Ford Sales Plunge 11% in September on Tough Comparison

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Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) on Tuesday reported September sales fell by 11.2% year over year to 197,404 Ford and Lincoln vehicles, compared with September 2017 sales of 222,248. Passenger car sales fell 25.7% in the month while sport utility vehicle sales fell 2.7% and truck sales dropped 9.9%.

Total retail sales fell 12.6% year over year in September to 148,233 units, and fleet sales dropped by 6.7% to 49,171 units. Sales of F-Series pickups fell to 93,408 units.

Ford’s passenger car sales continued tumbling in September, and the sales decline was exacerbated by a tough comparison with last year. Vehicle sales rose sharply last year as Americans hit by Hurricane Harvey replaced vehicles damaged or destroyed by the storm. This year Hurricane Florence forced some dealerships to close, reducing sales even more.

Total monthly sales compare to an estimate of 198,000 by analysts Cox Automotive. Kelley Blue Book estimated an average transaction price of $40,442, up 3.2% year over year but down 1.1% compared with August’s average selling price of $40,891. Kelley Blue Book transaction prices do not include applied consumer incentives.

Ford said its average transaction price for the month increased by $1,500. F-Series transaction prices are running at “record levels” of $46,600, up by $1,000 year over year. Super Duty trucks fetched a record $59,100 in September, up $400 month over month.

Truck sales comprised 47.3% of September sales, and the F-Series pickups accounted for 38% of total monthly sales. Both totals are higher than August levels.

Total Ford SUV sales slipped by 2.5% year over year in September, with both the Escape and the Edge down nearly 21%. Expedition sales rose 27.4% to 3,627 and Explorer sales dipped by 0.7% to 18,769 units. The company’s best-selling SUV, the Escape, posted sales of 20,398 units in September.

Ford-brand passenger car sales dropped by 25.7% year over year, with sales of Fusion down 25.3% and Fiesta down 11.7%. Focus sales dropped by 38.8%. Mustang sales dipped by 1.3% to 5,770 units.

Sales of the Lincoln brand fell by 7.2% year over year in September, as sales of Lincoln cars dropped 12.3%. Car sales totaled 2,543 units in the month and SUV sales totaled 5,625 units, down by 4.7% year over year. Navigator sales rose 77.3% to 1,257 units.

Ford reported 77 days of total inventory, up by two days compared with August and five days more compared with September of last year. Dealer stock totaled 61 days of supply, up from 60 days in August and from 60 last year.

Ford’s stock traded down about 1% Tuesday morning at $9.23. The 52-week range is $9.09 to $13.48, and the 12-month consensus price target is $10.78.

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