DETROIT — A 2015 move by Ford Motor Co. to shift production of its biggest trucks to Ohio from Mexico and stop buying their powertrains from outside suppliers has opened a new profit pipeline for hundreds of dealers and helped sales reach their highest level in more than 20 years.
Combined sales of the F-650 and F-750 rose 83 percent in the first half of the year, according to Ford. The company said it had gained nearly 5 percentage points of share through April in the Class 6 and 7 chassis- cab segment. With almost 20 percent of the Class 6 and 7 chassis-cab market, the automaker now trails only truck manufacturers International and Freightliner.
The medium-duty trucks, commonly used by construction and utility companies, make the F-150 and even some Super Duty models look puny by comparison. But the number of Ford dealerships that have made room on their lots to sell the high-margin behemoths has risen 25 percent this year. About 500 dealers now service them, up from roughly 100 in 2015.
"It's been a big help to our bottom line," said Jeff McKee, general sales manager of Friendly Ford in Geneva, N.Y.
The store started selling and servicing the medium trucks last year after a facilities upgrade. He said it was a "natural progression" from selling Super Duty pickups and wishes the dealership had signed on sooner.