DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. light-vehicle sales topped the industry in the fourth quarter of 2021 with 508,451 deliveries despite the ongoing chip shortage.
The automaker said the quarterly total, up 27 percent from the third quarter, was fueled by demand for its newest models such as the Mustang Mach-E, Bronco, Bronco Sport and Maverick.
Ford said it vaulted past rival General Motors during the year's final quarter to become No. 2 in electric vehicle sales, behind Tesla. GM hasn't built the Chevrolet Bolt, its only current volume EV, since August amid a recall and recently extended the downtime to Jan. 28.
Ford's light-vehicle sales for all of 2021 fell 7 percent to 1,891,753, although the automaker was optimistic given the strong end to a year marked by production constraints and sparse dealership lots.
"After a really turbulent and dynamic 2021 in the auto industry, we're pleased with how we finished the year," Andrew Frick, Ford's vice president of U.S. and Canada sales, told reporters Wednesday. "We're in a much better position heading into this year."
Ford finished 2021 with 243,200 vehicles in stock, a 9.6 percent increase from November and the highest in the industry. Ford said 33 percent of its December sales came from customer orders and took in 70,000 new custom orders during the month.
The automaker plans to focus on build-to-order sales for the long term, and Frick said Wednesday that those sales could expand further in 2022. Frick also said that Ford could remain ahead of GM in electrified-vehicle sales in 2022 as it prepares to introduce the E-Transit van and F-150 Lightning.
Sales of Ford's Lincoln luxury brand ended the year down 18 percent to 86,929. That's the lowest total since 2013, which was the first full year of sales for a redesigned MKZ sedan that kicked off a brand revival.
Brands (Dec.): Ford, down 15%; Lincoln, down 51%
U.S. market share: 12.6% in 2021, down from 14% in 2020.
Notable nameplates (Dec.): Ford F-Series, down 16% to 62,496; Explorer, down 21% to 20,715; Mustang, down 7.5% to 4,564; Escape, down 38% to 10,704; Bronco Sport, up 23% to 6,278; Lincoln Corsair/MKC, down 34% to 1,827; Aviator, down 48% to 1,640.
Incentives (Q4): $2,522 per vehicle, down 40% from a year earlier, TrueCar says.
Average transaction price (Q4): $47,314, up 7.2% from a year earlier, according to TrueCar.
Inventory: 243,200 vehicles in December, up 9.6% from November.
Quote: "Ford finished the year strong, as the only U.S. automaker hitting the half-million sales mark in the fourth quarter, making Ford America's bestselling automaker. Last year was a foundational year for Ford in the electrified-vehicle segment and this year we continue to expand, adding the F-150 Lightning and E-Transit to our electric vehicle lineup. Looking to the new year, Ford had just over 70,000 new-vehicle orders in December, which will provide continued momentum into 2022." — Andrew Frick, Ford vice president for U.S. and Canada sales
Did you know? Ford outsold GM by about 22,000 vehicles in the second half of 2021.