DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. had its best retail-sales month since March 2006, selling 183,467 vehicles in the U.S., the highest for any month in more than nine years.
Ford posted its highest F-series number of the year and gains of at least 20 percent for five crossover and SUV nameplates.
Ford sold 71,332 F-series pickups in August, 4.7 percent more than a year ago and the most in any month since the aluminum-bodied F-150 began arriving at dealerships in December. The increase came despite inventories that remain well below year-ago levels.
The Ford brand’s utility lineup had its best August since 1994, even with a lean 38-day supply of those vehicles. Sales of the Edge crossover, which was redesigned this year, rose 36 percent. The Expedition was up 30 percent, and the freshened Explorer jumped 22 percent.
Lincoln had its best August in seven years, due to gains of 37 percent for the MKC and 79 percent for the Navigator. All four of Lincoln’s other nameplates declined.
Total light-vehicle sales for both brands rose 5.7 percent.
“Utilities are just an incredibly hot segment right now,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president for U.S. sales, service and marketing, said during a conference call today. “I’m very, very bullish on the back half of the year. I don’t see anything that would make us be anything but optimistic.”
Only two Ford utilities are missing out on the torrid pace of growth: the Flex, which is marketed as a niche product, and the Escape, which executives have said is limited by production constraints at the plant that makes it in Louisville, Ky.
The Escape is the only one of the 10 top-selling compact crossovers whose sales are negative this year. Escape sales were down 0.4 percent in August, though it still beat the Fusion to become Ford’s highest-volume nameplate after the F series.
“We’re doing everything possible to squeeze more production out,” LaNeve said. “We’re trying to get more availability.”
Even with the Escape constraints, Ford sold 4,713 more utilities than cars last month. A year ago, cars outsold utilities by 8,748.
Sales were down for all but two of Ford’s car nameplates: the Fiesta, up 5.4 percent, and the Mustang, which soared 70 percent. Sales of the Mustang, which was redesigned in 2014, are now up 53 percent on the year.
Ford said it achieved its best August van performance since 1994. Combined sales of the Transit and E-series that the Transit largely has replaced rose 81 percent.