Ford dragged down by weak car, Lincoln demand
Ford's April car sales dropped 11 percent, while sales of SUVs and trucks -- including pickups and commercial vans -- each fell 1 percent.
DETROIT -- Slower car sales pushed Ford Motor Co. to a 5 percent sales decline for April. The automaker sold 179,658 vehicles last month.
Ford brand sales fell 5 percent to 173,350, while Lincoln sales slipped 13 percent to 6,308.
The Fiesta subcompact suffered the biggest decline, down 44 percent from April 2011. Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said fuel economy-conscious customers opted for the Focus. Focus sales rose 13 percent for the month.
"Last year we were just launching Focus," Czubay said during the company's monthly sales call to journalists and analysts. "That created demand for the Fiesta. Now that Fiesta and Focus are on lots, they're really choosing Focus. On the Fiesta, we're at the normal volume where we think it will be."
Cars, trucks down
Overall, car sales dropped 11 percent, while sales of SUVs and trucks -- including pickups and commercial vans -- each fell 1 percent.
SUV results were dragged down by a 20 percent drop in sales of the Escape, which ended production last month in Kansas City, Mo. Ford has begun producing the 2013 Escape at its Louisville, Ky., plant. That vehicle will begin to arrive in dealerships this month.
All other SUVs posted higher sales. Explorer sales rose 7 percent to 13,419, while Edge sales increased 12 percent to 10,520.
F-series pickup sales rose 4 percent to 47,453. As usual, it was Ford's biggest seller. On the other hand, Ranger sales tumbled 63 percent to 1,990.
Lincoln edges Mini
No Lincoln vehicle cracked the 2,000 sales mark for the month. The MKX crossover was the Lincoln leader at 1,882 units, up 44 percent.
The MKZ sedan, which was Lincoln's sales leader in April 2011, dropped 27 percent to 1,863. Lincoln will introduce a redesigned MKZ in the fall.
Overall, Lincoln accounted for just 3.5 percent of overall Ford sales for the month, down from 4.0 percent a year ago.
Lincoln is in the middle of a reinvention and has just introduced refreshed versions of the MKS sedan and MKT crossover. But Lincoln's sales slide left its April total just 577 units ahead of sales by BMW AG's Mini brand.
Ford said 34 percent of its April sales were to fleets.
April was the first month that police and other law-enforcement agencies began taking deliveries of its Police Interceptor models. Ford sold 547 sedans and 667 SUVs in that line. The sedan version is based on the Taurus, while the SUV is based on Explorer.
Up for the year
Adjusted for three fewer selling days, Ford sales grew 7 percent, Czubay said.
Despite the April decline, the automaker's light-vehicle sales are still up 5 percent for the year to date at 717,480.
Ford said it had 475,000 vehicles in dealers' stocks at the end of April, a 66-day supply, compared with a 54-day supply a year earlier.
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