DEARBORN - When asked to describe the company’s U.S. January sales results – up 22 percent over last year – Ford Sales Analyst Erich Merkle responded with one word: “stupendous.”
“This is a very strong start to the year for us, and the best January we’ve had since 2006,” he said. “We have the capacity. We have new products. And we have the inventory. All three of those factors combined to provide a very strong sales month.”
U.S. car sales were up 34 percent over January of last year.
“Cars performed phenomenally in the month of January,” said Merkle, noting that the Fusion delivered a record sales month – “crushing” its January 2011 sales record by 56 percent.
“Fusion inventories grew throughout January and sales just followed right along behind them,” he said.
Merkle says he believes the reason why the Fusion is such a popular choice among consumers is because of its styling.
“Just look at it,” he said. “We talk about the smart technology and the fuel economy, and all of those things are important to consumers. But the bottom line is that it’s a stunning vehicle that has a strong premium presence to it.”
Ford also had its best January sales month for small cars since 2000. Focus sales were up 12 percent over last year and Fiesta sales were up 22 percent. C-MAX sales were robust as well.
“C-MAX launched in the final quarter of last year. We had strong sales then and the sales strength is continuing into the New Year as well,” said Merkle. “Also worth noting is that 25 percent of C-MAX sales are coming from California, which is the nation’s largest hybrid market.”
Ford’s U.S. utility sales were up 23 percent in January versus the same time last year.
The Escape had its best January ever, up 16 percent over last year.
“Escape broke last year’s sales record,” said Merkle. “And Explorer had its best January since 2005, with sales up 46 percent year over year.”
Ford F-Series trucks began 2013 with a 22 percent increase in sales versus last January.
“It’s a combination of improved industry from a construction perspective and also pent-up demand,” said Merkle. “Stronger housing starts and construction overall benefits the full-size pickup truck segment and F-Series, and it’s important to keep in mind that the average truck is pretty old, so we’re seeing consumers looking to replace aging products.”
In the commercial truck arena, the Transit Connect did very well in January with sales up 47 percent over last year.
“We definitely think there’s a market out there for people who want a truck that’s a bit smaller that gets good fuel economy,” said Merkle.
Overall, Merkle says employees should be happy about January sales.
“It was an excellent month, and I think we should celebrate it,” he said. “But the competition isn’t going away. We’re going to have to work even harder to maintain profitable sales and share growth going forward.”