Behind the Numbers with Erich Merkle: September U.S. Sales Results
If youíve been reading this column the last couple of months you know that weíve been in a period of transition as we scale back on daily rental sales and carefully manage our inventory of Ford F-Series trucks during the changeover from the 2014 to the all-new 2015 model.
This month was not unlike others that we have experienced in the past.
Fordís overall U.S. sales were down three percent from last year. It doesnít look that encouraging, if we only look at the headline. If you take a look ďbehind the numbersĒ, you will note that our September retail sales were our strongest results in seven years. With all of our transitions on F-150, Transit, and Mustang occurring right now, itís a solid accomplishment.
On the fleet side of the business, sales were down 14 percent, with a significant 40 percent decline to daily rental companies. As I have been saying, this is part of our plan this year to reduce daily rental sales to focus on more profitable aspects of our business. The profitable areas of fleet Ė commercial and government sales Ė were up two percent and eight percent respectively. We are dead set on making sure that our business is growing profitably.
F-Series sales were down one percent from last year as we managed our incentive spend relative to our competitors. We continue to monitor the competitive environment and manage our inventory, as we transition over to the all-new F-150. You will continue to see this as we move forward with the changeover at Dearborn Truck and shortly thereafter at Kansas City Truck. We want to sell the optimal number of trucks to manage our inventory to ensure that we donít run out of stock too quickly. Itís a big balancing act.
Fordís standout vehicle for September has to be the Ford Fusion, which posted its best September sales ever, its fifth straight month of record performance and best year-to-date sales results since it launched in 2005. Whatís great about the Fusion is that it is breaking ground for Ford in really big markets, and in states like California where Ford has been underrepresented in the past. Over 20 percent of Fusionís growth (more than any other state) this year has come from California, the largest midsize car market in the country. And 14 percent of Fusion year-to-date sales gains have come from Texas, the second top-selling market for midsize sedans.
We began shipping our all-new 2015 Ford Mustang last month and recorded our first 2015 model year Mustang sale at the very end of September. I personally canít wait to begin racking up the numbers for Mustang. I have always looked at the auto industry similar to a sports fan. I see the product and just know that it is going to be a lot of fun to track. Itís keeping score in the greatest sporting event ever and we have a front row seat!
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