Autos

Ford F-Series Sales Continue Slide

2015 Ford F-150
Source: Ford Motor Co.
Two of the three big U.S. automakers have put up big numbers this year in sales of pickup trucks. Both General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) are showing double-digit gains for the year to date in pickup truck sales. And they owe at least some of their success to Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F).

In November, GM sold 65,343 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickup trucks and Chrysler’s Ram brand sold 35,865. Ford sold 59,049 F-150 pickups, a drop of nearly 10% compared with November 2013. Splitting the GM trucks by brand still leaves the F-150 in the top-selling position.

For the full year, GM has sold nearly 472,000 Chevy Silverado trucks and about 188,400 GMC Sierras. Ram has sold about 395,500 and the F-150 has sold about 679,500. But as of last November, the gap between Ford and number two Chevy was about 689,000 to 438,000. The Sierra had sold about 166,500 in the first 11 months of 2013 and the Ram had sold about 322,000.

All the pickups except the F-150 have refreshed designs this year, and Ford is just beginning to produce the new aluminum-bodied F-150 and pushing the new trucks out to dealers. Ford’s decision to convert two production lines to manufacture the new F-150s will cost the company sales until dealers are fully stocked, sometime in the second quarter of next year.

And it will take more time than that for the company to recover the billions it has spent on designing and figuring out how to manufacture the new trucks. Dwindling sales of the current F-150 could cool some buyers’ enthusiasm for the new trucks. In any event, by this time next year Ford’s sales had better be near where they were a year ago or the company will face some really tough questions from analysts and investors.

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