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Inside Ford’s Segmental US Sales in March 2017

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Dec. 4 2020, Updated 10:52 a.m. ET

Ford’s March fleet sales

In March 2017, Ford’s (F) total US fleet sales were 78,510 vehicle units. That’s a 17.0% YoY (year-over-year) fall in fleet sales for the home market. Now let’s see why these lower fleet sales could be positive for Ford.

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Fall in fleet segment share

Fleet sales accounted for about 33.2% of Ford’s total US sales in March 2017. That was significantly lower than 37.1% in March 2016.

Ford’s US sales to rental car companies fell to 15.7% in March 2017 from 16.7% a year ago. Continued lower contributions of fleet sales to Ford’s total US sales could help Ford boost its profitability going forward. That’s because fleet vehicle sales typically tend to have lower margins than retail vehicle sales. So it’s important for automakers to maintain the right balance between retail sales and fleet sales.

Trucks and SUV segment

In March, Ford sold 76,625 vehicle units of Ford brand SUVs (sport utility vehicles), a 3.4% fall YoY. In contrast, sales of Ford’s truck segment rose 2.5% YoY to 102,281 units. That was significantly higher than February 2017 truck sales of 83,396.

As noted earlier in this series, trucks and SUVs tend to have higher margins than smaller cars. In Ford’s case, higher March US truck sales but lower SUV sales should have a mixed impact on Ford’ 1Q17 margins.

US sales of heavyweight vehicles such as SUVs and trucks have risen significantly in the last couple of years. This sales trend has benefited mainstream automakers (IYK) such as Ford, General Motors (GM), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), and Toyota (TM).

Let’s move on to the next part where we’ll look at General Motors’ March 2017 US sales data.

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