FORD: 5.1% gain spurred by incentives, SUVs
F-series has best month since 2001
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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story overstated the Explorer’s sales increase in November.
DETROIT -- Aggressive incentive spending and strong demand for pricier trim levels of its newest vehicles helped Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. sales rise 5.1 percent in November.
The automaker sold 196,441 new cars and light trucks last month. Amid an industry-wide record November, sales of Ford-brand vehicles increased 4.6 percent while sales of Lincoln vehicles jumped 19 percent.
Ford’s gain ended a four-month sales skid and marked the first monthly market share increase since June.
Ford’s sales last month were driven in part by new vehicles such as its recently redesigned Super Duty. F-series pickup sales rose nearly 11 percent for the best November since 2001.
Overall sales of Ford and Lincoln SUVs rose 19 percent, while pickup and van sales were up 4.7 percent. Car sales, which have struggled recently, fell 9.7 percent.
The performance included a 10 percent increase in retail sales -- Ford’s best November for retail sales in 12 years -- and a 9 percent decrease in fleet sales to daily rental companies and government agencies.
The industry benefited from two extra November selling days vs. last year.
Pleased with pickups
“Strong retail sales increases for both F-150 and our all-new Super Duty pickups drove F-series above the 70,000 vehicle mark -- a November threshold we have not seen in 15 years,” Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement.
“Plus, strong consumer demand for well-equipped Super Dutys helped boost Ford’s overall average transaction prices in November, which are up $1,000 versus a year ago -- well ahead of the industry average of $320.”
LaNeve said the Lariat and other high-end trims made up 71 percent of Super Duty sales last month.
“We’ve had a great launch in terms of getting the right mix to the dealers,” LaNeve said. “We’re still building inventory in the ramp-up.”
Thanks to the Super Duty, Ford has a shot to sell 800,000 F-series trucks this year, a mark it hasn’t reached since 2005, LaNeve said.
Among Ford SUVs, Expedition sales jumped 75 percent, Edge sales rose 32 percent, Explorer sales rose 14 percent and Escape sales rose nearly 11 percent.
Ford’s incentive spending increased $460 per vehicle last month from November 2015, below the industry average increase of $570, LaNeve said. Many of the discounts came as part of year-end holiday events.
Sales for the Lincoln luxury brand were driven by its new Continental flagship sedan, which helped Lincoln car sales jump 42 percent. The Continental outsold crosstown rival General Motors’ Cadillac CT6 by 250 vehicles.
LaNeve said Continental stayed on dealer lots for just 13 days last month, and the top two trim levels made up 50 percent of sales.
Despite Ford’s strong month, Toyota Motor Corp. outsold Ford for the first time this year after coming close twice this summer. Toyota's margin was 1,204 units to rank No. 2 in the industry, behind GM.
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