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Ford sales gain in February, boosted by EVs and hybrids

Breana Noble, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales grew almost 11% in February, boosted by increases in deliveries of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker on Monday reported selling 174,192 vehicles last month, up from 157,606 in February 2023. Despite concerns of EV sales not increasing at the rates they once had, their deliveries were up 80% from last February to 6,368 vehicles. Hybrid sales were up almost 32% to about double that: a record 12,045 sales.

Meanwhile, internal combustion engine vehicles, whose sales were up 7.5%, still represented the overwhelming majority of Ford's new-vehicle deliveries.

Sales of the profit engine F-Series pickup trucks were down 5.8% year-over-year, though the '24 gas-powered model began shipments late in the month. Sales of the all-electric F-150 Lightning, however, were up 93% in February. Although production continues, a stop-shipment was placed on the '24 Lightning in early February for a longer-than-expected quality check process as a result of an undisclosed issue, quartering trucks in lots near the Dearborn Electric Vehicle Center such as the former McLouth Steel site in Trenton. Heavy-duty trucks also were down 8.3% in February.

Ford also is doubling the mix of hybrid F-150 trucks manufactured for the 2024 model year, including the new PowerBoost Hybrid that goes on sale early this year and accounts for 1 in 5 retail orders for the '24 F-150. The automaker also has matched the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the powertrain to the starting MSRP on the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine.

Propelling Ford's truck segment to a 1.4% year-over-year increase overall was the Maverick, which posted a record month, up more than 73%, after the Blue Oval increased capacity for the compact pickup last year in Hermosillo, Mexico. The hybrid model was up 60%, driving Ford's hybrid sales increase in February.

The Transit commercial van also saw a nearly 20% increase in sales in February, marking a record start to a year for the model.

No Rangers were sold in February after the previous model year's inventory dried up, resulting from the United Auto Workers' 41-day targeted strike last fall against Ford that included the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. The plant, which also builds the Bronco SUV, caught the full brunt of the work stoppage. Deliveries of the new model year midsize truck, however, have begun and will show in March results, spokesperson Said Deep said.

 

Sales increases came from SUVs, which were up 23.7%. Escape and Edge sales rose 105%. The all-electric Mustang Mach-E was up 64%. Bronco sales fell 32%, but the Mexico-built Bronco Sport was up 20%. The Expedition and Explorer also posted sales increases.

Mustang coupe sales, meanwhile, fell 17% year-over-year. The last traditional muscle car standing, Mustang turns 60 this year, though Dodge will reveal its production all-electric Charger on Tuesday.

Lincoln February sales were up 38%. Deliveries of the new China-built Nautilus SUV, including its first hybrids, were up 96% from a year ago, marking a record February for the nameplate. Navigator sales were down 3.9%, though other models posted increases.

Crosstown rivals General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV report sales on a quarterly basis. Of the automakers that report U.S. sales on a monthly basis, Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s were up 32% in February and Subaru Corp.'s were up 3.1%.

Auto information resource Cox Automotive Inc. was predicting a 9.6% year-over-year increase in sales for February for the overall industry with a seasonally adjusted annual rate near 15.8 million vehicles, above its forecast and January's results. Inventory levels are now at 2.61 million, particularly boosted from Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda.

“January and February are slow months for vehicle sales, but the new-vehicle sales pace this past January saw a surprising decline from December," Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist, said in a forecast. "Bad weather was a likely contributor and kept shoppers away from dealership lots. However, the weather this February was particularly mild across much of the country, so a bit of a rebound is expected this month. We are also seeing solid inventory levels and growing incentives and discounts, which should help sales volume.”


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