Ford sales dipped 0.4% in January, with declines in car sales offset by strong showings by trucks, SUVs and the Lincoln brand, WardsAuto data shows.
Overall, Ford delivered 167,371 light vehicles in January, off slightly from year-ago levels with car sales down 17.5% and light trucks gaining 6.8% on a daily-sales basis. January had 24 selling days, equal to year-ago.
Lincoln leaped 22.4% compared with like-2016, driven by the flagship Continental sedan with 1,167 sales for the month, and increases of the midsize MKZ sedan (+7.4%) and the MKX (+42.7%) and MKC (+16.2%) CUVs. Lincoln deliveries totaled 8,785 for the month.
“Lincoln continues to gain market strength and momentum,” says Mark LaNeve, vice president-U.S. marketing, sales and service, noting the premium brand recorded its best January in a decade and that luxury-trim Reserve and Black Label editions were in high demand.
Ford brand sales were off 1.4% on 158,586 deliveries. The brand saw gains by the Expedition large SUV (+42.3%), Fiesta small car (+39.6%) and F-150 (+15.1%), but recorded significant declines by Transit Connect (-38.5%), Mustang (-33.4%), Focus (-26.2%) and Fusion (-21.9%). LaNeve attributes Fiesta gains to an incentive push begun in mid-2016.
The strength of the Expedition was especially surprising considering the vehicle is nearing the end of its lifecycle. The nameplate is expected to gain even more momentum when an all-new aluminum-bodied Expedition, based on the F-150, arrives later this year, LaNeve says. The ’18 Expedition is expected to be revealed at the upcoming Chicago auto show.
The Dearborn automaker continues to reduce its supply of cars while boosting trucks and SUVs, with year-over-year car inventory down about 45,000 vehicles at 167,074 for a 105-day supply. SUV inventory grew by 13,000 to 201,000, an 89-day supply. Truck inventory was off slightly at 316,000 for a 113-day supply.
Despite strong F-Series sales, LaNeve says truck-production declines in the month were based on timing of commercial-vehicle sales and downtime for plant maintenance, rather than any projected softening of the truck segment.
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