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Ford’s December Sales Tanked 8.8%: Is a US Slowdown Coming?

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Ford Motor Company

Today, America’s second-largest automaker, Ford Motor Company (F), released its US sales figures for December 2018. 

The company reported an 8.8% YoY (year-over-year) fall in its December monthly sales to 220,774 units despite holiday season discounts. Let’s take a closer look.

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All segments reflected weakness

In December, all of Ford’s segments by vehicle type reflected weakness. Its passenger car sales fell 27.8% YoY to 34,950 units in the month. More worrisome was the fall in its SUV (sport utility vehicle) and truck sales. The company posted 4.4% and 3.8% YoY falls in its SUV and truck sales, respectively, in the United States.

Note that despite falling car sales, consistent strength in automakers’ truck sales has helped them protect their profit margins for over three years. December was the fourth consecutive month during which Ford’s total US sales and its truck sales continued to fall YoY.

Ford also has been struggling to revive its plummeting sales in the Chinese market lately. The US-China trade war has proved to be a negative factor for automakers such as Ford, hurting their international market profits.

In addition to Ford’s massive fall, its peer General Motors (GM) also reported a 2.7% fall in its US sales. Auto sales (XLY) are considered to be a leading indicator for the economy, which is why these falls could be early indicators of a potential US market slowdown.

Today, at 10:22 AM EST, Ford, GM, Toyota Motor (TM), and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) were down 0.2%, 2.6%, 0.8%, and 0.6%, respectively.

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