DEARBORN - Ford ended 2013 on a high note, eclipsing Toyota brand vehicle sales by 450,000 units and reclaiming the title of America’s best-selling vehicle brand for the fourth year in a row.
“It was an incredible year,” said Ford U.S. Sales Analyst Erich Merkle. “What makes this exciting is that in 2012 we outsold the second place brand, Toyota brand by about 330,000 vehicles and last year the spread grew by 120,000 vehicles.”
Also impressive is the fact that gains were made across the entire Ford portfolio.
“It was encouraging to see throughout the year and at the close of 2013 that we had double-digit retail sales increases in cars, utilities and trucks – up 12 percent, 13 percent and 17 percent respectively over last year,” said Merkle. “We’re no longer just a truck company. We love F-Series. We sold more than 750,000 F-Series trucks last year. But we’re also seeing strong gains coming from passenger cars and utilities.”
Merkle said Ford’s success in 2013 was driven by the Fusion, Fiesta, Escape and F-Series, all of which set sales records.
“The other thing that’s fascinating is where the sales came from. The fastest growing region of the country for the Ford brand last year was the West where retail sales were up 21 percent. The second was the Southeast where our retail sales were up 17 percent,” he said. “Those are areas that have been traditionally – and still are – very strong areas for the Japanese automakers. It shows me that we’re making gains not just against the Detroit automakers but against companies like Honda and Toyota.”
Ford’s market share increased in 2013, up half a percentage point over 2012.
“That’s a bigger share point gain than any full-line automaker for the year,” said Merkle.
As for the month of December, Merkle says it was a good month relative to some of Ford’s competitors with overall sales up 2 percent over last year and retail sales up 3 percent.
“The December sales cadence was fairly typical – slow early on, but producing strong numbers at the end of the month after the Christmas holiday making it our best December retail sales month since 2005,” he said. “General Motors and Toyota were both down in December.”
Fusion sales in December were up 27 percent over the same time last year – setting a record for the month – and Escape sales were up 22 percent for the month. Explorer sales were also strong, up 13 percent.
F-Series trucks finished the year with a big bang, topping 70,000 units in December – an 8 percent gain over last year – and continuing the brand’s reign as the country’s best-selling truck for 37 years and the best-selling vehicle for 32 years.
“We sold an average of one F-Series every 41 seconds in 2013,” said Merkle. “If you lined up all the F-Series pickups we sold last year bumper-to-bumper, the line would extend all the way from Los Angeles to just past New York.”
While 2013 was an impressive year from a sales perspective, Merkle said employees need to stay focused to keep the momentum going in 2014.
“We’ve got more products launching this year than ever before in Ford’s history so it’s going to be an incredible amount of work on everyone’s part to make sure we maintain our performance,” he said. “And it’s important to remember that not all of that work will show up as we go through 2014, as we will be transitioning a number of products. We will see the fruits of our labor more in 2015, as change overs are completed and we benefit from a strong 2014 product cadence.”