Re: Ford Q3 & September 2019 Sales Results & Charts
Behind the Numbers with Erich Merkle: Third Quarter 2019
We knew that the third quarter was going to be difficult given that we were in what I would call the peak of our transition, winding down on many of our car sales and moving through the changeover on our newest high-volume SUV products.
U.S. sales in the third quarter were down nearly 5 percent with just over 580,000 vehicles sold. Ford truck sales were very strong, up 9 percent, but our SUV sales were down 10 percent. And car sales, which weíve been transitioning out of, were down 29 percent. If you take the cars that are no longer part of our portfolio out of the equation (Focus, C-MAX and Taurus), our overall sales were up 2 percent for the quarter compared to an overall industry that was essentially flat.
The drop in car sales was to be expected. SUV sales were down in the third quarter due to the changeover to the all-new 2020 Explorer and Escape. Both are big volume vehicles for our Ford SUV lineup. Last year they represented almost two thirds of our sales. Explorer sales declined 48 percent as we sold down all of our 2019 models and began to rebuild our stock with the all-new 2020 models. As we move into the fourth quarter, inventories of our all-new Explorer have returned to more normalized levels and are getting much closer to year-ago levels. This will provide us with a good base for fourth quarter sales. We should see volumes improve as the quarter unfolds. The transition for Escape was much smoother than that of the Explorer, as it didnít require a total overhaul of the plant. Therefore, we didnít lose production and inventory to the same extent. Escape sales in the third quarter Ė of the 2019 model Ė were only down 7 percent. The all-new 2020 Escape began arriving on dealer lots at the end of September.
A good way to evaluate SUV sales at this point is to look at some of the newer SUVs in our portfolio that are currently running at full speed, such as the Expedition, EcoSport and Edge. The combined sales of these three vehicles are up 23 percent in the third quarter with just over 71,000 vehicles sold. This growth has been accelerating. In the second quarter, sales of this grouping of SUVs were up 17 percent. This gives us a good base of momentum heading into the fourth quarter as we begin to see the benefits of Explorer and Escape transform our SUV lineup into the freshest in the industry.
As I mentioned earlier, Ford truck sales were very strong in the third quarter with 300,000 trucks and vans sold, marking our best performance since 2005. Through September we sold 900,000 vehicles, putting us on pace to sell 1.2 million trucks and vans this year. And weíve seen sales accelerate throughout the year. We started with a 4 percent year-over-year increase in the first quarter, rose to a 7 percent increase in the second quarter and carved out a 9 percent increase in the third quarter.
Taking a closer look at truck sales, F-Series and Ranger sold just over 240,000 vehicles, marking their best third quarter in more than a decade. F-Series also expanded its leadership position, selling 200,000 more pickups than our second-place competitor through the end of September. Whatís fascinating is that we continue to do this with lower incentive spend and higher transaction pricing than our competitors who have newer product offerings. Ranger sales grew in the third quarter with 26,211 pickups sold, comparing favorably to the second quarter with 20,880 trucks sold. You will have the excuse the sequential reference, as Ranger doesnít have a year-over-year comparison at this point. We can expect to see Ranger sales continue to expand as the year unfolds.
Saving the best for last this quarter Ö Ford van sales established an all-time sales record in the third quarter with a 21 percent sales increase and just over 65,000 vans sold. We beat our last record for third-quarter van sales, which was in 1978 when we sold 63,177 vehicles. (I am willing to bet many of you reading this were not born yet!) We saw exceptional growth with Ford Transit, with sales up 25 percent. And Transit Connect turned in a 49 percent gain. We are seeing van sales being driven by tradespeople, which isnít unusual in a strong economy. Whatís not so traditional is the growth of online shopping and the delivery of packages to the home. Itís hard to find anyone these days that doesnít have boxes being delivered to their doorstep, my house included. The best way to haul all of these boxes and packages is with a van. Itís hard to imagine this trend slowing down.
With the lionís share of our product transition complete, weíre quickly moving toward having the freshest lineup in the industry. Weíre well positioned for the fourth quarter and certainly as we move into 2020 with Explorer and Escape and additional SUVs coming on board. Itís going to be an exciting year.
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