After decades as America’s top-selling vehicle, sales of Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) F-series pickups are surging toward 800,000 for the year. No other vehicle will come even close.
F-series sales accounted for an extraordinary 37% of all Ford cars, sport utility vehicles and pickups in September. Sales of the pickup rose 21.4% to 82,302. Ford’s total sales for the month were up 8.7% to 222,248. At its current pace, F-150 sales could hit 800,000 this year.
September sales of the next top-selling vehicle in the country, General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Silverado pickup, were 55,236, up 21.7%.
While the F-series pickup news was good for Ford, it shows how dependent the company is on one product. Its new president and CEO, Jim Hackett, recently laid out a future of autonomous and electric vehicles. These may be a very hard sell to pickup owners, especially those who use their vehicles for heavy work. Ford has an F-150 Hybrid in the works, but it may not be for sale until as late as 2020.
Ford may have to adopt a two-pronged plan. Pickup and van owners may have little interest in Ford’s cars and trucks of the future. Car drivers will be, but cars are where Ford needs help. Most months, its vehicle sales in that category are plunging. Sales of its two best-selling cars, the Focus and Fusion, have suffered double-digit percentage sales losses this year.
Whatever Ford’s future, it can count on a vehicle with unequaled sales strength, and one that may sell has many as 800,000 units this year.