DEARBORN - March was the culmination of years of Ford’s hard work in the passenger car and small utility space. Both Fusion and Escape set all-time monthly sales records, leading Ford to achieve its best U.S. sales result since May of 2007.
“It means a lot because these are two of our newest high volume vehicles and in March they both gave best-ever monthly sales performances,” said Ford U.S. Sales Analyst Erich Merkle. “If we want to be able to grow our business, we’ve got to grow it in the vehicle segments that are most sought after, which are small utilities, midsize sedans and small cars.”
Merkle says Fusions are selling so fast that dealers – especially those on the West Coast – are having difficulty keeping them on the lots.
“We doubled Fusion sales in the month of March in California, and in Los Angeles for example vehicles are spending roughly 14 days on dealer lots compared to the typical 50 to 60 days,” he explained.
Merkle says Ford is doing everything possible to match production capacity to consumer demand.
“It’s definitely going to be tight as we try to get through the spring months,” he said. “And to help accommodate the growing demand for Fusion, we’ve got another production line coming in the fall of this year at our Flat Rock, Mich., Assembly plant.”
The Escape is also doing very well in the marketplace with March sales up 28 percent versus a year ago – the best sales performance since the vehicle’s original launch 13 years ago.
“The Escape has been restyled. We’ve got the capacity in place and the market is clearly responding,” said Merkle.
Explorer sales were up 33 percent – the best sales month since the introduction of the new model in 2010.
“The Explorer continues to move higher and expand,” said Merkle. “The No. 1 reason people are purchasing the vehicle is because of its design. I think that says a lot given the fact that it’s been on the market now for three years. When you look at everything out there in the midsize utility segment, the Explorer still trumps the competition with its styling and great proportions.”
In the full-size pickup truck segment, Ford continued to outpace the industry for the third consecutive month. F-Series posted a 16 percent increase in sales over the same month last year, delivering 20 consecutive months of sales growth.
“F-Series has long been the leader in the full-size pickup truck segment. We’re also benefitting from a cyclical upswing in the economy,” said Merkle. “We’re in the early innings of the housing recovery. We’re seeing construction improve. And the average age of the truck population is as old as we have ever seen it. This sets up a great opportunity in the full-size pickup truck space as we move forward.”
Looking broadly at Ford’s product portfolio, Merkle says the company is also performing very well within the Super Segment – vehicles in the small car (Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX), midsize car (Fusion) and small utility (Escape) categories.
“That’s a really good news story because we’re at a point now where we can play with the best of them. If you take a look at our share of the Super Segment, we’re now second behind Toyota in terms of share – a place no one ever thought we could compete a few years ago,” said Merkle. “We went from just under 6 percent of the Super Segment in 2004 to operating at approximately 13 percent share this year. So we’ve really grown our presence.”
Merkle says employees have a lot to be proud of.
“I think everyone should feel very good about the March sales results,” he said. “They are strong relative to the industry. And the two products that we needed to hit home runs with – the Fusion and Escape – are turning in an outstanding performance in the market. We will need to work really hard to keep up with demand going forward into 2013.”
to view the Ford Motor Company March 2013 U.S. Sales tables.