Ford Motor Co. claimed it was the best-selling automaker in the U.S. for the third consecutive month in November, a streak it hasn't achieved since 1974, as it reported a 5.9% year-over-year sales boost for the month.
The Dearborn automaker on Thursday said it sold 158,793 vehicles in the U.S. last month, with gains across its key segments. Truck sales were up 4.6%, SUV sales grew 20.8% and sales of Ford's burgeoning lineup of all-electric and hybrid vehicles increased 153.6% over last November.
"On the strength of Mustang Mach-E, Ford delivered record electrified vehicle sales, growing more than three times faster than the overall segment," Andrew Frick, Ford's vice president of sales for the U.S. and Canada, said in a statement. "Retail sales were up 4.5% over a year ago, with SUVs having a best-ever November sales performance on record sales of our all-new Bronco family. We expect growth to continue, thanks to adding an additional 74,000 new vehicle orders in November."
Overall, the industry saw something of a slump in November amid the lingering semiconductor chip shortage that has constrained new-vehicle inventories. Cox Automotive reported that last's sales month pace of approximately 13 million was "significantly lower" than November 2020's pace of 15.9 million sales.
"The chip shortage continues to constrain new-vehicle availability, and this November was no exception. The market is very uneven right now, with some brands, and products, facing greater shortage than others, notably Toyota and Subaru, which reported significant sales drops last month due to tight inventory," Cox said in an update Thursday.
"Meanwhile, Ford inventory has improved since summer, and with the new Bronco in market now and a better supply of pickups, including the new Maverick, the Blue Oval soundly beat the industry average last month and delivered a year-over-year sales increase. It's a market of haves and have-nots."
Ford's share of the electrified vehicle market grew to 10%, up from 5.4% last year, according to the automaker. Overall, it sold 11,116 electrified vehicles, attributing the boost to strong sales of Mach-E, its first all-electric vehicle, and the hybrid version of the F-150 pickup, which had 4,767 sales.
With General Motors Co. extending downtime at its Chevrolet Bolt plant in Oakland County into next year, Ford Motor Co.'s electric vehicles are poised to outsell GM's for 2021, depending on how December shakes out.
Although Tesla Inc. and Volkswagen AG remain the top two sellers of electric vehicles in the United States, GM and Ford are revving to be market leaders, they say.
GM on Thursday said it notified the 1,181 employees at its assembly plant in Lake Orion that it will extend downtime there through the week of Jan. 24 "to continue prioritizing recall repairs," spokesman Dan Flores said in a statement. Production halted the week of Aug. 23 when the Detroit automaker recalled every Bolt ever produced for a defect in the LG Energy Solution-produced batteries that had a potential for fire risk. It previously said production would be down through December.