Hot Fusion paces Ford salesBy Bradford Wernle
With a second factory -- in Flat Rock, Mich. -- online producing Ford Fusions, sales of Ford's hot mid-sized sedan soared 71 percent in October, pacing Ford Motor Co. to a 14 percent monthly sales increase.
"The Fusion broke an October retail record in every one of our five markets nationally," said John Felice, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service.
Ford now produces the Fusion at both Flat Rock and Hermosillo, Mexico.
The other car Ford makes at Hermosillo, the Lincoln MKZ, also registered big sales gains: up 80 percent for the month to 2,909 units. MKZ sales paced Lincoln to a 38 percent gain for October, to 7,131 units. Ford's only remaining luxury brand launched a new ad campaign in October comparing the MKZ to the Lexus ES. The MKZ has reported record sales for six of the past seven months.
Ford brand sales rose 13 percent in October.
Sales of Ford F-series pickups continued strong for the month, up 19 percent to 63,803. Ford is starting a changeover from the 2013 to 2014 model F-150. Virtually all the F-150s sold in October were 2013 models, but the mix on dealer lots is up to about 20 percent 2014s.
While sales of Ford brand cars rose 16.5 percent, both the Focus and C-Max hybrids dropped, 17.5 percent and 20.5 percent, respectively. Ford announced last month that it would shut the Michigan Assembly plant, where the two vehicles are assembled, for two weeks to adjust supply to demand.
Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst, said that C-Max sales rose 16 percent in October over September in an environment of low fuel prices.
Sales recovered nicely after the government shutdown ended in the middle of the month.
"Given the threat of a government shutdown, we're pleased," said Felice, who was on his first sales call after replacing the retired Ken Czubay as Ford's top U.S. sales and marketing executive.
For the first 10 months of this year, Ford Motor Co. sales rose 12 percent to 2.1 million units. Fleet sales accounted for 26 percent of sales, the same as a year ago. Of that number, 12 percent was commercial, 6 percent government and 8 percent to daily rental fleets.
Ford dealers finished the month with 644,000 vehicles in inventory, or a 91-day supply. That compares with 507,000, or an 81-day supply, a year earlier.
[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]