As U.S. car and light truck sales rose 8.1% in April to 1,390,513, one of the most visible successes was the Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) F-Series pickup — the perennial “king of the hill” in American vehicle sales. Ford sold 63,387 F-Series, up 7.4% from a year ago. That means nearly five of every 100 vehicles sold in the United States last month were of this single model.
The F-Series was particularly important to Ford as the company’s sales fell by 0.8% to 210,355. The drop pressed Ford’s U.S. market share down to 15.1% from 16.5% in April a year ago. The news dampened the retirement celebration of highly regarded CEO Alan Mulally, who will be replaced by long-time Ford executive Mark Fields.
Ford’s recent problems are great enough that rival Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), the top Japanese car company in the United States, has nearly moved by it in total sales. Toyota sales in April hit 199,660, up 13.3% from April a year ago. Its market share reached 14.4%.
Perhaps the most important news for Ford was that it continues to lead in the critical pickup segment. Three of the four top-selling vehicles in the United States are pickups. In second place, General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Silverado continued to suffer. Sales of the Silverado rose 8.5% in April to 42,775, but they are down 3.5% for the year. Chrysler’s Dodge RAM has gained on the Silverado this year. Its sales were 36,674 in April, up 16.8%.
The one car in the four top-selling vehicles was the Toyota Camry, at 38,009 units, or up 16.8%.
The overall winner among the Big Three U.S. car companies continues to be Chrysler. Its sales rose 14% to 178,652. Although the company does not have the large line-up of the other dominant brands, and its vehicles do not do terribly well in most customer satisfaction studies, its Jeep and Dodge cars and trucks continue to post record results.
The Ford F-Series has held the top spot among U.S. cars sales for decades. For the time being, it is not going to lose that spot.