Ford Car Sales Plunge 28% in July, Overall Sales Down 3.1%

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Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) on Tuesday reported July sales declined by 3.1% year over year to 194,026 Ford and Lincoln vehicles, compared with July 2017 sales of 200,212. Passenger car sales fell 27.7% in the month, while truck sales rose 10.2%.

Total retail sales tumbled 10.4% year over year in July to 142,842 units, and fleet sales jumped by 25.7% to 51,184 units. As mentioned, truck sales rose 10.2% for the month, and sales of F-Series pickups increased by 2.1% to 70,949 units.

Ford’s passenger car sales tanked in July, as did retail sales, and the two numbers likely indicate consumer reaction to the company’s decision to reduce its car business in favor of its higher margin truck and sport utility vehicle business. Ford attributed the jump in fleet sales to an order timing issue, but some of that increase also could have been due to the shift in focus toward trucks.

Total monthly sales compare to an estimate of 196,000 by analysts Cox Automotive. ¬†Kelley Blue Book estimated an average transaction price of $39,756, up 4% year over year but down 0.1% compared with June’s average selling price of $39,812. KBB transaction prices do not include applied consumer incentives.

Ford said its average transaction price for the month rose $1,200. F-Series transaction prices dipped slightly month over month from $46,800 to $46,500.

Truck sales comprised 45.9% of July sales, and the F-Series pickups accounted for 36.6% of total monthly sales. Both totals are higher than June levels.

Total Ford SUV sales slipped by 1.2% year over year in July, with the Escape seeing a decrease of 25.6% and the Edge a decrease of 9.0%. Only the Flex (up 20.6%) and Explorer (up 7.9%) posted year-over-year sales gains in July.

Ford-brand passenger car sales dropped by 27.1% year over year, with sales of Fusion down 13.6% and Fiesta up 9.7%. Focus sales dropped 45.5%

Sales of the Lincoln brand plunged by 11% year over year in July as sales of Lincoln cars dropped 36%. Car sales totaled 2,153 units in the month, and utility vehicle sales totaled 5,745 units. SUV sales rose 4.3% year over year in July.

Ford reported 75 days of total inventory, down from 78 in June and from 77 in July of last year. Dealer stock totaled 63 days of supply, down from 64 days in June and from 66 last year.

Ford’s stock traded down about 0.6% Tuesday morning at $9.99. The 52-week range is $9.84 to $13.48, and the 12-month consensus price target is $11.41.