Ford Pickup Remains Most Popular Vehicle in America

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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%.

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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.

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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.