DEARBORN - Ford’s U.S. vehicle sales outpaced the industry during the month of September and the company was one of the only major automakers to show significant sales gains last month – up 6 percent versus the same time last year.
Ford’s sales gain is particularly significant when you consider the fact that the industry counted the Labor Day holiday weekend – a very strong sales weekend – in August this year.
“If the Labor Day weekend falls in September, it’s an apples-to-apples comparison with September of last year because the holiday weekend is typically counted in September. But because it fell in August it made September artificially weak this year relative to last year,” explained Ford U.S. Sales Analyst Erich Merkle.
“Despite that, Ford still outperformed the industry and produced a positive gain of 6 percent.”
Merkle says the reason the company did so well is because of the diversity of its product portfolio.
“As I have mentioned before, this economic recovery we’re experiencing now is different than previous recoveries for Ford, especially if you go back to 2006-7. September again supported my assertion.” he said. “When we took out that ‘home improvement’ loan in 2006 we took that money and we invested it in our products. We invested in F-Series but we also invested very heavily in cars and utilities, and all of those vehicles are paying off for us. We’re seeing growth across our entire vehicle range.”
F-Series sales were up 10 percent in September versus last year, marking the fifth straight month of vehicle sales above 60,000. What’s more, Ford F-Series trucks outsold combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Cruze, Tahoe and Camaro.
“That’s powerful,” said Merkle. “I think it speaks volumes to how far ahead we are relative to our competition in the full-size pickup segment. We continue to compete favorably even with their newest products.”
September car sales were up 14 percent, led by Fusion sales which were up 62 percent compared with a year ago.
“This is our best September sales ever for Fusion,” said Merkle. “People love the new Fusion, especially the styling of the vehicle. It has an appearance that they want to associate with.”
Merkle says Fusion’s appeal is also evident by the fact customers are choosing to buy the higher-level model series.
“It has a lot to do with design execution of the vehicle,” he said. “If you look at the Toyota Camry nobody wants the higher-level Camry because they view the vehicle as transportation and become more price sensitive. But with the Fusion people want the bigger wheels and the extra content and features because they see the vehicle as being more aspirational than what the sticker price might indicate.”
Fiesta also had its best September ever with sales up 29 percent.
“Fiesta continues to do very well on the coasts, particularly in its largest markets like Los Angeles and San Francisco,” said Merkle. “Phoenix is really becoming a big market for Fiesta, and we’re seeing a lot of growth in the Dallas region as more and more people in Texas are starting to buy smaller vehicles.”