Trucks, Crossovers Push Q2 Sales for Dearborn’s Ford, Detroit’s GM

Truck sales led the way for Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. in the second quarter, while trucks and crossovers dominated for Detroit’s General Motors.
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2019 Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger helped drive Q2 sales for Ford. // Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Truck sales led the way for Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. in the second quarter, while trucks and crossovers dominated for Detroit’s General Motors.

Ford sold 650,336 vehicles, which is down 4.1 percent year-over-year. Its truck sales increased 7.5 percent to 324,243, while SUV sales dropped 8.6 percent to 215,898 and car sales dropped 21.4 percent to 110,195.

For the company, truck and SUVs totaled 83 percent of Q2 sales, which is up four percentage points from the year before, growing quarter-ending transaction prices by $1,500 to $36,400 per vehicle.

First-quarter growth for trucks was 5 percent. The second quarter was the company’s best overall pickup truck sales performance since 2004.

“In a very competitive market, we grew our total pickup segment share in Q2, and we have extended F-Series’ leadership this year, and now with the Ranger introduction, we have further broadened America’s best-selling lineup,” says Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service for Ford. “We also began selling our all-new Explorer at the end of the quarter. With the Explorer and the all-new Escape coming soon, we are on track to have the freshest SUV lineup in the industry by year’s end.”

Total Q2 F-Series sales passed the 230,000 mark. F-Series transaction pricing was solid at $47,500 per truck, $1,200 higher than a year ago and $2,500 above the segment average.

Ranger sales have grown every month since January, adding 20,880 trucks to Ford’s total pickup truck sales for the quarter. The truck’s sales more than doubled relative to Q1 results.

Ford’s commercial business was up 6 percent in Q2. Combined, sales of the class 6 and 7 F-650/F-750 trucks were up 83 percent in Q2 and up 53 percent calendar year to date. This is the sector’s best performance since 1997.

In July, additional capacity will be added at the Kentucky truck plant to support demand for the Expedition, which posted a total sales increase of 50 percent. EcoSport grew 23 percent with 21,507 sales in the second quarter. The all-new Explorer went on sale at the end of Q2. The plant changeover accounts for lower SUV sales in Q2.

Sales of the Nautilus posted a 13 percent gain on sales of 8,187 SUVs for the first quarter. Nautilus average transaction pricing at the end of Q2 increased to $44,300 per SUV, up $3,700.

Retail sales of special performance series Mustangs (GT350 and Bullitt) were up 39 percent in Q2 of this year, increasing Mustang transaction pricing by $1,200 over a year ago to $36,600 per car.

Lincoln SUVs were off to their best start since 2001 with sales of 39,109 through the first six months of the year. The Lincoln Aviator is now on sale, and the all-new Corsair will be available later this year.

GM delivered 746,659 vehicles in the U.S. in Q2. Crossover sales grew year-over-year by 17 percent, and sales of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab were both up 12 percent year-over-year. The company’s fleet mix of total sales was 23 percent.

“The light-duty segment is the highest-volume part of the pickup market, and we are expanding choice to make sure that we meet the needs of every customer,” says Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations. “Heavy-duty trucks, by contrast, are about 25 percent of full-size pickup sales. Our HDs are purpose-built machines for people who need maximum capability, and we are poised for significant growth.”

Sales of every Buick crossover were up year-over-year, with the Envision posting a 28 percent sales increase. The Enclave was up 21 percent, and the Encore was up 5 percent. Buick deliveries were up 5 percent, and GMC deliveries were up 10 percent.

Cadillac crossover deliveries were up 19 percent in total year-over-year, helping the brand grow both total and retail sales.

The Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, and GMC Yukon XL were each up more than 20 percent compared to a year ago.

GM deliveries overall were down 1.5 percent versus a year ago, in line with third-party estimates for industry sales. The company estimates its retail market share was even with a year ago, with truck and crossover deliveries offsetting lower passenger car sales.

“The U.S. economy continues to grow at a healthy pace. Jobs are plentiful and inflation remains low,” says Elaine Buckberg, chief economist for GM. “Auto demand was better than anticipated in the first half, and we expect strong performance in the second half of the year. If the Fed cuts rates, as widely expected, lower financing costs will provide further support to auto sales.”

The U.S. light-vehicle seasonally adjusted annual rate for the first half of the year is expected to be 17 million units, Buckberg says.

GM has installed new body shops, upgraded paint shops, and reconfigured general assembly at its plants to increase capacity by 20,000 units compared with the outgoing model. The company’s crew cab mix has risen from 60 percent of sales to almost 75 percent year-over-year.

The company will double production of the Chevrolet Trail Boss after demand exceeded expectation. Chevrolet will also offer both Trail Boss models with a 420-horsepower, 6.2L V-8 engine in 2020.

Finally, GM is introducing its new fuel-efficient 3.0-liter Duramax diesel, which is expected to be available later this quarter.

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