DETROIT -- Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co.’s president of the Americas, suggested that pro-growth policies from President-elect Donald Trump could help lead to more truck sales, even as the overall U.S. market plateaus.
U.S. sales of Ford’s venerable F-Series totaled 820,000 units in 2016, its best sales year since 2005, and “there could be more,” Hinrichs said Wednesday at the Automotive News World Congress. “If the infrastructure investment in the United States takes off as part of the conversation with the new administration, that certainly could help the industry and the business.”
Hinrichs said there’s a sign hanging in Dearborn emblazoned with the F-150’s peak annual sales total of about 930,000 trucks, and said he hopes to one day sell one million in a year, although “the customers will drive that.”
Ford’s trucks are the most profitable part of its business, and are contributing to what the company expects to be a $10.2 billion pretax profit in 2016. In 2015, it made $10.8 billion.
Hinrichs said the company is more focused on improving those numbers, instead of chasing market share as Ford, and other automakers, did in the past.
“The humbling experience we all went through in the North American industry reminded us all that margin and cash flow are in many respects more important than market share,” he said, referring to the crisis years of 2006-09. “Market share matters,” he said, but “it’s not the primary goal.”
Hinrichs noted that there’s room to prune Ford’s portfolio in the future, especially on the car side.
“Every good business, over time, should be pruning its portfolio to make room for new stuff and remove some things that are past their time,” he said. “We’ll continue to do that.”
By contrast, the SUV side of the product lineup will grow through the end of the decade. Ford earlier this week said it would revive the Bronco SUV as one of five new utility vehicles it plans to bring to market by 2020.
Speaking to reporters after his speech, Hinrichs said the Bronco will be “true to its heritage” as an off-road, rugged, capable SUV, although he declined to offer many design details or say if it would be a two-door or four-door SUV.
“You’ll recognize it as a Bronco,” he said.