Ford outperforms industry with Q2, June sales gains

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co.'s new-vehicle sales in the U.S. ticked up 1.8% year-over-year in the second quarter and 31.5% in June, the Dearborn automaker reported Tuesday. In all, the Blue Oval sold 483,688 vehicles in the second quarter and 152,262 last month.

The results bucked an industry trend of declining sales in the second quarter. Crosstown rivals General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV posted 15% and 16% sales drops, respectively, for the three-month period, according to results released Friday. 

The remaining 2021 Ford F150 trucks at the North Brothers Ford dealer lot in Westland on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s sales were down 18% year-over-year in June. Honda Motor Co.'s second-quarter sales dropped 51% from the same period last year, which the company attributed to "severe" supply issues. Hyundai Motor Co. saw a 23% sales drop for the quarter.

Supply-chain issues and other disruptions have hampered auto production globally for roughly a year and a half. The production issues have depleted inventory levels, recently prompting forecasters to adjust their sales expectations for the year.

Cox Automotive, for example, is now forecasting 14.4 million new-vehicle sales in the U.S. this year — below the 14.6 million sales recorded in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic ate into results, and well below the roughly 17 million annual sales that were the norm in the years leading up to pandemic.

At the same time, high inflation, rising interest rates and sky-high vehicle prices may start to dampen demand that so far has held up during the pandemic.

For the month of June, Ford saw sales increases across its truck, SUV and EV segments as it reported outperforming the industry for the month. The automaker reported that share gains that brought it to 12.9% of the U.S. market were driven by sales of its F-Series truck lineup, its Explorer and Expedition SUVs and its battery-electric vehicles.

More:Stellantis sales fall in second quarter as chip shortage lingers

More:GM's sales drop in Q2, automaker still affirms yearly profit guidance

Despite the headwinds, Ford said it's seeing demand for new vehicles remain strong. The automaker saw roughly 50% of retail sales come from previously placed orders, setting a new record for the company. Ford, along with other automakers, has increasingly emphasized its order bank amid a lingering semiconductor shortage and other supply-chain disruptions.

Ford ended the month with 297,000 units of gross stock, which the company said is up from about 236,000 in gross stock inventory at the end of May — though many of those new units are in transit.

In June, sales of F-Series — Ford's profit engine — were up 26.3% year-over-year and represented 37.9% of the company's overall sales mix. Nearly 60% of F-Series retail sales came through Ford's order bank. Overall, Ford's pickup truck sales were up 26.3% from a year ago.

Meanwhile, Ford's June EV sales of 4,353 units marked a 76.6% increase from a year ago. June marked the second month of sales for the all-electric F-150 Lightning, which notched 1,837 sales. Ford has sold 2,296 units of the battery-electric truck since it launched. The Blue Oval was second in the country in EV sales in June, behind market leader Tesla Inc.

Ford brand SUV sales of 60,894 were up 35.3% year-over-year in June. That growth was fueled in part by sales of the Bronco lineup, which saw sales grow 82.7% year-over-year. Ford also reported seeing improvements in Explorer and Expedition sales, which it attributed to better inventory flow.

Not all of Ford's SUV saw gains in June, however. Sales of the EcoSport, Bronco Sport, Mustang Mach-E, and Expedition were down for the month. Lincoln brand sales were up 40.6% from last year in June. Year-to-date, Ford's sales are down 8.1% year-over-year.

The automaker's average transaction price rose $1,900 per vehicle from May to June, driving ATP for Ford and Lincoln vehicles to $52,200.

Meanwhile, investment research firm CFRA on Tuesday downgraded its opinion on Ford's stock from "strong buy" to "buy," citing chances of a recession. The firm downgraded its 12-month target on Ford shares by $6 to $16 per share. 

In a note, CFRA analyst Garrett Nelson noted that Ford outperformed an estimated industrywide volume decline of 20.8% in Q2. 

"Ford's sales continue to outperform peers who have struggled in the face of semiconductor shortages and supply chain issues, which we think reflects the popularity of a handful of newer models (the Mustang Mach-E, Bronco, F-150 Lightning)," wrote Nelson. "We recently lowered our industry outlook from neutral to negative and see near-term sales volumes and valuation multiples pressured by economic factors."

Ford shares on Tuesday hit a 52-week low of $10.61. The stock closed down nearly 1% to $11.21 per share.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski

Staff Writers Breana Noble and Kalea Hall contributed.