Editor's note: An earlier version of this story posted the incorrect number of consecutive losing months for Ford Motor Co.
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.’s sales slipped for the third straight month thanks to a cutback in fleet sales and a weak car market.
The automaker sold 234,895 vehicles -- excluding medium- and heavy-duty trucks -- as sales slipped 7.2 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Pickup and van sales rose 2.9 percent, while SUV/crossover sales dropped 3.4 percent and car sales plummeted 24 percent.
Retail sales dropped 2 percent, while fleet sales fell 17 percent compared with the same time in 2016, where most of Ford’s fleet orders were front-loaded.
Executives touted the performance of Ford’s money-makers, including its F-series trucks.
“Our high-series Super Duty trucks and all-new F-150 Raptor drove double-digit F-series sales gains in March, along with the strongest year-over-year increase in transaction prices of any truck manufacturer in the industry,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement.
F-series sales rose 10 percent last month. LaNeve said average F-150 prices rose $620 per truck, thanks in part to the new Raptor performance variant, while Super Duty prices rose $6,100. About 56 percent of Super Duty sales last month were of the top three most expensive trim levels.
Ford’s car sales were a different story.
The heavily discounted Fiesta was the only nameplate to see a sales increase. Sales of the Fusion, Ford’s third-most popular vehicle last year, dropped 37 percent. Ford in the middle of March began running a program offering dealers up to $6,000 for some of its car models to help clear the 2016 models off lots.
Overall, LaNeve said Ford would continue to tweak its car inventory numbers to match production to demand. It finished March with a 79-day supply of cars, up from a 73-day supply at the same time last year.
Lincoln sales fell 1.4 percent as every nameplate besides the MKC saw year-over-year declines.
The automaker finished March with an 80-day supply of vehicles, unchanged from March 2016.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.