew Frick, Vice President of Ford Sales in the US and Canada, summarized the quarterly performance:
“Ford’s retail sales exceeded 2020 and 2019 sales. Our customers are excited about our new range of electric vehicles. The all-new all-electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid took Ford’s total electric vehicle sales to a record start in the first quarter. Sales rose by 74 percent compared to the previous year. Our brand new Bronco Sport achieved record monthly sales in March, helping Ford brand SUVs get off to their best start in 20 years. “
Thanks to strong demand for the Explorer, Expedition and the all-new Bronco Sport, quarterly SUV retail sales increased 37% year over year.
Lincoln’s luxury vehicles saw retail sales grow 14.1% quarterly. Sales were mainly driven by the strong performance of the Lincoln Corsair with sales of 7,114 units.
Trucks are a profitable segment for automakers, especially Ford, as the F-Series has been the top-selling pickup truck in the US for 44 years. Unit sales of the F-series totaled 203,797 vehicles in the first quarter (plus 9.2%).
Going forward, Ford believes auto sales will continue to rise as businesses resume and customers return to their normal travel habits. In addition, low interest rates and higher customer savings are expected to have a positive impact on demand for cars.
However, the massive transfer of wealth from the rest of the population to the richest Americans during the pandemic is expected to negatively impact demand for cars in the future.
Disclosure: I do not hold any positions in the stocks mentioned.
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About the author:
A veteran writer with a keen interest in the automotive, technology, telecommunications, retail, and aerospace industries.