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Ford dealer: Cars are the new version of toilet paper panic

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

DETROIT – Despite only a slight increase in overall sales so far this year, it's a new day in paradise, some Ford Motor Co. dealers said Thursday.

Business for them has seen a dramatic turnaround from the first three months a year ago, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down cities and dealerships across America. Now, with safety protocols in place and used car prices up, new car sales spiked in the first quarter of 2021.

"Both our stores set records," said Chad Wilson, general manager of Wilson Ford in Saginaw and Midland Ford. "We've had the Midland store since 1991 and the Saginaw store since 2018. I don't know that we've ever seen numbers like this."

What's selling? "Everything," he said.

"The only explanation that I can even muster is that cars are 2021’s version of toilet paper in 2020," Wilson said. "We are taking a lot of retail orders because we don't have anything (in stock). Normally between our two stores, we'd have 150-180 F-series in stock. I think right now there might be 10. I do think there’s an element of fear of missing out."

Ongoing production shutdowns related to parts shortages and COVID-19 have led to smaller supplies of vehicles globally.


Ford reported a 1% increase in total sales in the United States from a year ago to 521,334, according to sales data released Thursday. The automaker saw a 5.1% increase in truck sales to 277,233 and a 14.3% increase in SUV sales to 216,899.

Sales highlights for first quarter include:

All-electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Powerboost Hybrid with 25,980 F-150 Powerboost Hybrids at 7,176 and 3,949 in March alone F-Series saw its best start in 15 years, up 24.5% with 203,797 pickups Bronco Sport and Mustang Mach-E totaled 29,970

Overall, Ford saw sales climb with Explorer, Expedition, F-Series, Ranger, E-Series, Transit Connect and Lincoln Aviator and Navigator.


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