DETROIT -- With stocks of the 2015 aluminum-body F-150 pickup still tight as the company ramps up production at its Kansas City Assembly Plant, Ford Motor Co. sales dropped 3.5 percent in March.
Ford continues to fill the pipeline with the redesigned F-150. Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said the Kansas City plant is now running three daily crews and the redesigned pickup accounted for 29 percent of retail sales in March.
Ford also produces 2015 F-150s at its Dearborn Assembly Plant in Michigan, where production began late last year.
LaNeve said supply of the 2015 model is running about 56 days and will be up to 60 days by the end of April.
“Dealer stock is going to be tight for the next couple of months. We’ve prioritized retail customers,” LaNeve said today on Ford’s monthly sales call. “We expect a solid stock position at the end of the second quarter, which will allow us to better meet the demand of retail and fleet customers.”
Ford is concentrating on filling retail orders for the new pickup, and the company said retail sales were up 10 percent from a year ago.
The F-series remains Ford’s biggest seller by far. Ford sold 67,706 of them in March, down 4.6 percent from a year ago. Ford does not list sales of the F-150 and Super Duty pickups separately.
LaNeve said F-series transaction prices jumped an average of $2,100 this March over last March.
Overall, Ford brand sales dropped 3.6 percent to 226,091, while Lincoln dropped 3.1 percent to 8,695.
By category, overall Ford car sales dropped 12 percent while light trucks rose 0.9 percent.
The Mustang was the only Ford brand car to post a sales gain for the month — up 36 percent to 12,663 on the strength of the redesigned 2015 model. Mustang has sold particularly well in crucial West Coast markets, LaNeve said.
But the rest of Ford’s car fleet did not fare so well as car sales continued to fall compared with SUVs and pickups. Sales of the Taurus full-size sedan, including the Police Interceptor sedan, sank 37 percent to 4,164.
Other Ford cars also posted double-digit losses: the Fiesta, down 25 percent to 4,948; Focus, down 15 percent to 20,497; and Fusion, down 12 percent to 29,044. The C-Max fell 23 percent to 1,769.
On the SUV-crossover front, Escape sales dropped 8.4 percent to 26,303. LaNeve said some of that drop was because of a tight supply.
“We’re running at about a 48-day supply for Escape,” he said. “We’d like to be in the 60-65 day range. We feel very good about our Escape business.”
The Explorer remained strong, jumping 19 percent to 23,058, including the Police Interceptor based on the Explorer.
Lincoln continued to rely on its two newest models, the MKZ midsize sedan and MKC compact crossover. Though MKZ sales dropped 30 percent to 2,842, it was still Lincoln’s biggest seller. Lincoln sold 2,070 of the MKC, its newest nameplate.
Sales of the full-size Navigator, refreshed for 2015, grew 47 percent to 1,097.
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