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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

"Our customers are really embracing our new electrified vehicle lineup," said Andrew Frick, vice president of Ford sales in the U.S. and Canada.

General Motors reported Thursday its first-quarter new car sales grew 4% in the U.S., with 642,250 new vehicles during the first three months this year compared with the same period a year ago. Stellantis hadn't yet reported its quarterly sales data.

Used car prices are high so trade-in transactions work great for buyers these days, especially when paired with new vehicle incentive discounts.

"As of yesterday, neither store had an Edge still in stock. All the 2020 Escapes were gone. We've seen a couple 2021s getting dropped off," Wilson said. "Over the last month, we saw four to five Expeditions show up and none lasted a couple days. Explorers, as fast as you get it, goes. I've never seen a market where things turn this fast. Nobody came in and said they weren’t buying."

Meanwhile, Jeff King, vice president and general manager at Bozard Ford Lincoln in St. Augustine, Florida, said, "Volumes are at or very close to records in every department, trucks and used cars both at Ford and Lincoln. For a dealer that sells 70 F-150s a month, we've got 14 in stock. Supply is very low but demand seems to be at record highs."

Buyers seem to have saved up money over the past year through less travel, fewer restaurant visits and fewer commutes to work, dealers said.


"Americans, when we've got money in our pocket, we want to spend it and reward ourselves," King said. "Salesmen are running after the transport trucks when they show up to see if their customers' vehicles are on them."

His recent customer trade-ins include Range Rovers, a Maserati and an Aston Martin.

Ford, General Motors and Stellantis have been reporting high transaction prices based on demand exceeding supply.

"Every manufacturer is under stocked, market demand is strong and most dealers are turning their inventories very quickly," said Thad Szott, co-owner of Szott Auto Group in White Lake Charter Township, which sells Ford, Jeep, Toyota, Chrysler, Dodge and Ram Trucks. "High demand, lower supply, low interest rates and strong credit availability create stronger consumer flexibility. Many consumers settled for their second, third or fourth choice and those that won’t settle are placing custom orders."

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