Ford Deliveries Flat in March Despite Strong Mustang, Van Sales

Focus C-car and Fiesta B-car deliveries plummeted 11.0% and 21.9%, respectively, while the Fusion posted an 8.3% drop.

Byron Pope, Associate Editor

April 1, 2015

2 Min Read
Mustang sales up 415 in March
Mustang sales up 41.5% in March.

Ford sales last month on a daily basis were flat compared with a year-ago at 230,131, but the automaker still managed to record its best U.S. retail results in nine years.

Retail deliveries were up 1%, largely driven by strong performances by the F-Series pickup, Mustang sports car and Transit Connect small commercial van.

F-Series sales fell 1.2% vs. year-ago to 63,051, but most of the decline was caused by a shortage of fleet sales, says Mark LaNeve, vice president-U.S. marketing, sales and service.

“We continue to improve new ’15 F-150 stock,” he says in a conference call with analysts and reporters. “Last month we had strong momentum as retail sales were up 10% for the month.”

Most F-150s built for fleets are assembled at Ford’s Kansas City, MO, plant, which is now completing the transition from the outgoing model to the aluminum-intensive ’15 model.

LaNeve says the Kansas City facility is operating on three shifts and is expected to reach full line speed this quarter.

“Dealer stock (of the new F-150) is still going to be tight the next couple of months,” LaNeve says. “We prioritize retail customers. We’re not close to meeting commercial fleet demand for the new truck.”

Last month just 29% of F-150s sold were the new model, but average transaction prices on the pickup rose $2,100, as many buyers of the ’15 version opted for high-end models, LaNeve says.

The Mustang, which is all-new for ’15, saw sales soar 41.5% to 12,663, according to WardsAuto data. Sales have been particularly strong on the West Coast, where Ford traditionally has underperformed.

“The sports car segment is up 21% through February, and Mustang (accounted for) 61% of that growth,” LaNeve says. “There has been a terrific market response.”

Transit Connect deliveries leaped 66.1% vs. year-ago to 4,866 units. The Transit fullsize van added another 9,751 units for the month, marking the automaker’s best commercial-van sales since 1995.

Another strong March performer was the Explorer fullsize SUV, which posted a 24.0% hike to 23,058.

“When it comes to Explorer we continue to sell as many as we can build,” LaNeve says. “It was our best March since 2005 and we’re very enthusiastic about the new Explorer (coming) later this year.”

While trucks, utilities and vans had a good month, the same could not be said for Ford’s car lineup.

Focus C-car and Fiesta B-car deliveries plummeted 11.0% and 21.9%, respectively, while the Fusion posted an 8.3% drop.

Despite the drop, LaNeve says the automaker is still bullish on its passenger-car offerings.

“We think as we move through the year and apply more fixed marketing to (cars) we can maintain our share performance,” he says, adding a refreshed Focus now launching should help bolster sales.

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About the Author(s)

Byron Pope

Associate Editor, WardsAuto

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