DEARBORN - Ford followed up on its strong start in January with a 9 percent year-over-year increase in U.S. sales in February.
“We outperformed the industry – which grew 4 percent compared to February 2012 – and we outpaced every other major full-line automaker,” said Ford Sales Analyst Erich Merkle, adding that Ford’s market share increased .8 of a point over February of last year to 16.1 percent.
Leading the sales surge for Ford in February were the Fusion, Escape, Explorer and F-Series trucks.
The Fusion posted record February sales, up 28 percent over the same time last year.
“Fusion sales were up in every market across the country, particularly in places like San Francisco and Los Angeles, which are the Nation’s largest passenger car markets,” said Merkle, noting that Fusion was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the “2013 Best Car for the Money” in the midsize car category.
According to Merkle, Fusion sales in Los Angeles were up 115 percent over last year, and they more than doubled in San Francisco. Sales of the all-new midsize sedan also more than doubled in Miami, an area of the country where Ford has historically had a very low market share.
“We’re hitting on all cylinders with Fusion, and we’re very excited about the acceptance we’re seeing from consumers and the great excitement that exists out there around the car,” said Merkle.
The Escape had its best February sales month ever, up 29 percent over last year. It was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as being the most affordable crossover.
And Explorer had its best February sales result since 2006, up 59 percent over last year.
“The No. 1 reason why people buy the Explorer is styling. It’s about providing a vehicle that looks and feels like it should be priced at a higher price point than what you see on the window sticker,” said Merkle, adding that Explorer has a very high conquest rate of 20 percent from premium utility customers.
F-series trucks posted a 15 percent gain in February, marking 19 consecutive months of monthly sales increases.
“There are a lot of tail winds right now in the pickup truck segment,” said Merkle. “The segment is being driven by the age of the pickup truck fleet and the early innings of renewed activity in construction. Both of those factors in the U.S. bode well for pickup trucks as we move forward.”
There was also some positive news in February for the Lincoln brand. According to Merkle, the new marketing and launch campaign for the MKZ are providing a significant lift for the brand with high interest from conquest customers.
“MKZ is seeing conquest shoppers well above the brand’s historic average,” he said. “In addition, MKZ hybrid orders are as high as 50 percent of our initial retail order mix and there is strong interest in the vehicle from coastal customers.”
Merkle says pre-orders for the MKZ were the largest number in Lincoln’s history.
“We are delivering approximately 100 MKZs per day to our dealers right now as we work toward building our stock of the all-new 2013 MKZ,” he said.
“It’s exciting to have so many sought after new products hitting the market right now. We will have our hands full this year trying to keep pace with demand.”