Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) has announced extraordinary news. In July, its U.S. sales rose 36.6% to 163,942. It compared that to an industry decline of 10.5% in the same month. It is fair to question that industry figure, since Ford does not have the exact sales numbers of every other company that sold cars and light trucks during the month. Ford’s public relations department is prone to taking great news and trying to make it better.
Some cars did much better than others. Sales of the new Mustang Mach-E rose 74.1% to 4,970 in July. Sales of the compact electric vehicle (EV) have been so brisk that people cannot even place orders at the Ford website. The success of the vehicle is among the reasons people think Ford’s future in the EV market is bright.
The sales of Ford’s iconic sports car, the Mustang, dropped 18.4% in the month to 3,367. The car was a flagship of sorts for the Ford division. Ford has sold millions of the sports cars since it was introduced in 1965. About 400,000 Mustangs were sold when it was launched that year, which makes it among the most successful car launches in U.S. history.
Ford has not abandoned the Mustang. It still offers seven models of the car, which range in price from $27,470 to $79,420. However, its sales are dwarfed by most other Ford division models. Ford has rotated its brand to sport utility vehicles, crossovers and pickups.
It is hard to say why the Mustang has started to disappear. Perhaps Americans do not want cars with large engines (although at the lower end of the model range, a 2.3L engine is not especially large). Perhaps Americans have moved away from small sports cars.
Ford’s future is based on sales of SUVs and pickups, particularly its F-150. Cars barely matter at all anymore.
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