Ford finally seems to have its F-series trucks running in high gear.
In August the automaker sold 71,332 pickups, up 4.7 percent from a year ago. It was easily the strongest month this year, the first time since December that F-series sales surpassed the 70,000-unit mark and the best August for F-series sales since the eighth month of 2006.
"Anytime you get more than 70,000 F-series, that's a big number," Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a conference call.
The key to the month was improving inventories, he said. The ramp-up of production of the aluminum-body F-150 has been slower than the company had wanted, making it hard for customers to find the body styles and trim levels they desired.
Ford says it ended August with about 90,000 F-150 pickups in inventory. That's still below the 173,000 units it says it had in inventory a year ago, but up from earlier in the year. Ford started June, for example, with 75,000 F-150s.
LaNeve said F-series inventories are still "tight or not at optimal levels" but better than earlier in the year when they were "absurdly low."