Improving inventory of F-150 is allowing Ford to offer more competitive incentives as part of its Summer Sales Event promotion, Erich Merkle, the company’s sales analyst, said Wednesday. He said overall incentive spending is down from a year ago and that the truck is selling for $44,100 on average, the highest transaction price in the segment.
“What will be more telling is whether the incentives start to go out nationwide,” Kelley Blue Book’s Anand said. “If limited to higher end trims and packages, this may not have a huge effect for the moment, as a truck still makes plenty of profit.”
Ford cut spending on marketing promotions per vehicle 16 percent in the year's first half to an average $2,736, according to Autodata. Average incentives rose slightly at General Motors to $3,427 and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to $3,277 during the same period, Autodata found.
Ford has been converting its two F-150 factories to make the aluminum truck for 18 months, making it “the slowest and most complex changeover in recent history,” said Jeff Schuster, an analyst at consultant LMC Automotive in Southfield, Mich.
“Ford has a lot, if not everything, riding on the new F-150 and is behind expectations at this stage,” Schuster said. “As GM and Ram continue to apply significant pressure, there is risk that some loyal buyers may be permanently lost or at least lost for several years.”
Ford has said it had only half its normal inventory of the F-150 on dealer lots in June and won't have a full supply until the end of September. The company has also been hampered by a shortage of frames for the redesigned truck.
U.S. sales of the F series fell 2.4 percent in the first half and have dented Ford's earnings.
The trucks were the top-selling vehicle line in the U.S. for the 33rd straight year in 2014. The new F-150's fuel economy increased as much as 29 percent, primarily because the use of aluminum trimmed the truck's weight by about 700 pounds (318 kilograms).
Some dealers began advertising discounts of $10,000 to $11,000 off the new F-150 in June, Automotive News reported on July 1.
Asked about the dealer ads touting $10,000 discounts on F-150, Ford's top U.S. sales executive said the incentives were being offered by individual dealers.
"I can tell you that that number of $10,000 is commonly used by our competition," said Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service. "So you've probably seen a competitive response by a given individual dealer."
Sales of GM's Chevrolet Silverado truck jumped 18 percent last month, as its share of the full-size pickup market grew two points to 25.9 percent. Sales rose 0.6 percent for Fiat Chrysler's Ram pickup and gained 4.3 percent in the first half.