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Ford US sales up 6.8% in Q1; hybrids hit a record

Breana Noble, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales in the first quarter grew 6.8% year-over-year as the automaker emphasized a portfolio of mixed powertrain options amid less-than-expected demand for electric vehicles.

Even still, EV sales were up 86% in the first three months of the year, representing 4% of the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker's mix. It sold 20,223 EVs of a total 508,083 deliveries in January through March. Hybrid sales, meanwhile, were their best ever for a quarter.

Despite the Mustang Mach-E SUV losing eligibility for the federal government's $7,500 clean-vehicle tax credit at the start of the year, sales were up 77%. It benefitted from a price cut in February, a tax credit passed onto consumers by Ford Credit for leases and other incentives.

Meanwhile, Ford put a stop-shipment on the F-150 Lightning pickup in February as a part of an extended quality check process. That's expected to be lifted this month, though sales in the first quarter still rose 80%. The country's electric truck sales leader, though, this week cut the second shift at its Dearborn Electric Vehicle Center that produces the Lightning to align production with demand. It also increased prices on most '24 Lightnings in January.

Consumers cite issues around affordability, access to a charging network, charging speeds and electric grid reliability as reasons why they're not ready to buy an EV. The automaker has reemphasized hybrid and internal combustion engine products from the Ford Blue side of its business, as a result. Hybrid sales were up 42% to a record 28,421 sales. That's expected to grow with increased shipment of the F-150 hybrid model.

But the majority of Ford's sales are ICE products, which were up 2.6%. America's top-selling F-Series trucks, including the Lightning, were down 10%. Deliveries of the refreshed '24 model began at the end of February after lots throughout Metro Detroit filled with the trucks during a quality process check as production ramped up. Sales of heavy trucks also fell 19%.

The new '24 Ranger midsize truck also began hitting dealer lots last quarter, so sales were down 83% as the company replenishes emptied inventories from the United Auto Workers' strike last fall that hit its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, which also produces the Bronco SUV, whose sales were down 26%. Hundreds of workers are moving from the Lightning plant to the Wayne plant for a third crew being added there.

Maverick compact truck sales jumped 82%. Included in that were Maverick Hybrid sales, which were up 77%.


SUV sales had an all-time best quarter. Explorer's were up less than 1%. Expedition's rose 11%. Updates to those vehicles and its Lincoln siblings are coming later this year. Bronco Sport increased 5.7%, Escape rose 73% and Edge increased by 73%.

With all of the launches, "we’re in a strong position to capitalize and grow as we move through 2024," Ford Blue President Andrew Frick said in a statement. "From gas engines to hybrids to electric vehicles, we offer our customers more choices.”

Mustang, which is marking its 60th anniversary and is the last-standing gas-powered muscle car, was down 6.8%.

Lincoln luxury brand sales were up almost 32%. The all-new '24 Nautilus saw sales rise 68%. Corsair was up 56%, Aviator was up 19% and Navigator was down 25%.

On the commercial side of the business, Transit vans were up 25% as the nameplate marks its 10th anniversary. All-electric E-Transit vans were up 148%.

Across town, General Motors Co. reported first-quarter sales slipped 1.5% from down fleet sales. Stellantis NV's fell 10%.

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