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Ford’s Truck Sales Fell in April for the First Time in 2017

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Ford’s truck and SUV sales

In April 2017, Ford Motor Company (F) sold ~73,318 vehicle units of SUVs—up 1.2% on a YoY (year-over-year) basis. In contrast, sales for Ford’s truck segment fell 4.2% to 91,520 units in April 2017—compared to 95,572 units sold in April 2016. Lower truck sales show pessimism. Data from Ford’s truck segment were significantly lower than the company’s truck sales figures of 102,281 in March 2017.

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Negative for Ford’s 2Q margins

As we noted earlier in this series, trucks and utility vehicles tend to have higher margins than small cars for automakers. Ford’s lower trucks sales in April could have a negative impact on its 2Q17 profit margins.

Heavyweight vehicle sales in the US, such as SUVs and trucks, have gone up significantly in the last few years. The sales trend benefited mainstream automakers (IYK) such as Ford, General Motors (GM), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), and Toyota (TM). However, stagnation in US truck sales in April could hurt auto investors’ sentiments and raise concerns about future auto sales in the country.

Ford’s April fleet sales

In April 2017, Ford’s total US fleet sales stood at 73,933 vehicle units. The company didn’t report a major YoY (year-over-year) change in its fleet sales in the home market.

As a percentage, fleet sales accounted for about 34.4% of Ford’s total US sales in April 2017. The fleet sales percentage accounted for 33.5% of its total US sales in April 2016.

Fleet sales’ continued higher contributions in Ford’s total US sales could hurt the company’s profitability going forward. Fleet sales result in lower margins compared to retail sales.

In the next part, we’ll look at April US sales data for General Motors.

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