Ford cars struggle in April, but pickups, crossovers minimize the damage

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April was a difficult month for Ford. Every one of its car nameplates slumped vs. a year ago.

The bright spot: Pickups, vans and crossovers. Strong sales of Ford’s workhorse vehicles limited the company’s April decline to 1 percent over April 2013.

Ford and Lincoln brands combined sold 211,126 units.

The F series posted sales of 63,387 units, the pickup’s best April since 2006. The average transaction price was $39,000, up $1,200 from April 2013, according to Erich Merkle, Ford sales analysis reporting manager. The average includes pricey Super Duty models.

The Explorer SUV had its best month in nearly a decade, with sales of 16,629, a gain of 17 percent over a year ago.

The E-series van, which is being replaced this spring by the Transit van, also posted a gain, as did the smaller Transit Connect, which has been refreshed for the 2014 model year.

But some of Ford’s most popular nameplates struggled in April:

• The Escape compact crossover fell 5 percent.

• The Edge mid-sized crossover skidded 29 percent.

• The C-Max hybrid plummeted 42 percent.

Overall, Ford electrified vehicles -- the Focus electric, Fusion Hybrid, C-Max and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid -- were down 12 percent in April.

Lincoln posted sales of 6,803 in April, down 11 percent.

John Felice, Ford’s vice president of marketing sales and service, blamed Lincoln’s decline on the good month in April 2013.

“April 2013 was the first month of volume sales of the MKZ,” he said.

The car launched late because of quality glitches. A large backlog of MKZs was delivered in April 2013, so it posted high sales that month.

“It’s a difficult comparison over last year,” Felice said.

Ford closed out April with 660,000 vehicles in stock, an 81-day supply. Last month, Ford had a 72-day supply.

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@crain.com.


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