DEARBORN - April was a challenging month for U.S. sales of Ford vehicles – down five percent compared to a year ago – but despite the slightly lower volume, many of the company’s key vehicles set April sales records and Ford’s year-to-date sales are up 4.8 percent.
Both the Ford Fusion and Edge set all-time April records.
“The Fusion has been a very good seller for us,” said Ford U.S. Sales Analyst Erich Merkle. “It had a record year last year and it’s continuing to turn in an impressive performance even at the tail end of its product cycle, which bodes very well as we lay the groundwork for the all-new 2013 Fusion coming this fall.”
Merkle says the Edge has always been a perennial performer.
“Edge sales were up last year, and it continues to perform well at these strong levels,” he said.
The popular Ford Explorer reported its best April sales since 2005.
“Explorer really differentiates itself from the rest of the segment. If people are looking for a full-size utility vehicle, they are naturally going to gravitate toward those in the marketplace that are the most fuel efficient,” said Merkle, noting that the V6 and EcoBoost versions of the Explorer provide 25 and 28 mpg respectively.
“Customers just aren’t able to find another full-size utility vehicle with three-row seating that gets the fuel economy of Explorer,” he said.
And Ford’s F-series trucks marked their best April sales since 2007, with EcoBoost accounting for 43 percent of F-150 retail sales.
Merkle says Ford’s ability to offer EcoBoost – especially on its trucks and utilities – has made a significant difference for the company in the marketplace. April sales reflect a 77 percent increase in vehicles equipped with EcoBoost engines.
“Industry-wide truck and utility segment share has been declining due to higher gas prices, but we’ve been able to buck that trend because even though segment share is down, there is still a market for utilities and certainly a market for full-size pickup trucks,” he explained. “Customers are moving toward more fuel-efficient offerings and we’re able to provide them with what they’re looking for with EcoBoost.”
Merkle says the slight decline in overall U.S. sales for the month of April is due to a number of factors, including some capacity limitations that will be addressed as the year progresses. Ford announced earlier this month that it will increase capacity at its North American manufacturing plants by 400,000 annual units in the second and third quarter of this year.
Next week, Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 will add a third shift to meet the growing demand for fuel-efficient engines, such as the 3.5-liter EcoBoost.
Ford also plans to add a full second shift at the Louisville Assembly Plant during the first quarter of this year as production ramps up for the all-new 2013 Ford Escape as well as a third production shift in the second half of the year. A second shift will be added at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in May for the F-150. And the Michigan and Chicago Assembly Plants will both add a third shift during the first half of 2012.
“We should all be looking forward to competing this year, as some of our best new products are yet to be introduced – the 2013 Ford Escape and this fall the 2013 Ford Fusion,” said Merkle. “They will be touted as the best in their respective segments. It's definitely an exciting time to be at Ford.”