DETROIT — Despite having relatively barren supplies on dealer lots and dismal sales in June, Ford Motor Co. revealed on Friday a dramatic plan to pivot.
Ford is getting a new supply of semiconductor chips and will now ship thousands of F-Series pickup trucks built and parked in lots in states including Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri, the Free Press has learned. The company did not provide specific numbers of vehicles.
“We’re working to get chips into F-Series pickups and get them out to dealers. That’s our first priority,” said Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst at Ford. “We’ll see our inventories improve. It’ll take time but stock will gradually start to improve the second half of the year.”
Ford inventory is at “record lows” right now, he said. “This is having a near-term impact on our sales.”
June wasn’t pretty for Ford, overall.
The company was down 26.9% year over year, despite the fact that last year at this time was peak pandemic. F-Series trucks specifically plummeted 29.9% to 45,673 F-Series trucks sold in June this year from 65,188 in June 2020.
During the first six months, F-Series dropped 1.5% to 362,032 from 367,387 a year ago.
The company noted that it’s a lot easier to exhaust inventory in today’s strong sales environment than build it back up. Rebuilding supplies will take the industry well into 2022, Merkle said.
F-150 buyers hungry
Mark Restum is one of many consumers who contributed to the dip in Ford sales.
Restum, 63, loves his 2013 Ford F-150 and he is ready to buy a new one. But the insurance consultant from Denver, Colo., plans to wait.
“I am shopping for a new F-150 but there’s not much selection at the moment and I’m thinking it might be better to wait,” Restum told the Free Press. “I understand the situation with the parts shortage and still have six months before retiring, I’m not mad or disappointed. I’m actually hopeful that the delay now will result in more selection and lower prices later.”
When he researches online for trucks in the area for sale, Restum usually gets three to five pages of results that match his search for a vehicle good for taking on vacation and off-roading. Most recently, he had just five possibilities and the costs were high, he said.
Also Friday, Ford said it maintained its industry leader status in average transaction prices, which climbed approximately $6,400 over one year ago to $47,800 per vehicle sold.
Overall retail truck sales grew 2.6% in the first half of the year, totaling 420,403 pickups.
Meanwhile, the all-electric Mustang Mach-E and Bronco Sport solidified their frontrunner status among consumers. They drove Ford brand retail SUV sales to their best first half of the year sales performance in 20 years, Ford said in its release.
Bronco Sport continued to steal buyers from Jeep, based on industry data.
Ford brand retail SUVs grew 37% over 2020 on sales of 391,190 SUVs in the first half of the year. And Bronco Sport sold 60,514 while Mustang Mach-E sold 12,975.
Overwhelmingly, industry data shows Bronco Sport is taking customers from Jeep more than any other competitor. This is what Ford CEO Jim Farley predicted when he talked to investors last year.
Ford just began selling the full-size Bronco in June with 801 listed for the month.
“There’s so much excitement about the Bronco coming,” said Jeff King, vice president and general manager at Bozard Ford Lincoln in St. Augustine, Fla. “It will be nice when we actually have Broncos that we can deliver.”
Ford sold 115,789 vehicles in June in the U.S., with 63,129 trucks and 49,792 SUVs and 2,868 cars. Year to date, this year saw sales helped by Explorer, Expedition, Ranger, Lincoln Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator.