RUNNING THE NUMBERS

F-series sales: Steep descent to below 500,000?

Ford moved the 2009 F-150 launch to November from December.
How the mighty F has fallen. Though still America's top-selling vehicle, Ford's F-series pickup is tracking at below 500,000 sales for the full year. It even could finish at less than half its 2004 peak of 939,463.

True, a redesigned F-150 arrives this fall, and big pickups could benefit from declining fuel prices. But given the credit crunch and waning consumer confidence, there's no guarantee of a fourth-quarter surge.

"You tell me what's going to happen in the next three months," said Ford sales analyst George Pipas.

Through September, F-series sales were down 26.9 percent from the same period in 2007, to 392,698 units. Last month Ford sold 32,727 units. At September's rate of sales, the F series will finish 2008 at about 490,000. Ford's big truck last finished below 500,000 in 1992.

Ford has advanced the launch of the 2009 F-150 to November from December. But Pipas said, "Moving up the marketing launch is not going to pump up sales at all because you can only sell what's on the ground."

F droop
Fordís F-series pickup is on course to fall below 500,000 sales for the first time since 1992.
2008: 490,000*
2007: 690,589
2006: 796,039
2005: 901,463
2004: 939,463
*Automotive News forecast
Source: Company, Automotive News Data Center

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com

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