DEARBORN – Driven by strong sales of two of Ford’s newest vehicles, the Ford Fusion and Escape, Ford’s share of the “super segment,” comprised of subcompacts, compacts, midsize sedans and small utilities, stands at 13 percent through the first four months of 2013 – representing a gain of 2 share points compared to the same period last year.
The future success of automakers in the United States will in large part be based on market gains in four key vehicle segments – subcompacts, compacts, midsize sedans and small utilities. Combined, these four segments represent more than half of all new vehicle sales in the U.S. In 2004 the super segment was only 35 percent of the total market.
“Ford’s share has grown this year faster than all other automakers. The driving force behind this is our phenomenal rate of growth in the super segment and our continued success with these key vehicles in the long-dominated Japanese regions of the country,” said Erich Merkle, Ford U.S. sales analyst. “Once our additional manufacturing capacity on Fusion comes on line, the battle for sales leadership in the midsize segment will tighten considerably.”
Over the last five years, Ford’s market share gains in the super segment have been among the fastest in the industry. In 2008, Ford had 8 percent share of this segment. A good portion of these gains have come at the expense of Honda and Toyota.
In 2008 Honda and Toyota captured approximately 36 percent of super segment sales in the U.S. For the first four months of 2013 that number declined to 28 percent, while Ford gained share in the super segment over the same period. During the first four months of this year Ford’s share stands at 13 percent, up 2 points from the same period a year ago and moving ever closer to Toyota’s position of 15 percent.
Ford expects more growth in the super segment as baby boomers continue to downsize their vehicle purchases and first-time millennial buyers enter the market. Combined, baby boomers and millennials account for more than 160 million people in the U.S.
“Each of our vehicles in the segment is doing great things for Ford in different ways,” said Amy Marentic, group marketing manager, Ford global small and medium cars. “Two-thirds of all buyers shop both the Escape and Fusion when they come to our dealerships, and sales of both are way up.”
Fusion is closing the sales gap with Camry, and in the first four months of 2013 Fusion sales were up 25 percent. While Fusion’s share of the midsize sedan segment increased more than 2 percentage points to just more than 12 percent this year, Camry has fallen approximately one point, to almost 15 percent.
Fusion retail sales gains are occurring in every market area of the country. The strongest growth is coming from the nation’s largest passenger car market – California; retail sales there were up 117 percent during the first four months of 2013 and accelerated to 146 percent in April.
Based on retail sales registrations for the first quarter of this year, Fusion’s share of California’s midsize sedan market is now operating at its highest levels ever at more than 8 percent, which is about double Fusion’s share last year. Fusion sales in the coastal markets are up 60 percent this year, with April posting a 72 percent increase. Nationally, Fusion’s conquest rate is running at 53 percent, while in places such as Los Angeles it is much higher, at 59 percent. Miami and San Francisco are running at 60 percent and 56 percent, respectively. Fusion is also turning at its strongest rates in these markets, with the car spending just 17 days on dealer lots in Los Angeles and Miami, 18 days in San Francisco.
Escape, through the first four months of this year, is America’s best-selling utility, with 98,809 vehicles sold. Like Fusion, the all-new Escape is pushing sales of the super segment in the coastal markets. Retail sales of Escape were up 46 percent in coastal markets the first four months of 2013 and in April sales in the coastal markets expanded by 57 percent. This represents Ford’s best-ever coastal retail share and sales results for Escape.
Escape retail sales are up in every region and market area of the country, but it is the coastal markets that are growing at a faster rate than the overall national average. Nationally, the competitive conquest rate for Escape is 52 percent, with the highest conquest rate coming from San Francisco at 60 percent, followed by New York at 58 percent, Boston at 56 percent and Miami at 54 percent.
This aligns with regional sales increases and high turn rates for Escape. Escape retail sales in Miami are up 85 percent this year, with sales in Florida up 65 percent and San Francisco up 54 percent.