Auto sales in the United States have begun to recover in recent months following the initial Covid-19-induced downturn. However, some companies have been recovering faster than others. Among the big three automakers, it appears that Ford has managed to eek out an edge based on their recent Q3 report.
According to Ford, their third-quarter sales fell by just 4.9% compared to last year. This is much better than competitors like GM and Fiat Chrysler, who both saw sales fall by at or around 10%. Ford’s numbers are also better than those given by auto industry forecasters, who estimated an average auto sales decline of 11-13% across the industry.
In other years, companies like Ford wouldn’t celebrate drops in sales figures. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed things, as earlier in the year, sales dropped by nearly 30% compared to 2019. As such, the closer a company can get to closing that gap, the better. This certainly seems to be the case for Ford, who said sales were up 27% compared to Q2.
Much of Ford’s rebound comes from the sale of their pickup trucks. The company reported that this third quarter was the best they’ve had for pickup trucks since 2005, with F-Series sales up by 7.5% and Ford Ranger sales up by 8.2%. Ford’s fleet sales also seemed to be rebounding. While sales in the third quarter were down by 13.7% compared to 2019, they were up by 137% compared to this year’s second quarter. In particular, Explorer sales rose by 74%.
Going into the fourth quarter, Ford has said that they are “cautiously optimistic.” Mark LaNeve, Ford Vice President of U.S. marketing, sales and service, stated that the company has “really good momentum”, and while “nobody really knows what twist and turns could come from a pandemic environment or the election”, they’re looking forward to the next quarter.