Ford's July sales up on better inventory flow

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co.'s July sales grew 36.6% year-over-year even as industrywide sales fell, which the Dearborn automaker chalked up to improvements in inventory flow.

Ford sold 163,942 new vehicles in the U.S. last month, one year from a period when the automaker was being hit particularly hard by a global shortage of semiconductor chips.

Light-vehicle sales in the U.S. were mostly flat from June to July, industry forecaster LMC Automotive reported Wednesday. July sales came in around 1.13 million units, down 11.6% year-over-year and slightly below expectations as tight inventories continued to constrain results.

American Honda sales were down 47.4% year-over-year in July. Hyundai Motor America's U.S. sales were off 11%. And Toyota Motor North America's sales were down more than 20%.

The Blue Oval's results, however, were a bright spot.

"On the positive side, Ford, Mazda and Toyota gained the most volume from June," Augusto Amorim, senior manager of Americas vehicle sales forecasts for LMC, said in a statement.

"Toyota remained the bestselling brand, but its lead over Ford shrank considerably this month," Amorim added. "Toyota was ahead of Ford by 2,400 units, down from the 8,000-unit lead in June. When it comes to models, the F-150 and RAV4 continue to fight fiercely for the sales crown, and this month the F-150 was ahead by 600 units."

Though General Motors Co. does not report sales on a monthly basis, LMC reported that the Detroit automaker was outsold by Toyota Motor Corp. last month for the first time since January.

Meanwhile, the Blue Oval saw electric-vehicle sales jump nearly 170% year-over-year and its flagship F-Series truck lineup sold 60,000 units for the first time this year — in part due to sales of the new all-electric F-150 Lightning.

Ford sold 2,173 F-150 Lightnings in July, bringing the total since the all-electric truck launched earlier this year to 4,469. The automaker said Wednesday it has delivered the truck to customers in all 50 states. Texas and California, the truck and EV centers of the U.S., respectively, led with the most Lightning deliveries through late July, according to Ford.

The automaker also pointed to growing sales of its hybrid vehicle lineup, which rose more than 35% in July. Ford was the No. 2 hybrid vehicle seller behind Toyota.

Ford captured a 10.9% share of the EV segment in July, its highest level on record. That's up from 7.3% in the second quarter and 4.4% in the first.

As the automaker increasingly emphasizes its order bank over customers browsing dealer lots, Ford reported a record pace of just over half of retail sales coming from previously placed orders in July. The automaker on Tuesday reopened order banks for the Bronco Sport, Edge, Explorer and Ranger. 

For Ford brand SUVs, the only nameplate that sale declined year-over-year was the EcoSport. The Bronco and Bronco Sport collectively had sales of 18,228 units in July, up 227% over a year ago. And overall, the company's SUV sales were up nearly 70%.

F-Series sales were up 21.1% over a year ago. Lincoln brand sales of nearly 7,000 units were up 64.5% year-over-year. Mustang sales were down 18.4%.

Year-to-date, Ford's sales are down 3.3%. For the industry, light-vehicle sales in the U.S. are down 17.3% year-to-date, according to LMC.

LMC's trimmed forecast for full-year U.S. light-vehicle sales now stands at 14 million, which would represent a nearly 6% decline from 2021.

“The outlook for autos is clouded with continued uncertainty and dynamic risk factors," Jeff Schuster, president of Americas operations and global vehicle forecasts for the firm, said in a statement.

"The constraint remains centered on the supply side of the market, though a slowdown in demand is likely already underway, but masked by the lack of inventory," he added. "We continue to expect a pullback in demand, but overall volume is not likely to result in lower levels, just lack of a pronounced recovery.”

Twitter: @JGrzelewski