DETROIT -- Sales of the Ford F series surged 29 percent last month in the face of a bitter Chevrolet ad campaign attacking the F-150’s aluminum body as too fragile.
The rest of Ford Motor Co.’s lineup posted a 0.8 percent decline from June 2015, with car volume dropping 12 percent. Overall, the automaker reported a 6.4 percent gain for the month.
Ford has sold more than 70,000 of its full-size pickups in three of the past four months. In the first half of 2016, the F series outsold the combined total of all eight Ford and Lincoln car nameplates, 395,244 to 391,273.
“We had a sensational F-series month, particularly with F-150,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service, said on a conference call with analysts and reporters. “It’s just been a continuation of what’s been a great story with this new product.”
F-150 up 40%
F-150 sales jumped 40 percent in June, LaNeve said, though Ford only publicly reports a total F-series tally that also includes Super Duty versions. He said fleet sales of the F series were higher than a year ago, attributing the increase to commercial and government deliveries that he said are profitable, but that retail sales rose even more.
Negative ads in the vein of Chevy’s latest campaign, which shows the bed of an F-150 being heavily damaged by a falling toolbox and a load of landscaping bricks dropped from five feet above, are “not unusual” in the pickup market, LaNeve said. Chevy started airing the ads in early June.
“We’re the clear market leader,” he said. “They’re going to try things. They tried this, and the numbers speak for themselves.”
Ford said incentives on the F-150 were flat compared with May, though they are up from a year ago, when Ford was still ramping up output of the redesigned model.
Elsewhere in Ford’s lineup, sales rose 86 percent in June for the Expedition SUV and 20 percent for the Escape crossover. But sales of the Edge and Explorer fell by double digits.
Lincoln achieved a 5.8 percent sales increase, including a 27 percent gain for the redesigned MKX. Lincoln sales are up 13 percent on the year.
LaNeve said Lincoln has been performing especially well in markets such as California and the northeastern U.S., where import luxury brands dominate.
“We’re starting to see great coastal momentum that’s coming on with Lincoln,” he said.
Among cars, only the newly freshened Fusion and Lincoln MKZ posted increases. Halfway through 2016, sales of all Ford and Lincoln cars have declined, while eight out of the brands’ nine utility-vehicle nameplates have posted gains. The exception is the Lincoln Navigator, which is down 0.7 percent, or 38 units.
The nameplate with the biggest increase in the first half of the year was the Transit, up 36 percent. Ford said it was the company’s best June for commercial vans since 1978.
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