US: Ford manages to stop pickup decline image

Ford, the second largest US automaker, counts on the F-Series to cover most of its profit, so the recent negative results over the past months were spurring investor worries over the “moneymaker”.

But with two truck factories in the US now finally at peak production capacity, Ford posted a massive July sales increase (sales slid from February through June) with motorists snatching 66,300 units – over 11,000 more than last month. The company has been struggling to roll out the completely new truck that has an aluminum body in a drive to lower fuel consumption. Through the year ending in June, Ford’s market share across the pickup segment slid from 33 percent to 28 percent. The ambitious redesign incurred several issues – Ford had to completely overhaul its assembly lines and then work to raise production as quickly as possible and both feats were achieved with inevitable delays. And the production worries were also allowing unanswered questions: what if drivers were skeptical and went to the competition? What if the willing customers were still unconvinced and waited to see how they performed in real life for a while? Dealers even offered discounts of as much as $10,000 to address the woes of reluctant customers.

In July all stars seem to have aligned nicely though, with momentum going for both production and sales. “As our inventories continue to improve, we are seeing sales follow,” commented Ford Vice President Mark LaNeve on the matter. Ford’s factories are now “very good at squeezing additional production now when we need it.” The F-Series has been the best selling pickup truck and overall top selling vehicle in the United States for decades and its shadow over the North American automotive industry is larger than life.

Via Bloomberg