The second largest US automaker took a heavy brunt from the year of falling sales of its best-selling vehicle – also the top selling pickup truck and model in America for decades- the F-150.
This August, even without the assistance of the traditional Labor Day weekend holiday that marked the end of summer, automakers posted better than expected results in terms of sales. Chief among them with an almost 6 percent increase was Ford, and the automaker has even more reasons to rejoice. After a hard year, inventories of the aluminum-intensive new-generation F-150 pickup truck are up to speed and the model showed a healthy five percent increase in demand. The figures show just how important the truck is for the brand – when it declined the overall sales were also down – and maybe just how Ford gambled its entire future by taking the seven-decades old steel body and morphing it into a next-generation aluminum composite. According to Ford US sales chief Mark LaNeve, the F-Series had sales of 71,332 units last month – the best August figure since 2006 – and also only the seventh time overall sales topped the 70,000 units threshold in the past decade.
The early signs of success come after a long year, full of skepticism, sliding sales as well as dropping market share and profit and earnings. Exactly a year ago Ford started closing the Dearborn Truck assembly plant for retooling to introduce the F-150 with aluminum body. Ford’s investment was of $359 million for the Dearborn Truck plant, $484 million at the adjacent Diversified and Stamping facilities and of $1.1 billion for the Kansas City plant that builds the F-150 and Transit commercial van.