Ford Motor Company Q3 sales dropped -5% year-over-year due to a stunning -30% drop in car sales to 77,231. Year-to-date sales at 1,820,836 compared to 1,887,625 in 2018 were off -4% in the first sales report since credit agencies downgraded Ford debt to junk status.
Ford, as always, tried a positive spin claiming it was a transition year of its phasing out of cars – Focus, C-Max, Taurus – with a changeovers ongoing in the all new Explorer and Escape, which are undergoing complex launches that in our view are showing mixed results. The freshened Escape went on sale last week. The new platform Explorer launch is going slowly with hopes that sales will expand in Q4. How Ford ran out of inventory of Explorers is puzzling, However given the history, we bet quality issues loomed large. (Omitted from the pitch was that Ford was about to issue a safety recall on 2020 Ford Explorer vehicles for an improperly secured wiring harness. This occurred hours later.) But pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…
The high-pressure sales pitch went thus: Ford van sales hit all-time third-quarter record at 65,288 sold; Best total pickup sales of Ranger and F-Series in 14 Years at 240,000 sold (more than $5000 sales incentives on the hood?); Expedition Sales Strong, up 48% to 200,000; Lincoln SUVs deliver best performance in 16 years up 19% or 21,000.
Ford’s transaction pricing on its truck and SUV mix climbed to 87% percent in the third quarter, five points higher than last year, taking average transaction pricing to $37,900 per vehicle at the end of September. This represents a $2,200 increase, compared to year ago. It remains to be seen if this flows through to Ford financial results. If it flows through. (Ford Motor Q2 – Sales, Share, Net Income, EPS All down)