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Strong truck sales lift Ford's May results

Jun 12, 2023Jun 12, 2023

Ford Motor Co.'s sales rose 10.7% year-over-year in May, boosted by strong sales of the automaker's flagship F-Series truck line and amid big gains industrywide.

The Dearborn automaker sold 170,933 vehicles in the United States across its Ford and Lincoln brands in May, up from 154,461 in May 2022, according to figures released Friday. Year to date, the company's sales are up 8.8%.

Sales were up significantly across the industry in May. American Honda sales were up 58.2% year-over-year; the company that includes the Honda and Acura brands attributed the increase to healthy inventory levels and new products. Hyundai sales were up 18%. Toyota Motor North America reported an increase of more than 6%.

Industry data provider Cox Automotive said Friday that initial estimates of May sales indicate results were even stronger than Cox's forecast of 20.3% year-over-year volume growth.

"New-vehicle inventory was at a two-year high heading into the month, and some automakers were beginning to turn up the volume on incentives," analysts wrote in a note. "As expected, pent-up demand and improved inventory levels helped drive higher sales volumes. May is often a good month for new-vehicle sales, and May 2023 did not disappoint."

Ford's internal combustion engine vehicles, which make up the vast majority of its sales, were up 11.1% in May, while hybrid vehicle sales rose 20.5%. Ford's electric vehicle sales were down 13% year-over-year as the automaker works to ramp up production at the plants that make the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning. The company said it expects to see the results of those efforts show up in results in the second half of the year.

Mach-E production was down at Ford's Cuautitlan plant in Mexico for several weeks earlier this year while the company prepared to increase production there to 130,000 units this year. Mach-E output has risen steadily the last few months, according to production data released Friday, with more than 13,600 units assembled in May. Year to date, the plant has produced more than 33,000 Mach-Es.

Trucks were a point of strength for the Blue Oval in May, with sales up 31.6% to more than 98,000 units. Driving that strong performance was the F-Series, which posted a 42.7% year-over-year gain. Sales of the F-150 soared nearly 50%, while the redesigned Super Duty that recently launched saw sales grow 33.9% in May.

Sales of the electric F-150 Lightning totaled 1,707 for the month.

Meanwhile, in the SUV segment, sales were down nearly 10% in May. Results for Ford brand SUVs were down for the EcoSport, Bronco, Mach-E, Edge and Explorer. Sales of the Bronco Sport, redesigned Escape and Expedition were up.

Ford's luxury Lincoln brand posted a 14.4% sales decline for the month.

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