DEARBORN - Sales in Export and Growth (E&G) regions reached 13,031 in March, helping E&G set an all-time first-quarter sales record of 42,915.
Quarterly sales were up 12 percent on the strength of E&G’s best January and February ever and second-best March on record. Sales last month totaled 13,031, just 17 vehicles behind the all-time record, set in 2012.
Ford Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Korea all set March sales records and reported significant year-over-year quarterly increases:
• Ford Middle East – 20,304, up 14 percent
• Asia Pacific – 4,056, up 48 percent
• Sub-Saharan Africa – 3,887, up 38 percent
• South Korea – 1,525, up 103 percent
Within the Middle East, Iraq’s first-quarter sales of 872 vehicles represented a nearly 200 percent increase over 2012. March sales (518) benefited from a free license plate program that may be extended, says Thierry Sabbagh, Ford Middle East sales manager. “We sold 60 cars in just the first two days of April, so we’re looking at ways to keep the momentum going.”
Several markets in the Asia-Pacific region did particularly well, due in large part to strong Ranger sales according to Regional Manager David Westerman. He noted that Malaysia, with sales of 908 vehicles (up 84 percent over March 2012), struck a nice balance with sales of Ranger, Fiesta and Focus, while some of the smaller markets in the South Pacific also had solid growth. New Caledonia (up 72 percent), Papua New Guinea (up 129 percent) and Guam (up 138 percent) led the way in those markets. All four markets also reported strong quarterly year-over-year sales increases.
In South Korea, Ford’s March sales were up 43 percent versus March 2012, leading to record first-quarter sales of 1,525 and giving Ford/Lincoln a 4.3 percent share of the import industry through March (up .9 percentage points compared with 2012). The Explorer was the best-selling truck import, recording 153 sales and growing 56 percent, while car sales were led by Taurus (162) and the all-new Fusion (78), up 780 percent versus 2012.
Nigeria was the sales leader in Sub-Saharan Africa, where its 305 vehicles sold represented a 47 percent increase. Sales in Mozambique were also on the rise, with 117 vehicles sold in March, an 875 percent increase. For the quarter, sales in Nigeria were up 35 percent, while Mozambique’s increased 264 percent over 2012.
Through the end of the first quarter, the Ford Ranger was the best-selling vehicle in Export and Growth, with sales surpassing 7,000 – up nearly 50 percent versus March 2012. Focus (6,617) and Expedition (4,253) were the second and third best-selling vehicles in the first quarter.
Sales of the Ford Fusion and Taurus have also increased year-to-date, up 39 percent and 79 percent respectively versus March 2012.