Ford Motor Co. experienced a third quarter sales upswing in the U.S., recovering from supply chain and delivery issues in previous months, according to sales data released Tuesday.
The company reported a 16% jump in total sales to 464,674 vehicles from July through September a year ago, with a 4% increase in truck sales and a 33% increase in SUV sales.
The trend reflects the fact that Ford had a lot of its vehicles in transit and those trucks and SUVs hit dealer lots in July and August, said Erich Merkle, Ford U.S. sales analyst.
"Right now, it's just pitch and catch," he told the Free Press. "Customers are waiting. We're doing everything we can to deliver our vehicles as fast as we can."
By contrast, General Motors sales jumped 24% to 555,580 vehicles from July through September as a result of available parts and strong consumer demand. Stellantis dropped 6% to 385,665 vehicles sold in the third quarter. Toyota fell 7.1% to 526,017 vehicles sold in the same period.
A delay in deliveries of the Ford blue oval badges that go on trucks, along with some chrome trim parts, disrupted deliveries in September, the company said.
These challenges cut F-Series sales 2.8% to 167,962 pickups during the past three months. And Ranger sales dipped 13.1% to 12,453 vehicles.
However, the little Maverick pickup surged from 506 vehicles sold to 13,049 in the third quarter alone.
Its order bank has shut down for model year 2023 and hasn't opened for 2024 yet.
"The Maverick has definitely hit a sweet spot with our customers," said Thad Szott, co-owner of Szott Auto Group that includes Szott Ford in Holly. "Demand is almost as crazy as toilet paper ahead of the lingering (COVID) shutdown. The 2023 models sold out in six days and we have more people asking about them every day in the showroom, via internet leads, text messages and Facebook messenger. This market is wild."
First-time pickup owners
More than 80% of Maverick customers are first-time truck buyers. And the top competitive conquests are coming from the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda Civic, Ford spokesman Said Deep told the Free Press.
Nearly half of the small pickup trucks sold in 2022 have been hybrid, which is a standard feature. The hybrid vehicle uses a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric motor and does not plug into an outlet. The battery charges when braking and in collaboration with the gasoline-fueled engine to maximize efficiency.
And also, I went there to order a Ford Maverick. Dealer informed me that Ford is no longer any more orders for the 2023 Maverick, and orders won't reopen till sometime next year for the 2024 model. Ford definitely has a good problem on their hands
— Anthony (@Anthony_DSmith) October 2, 2022
In addition, 62% of the Maverick buyers are new to Ford, more than one in three of them opting for hybrid, Deep said.
Maverick is turning at unprecedented rates on the dealer lots, in fewer than 10 days. And while the order banks are sold out, Ford will be shipping a supply of Maverick pickups to its dealers. If someone wants a Maverick, reach out and contact a dealer, Deep said.
"Our new orders for Maverick totaled more than 86,000 in September and we were open for less than a week," Deep said.
Karl Brauer, executive analyst for the iseecars.com shopping site, told the Free Press, "The Maverick absolutely appeals to nontraditional Ford buyers. Of course it’s the least expensive new Ford you can buy, which opens the brand up to younger, less-affluent buyers. And the Maverick offers excellent fuel efficiency, adding to its appeal for price-sensitive consumers."
He added, "It’s sort of funny when you think about — the domestics have built their business model on selling high-priced, high-profit trucks and SUVs that weren’t particularly fuel efficient. But the Maverick’s low price and high fuel efficiency, combined with its truck body style, is an enigma in today’s market, and clearly one the market was waiting for."
Now Ford just needs to get those Maverick pickups built and delivered.
While Ford is looking to the future, this is what sold in third quarter:
Mustang was up 13.6% to 10,354
Bronco Sport was up 3.6% to 21,427
Bronco was up 236% to 31,545
Mustang Mach-E was up 77% to 10,414
Ford Edge was up 3.7% to 16,170
Explorer was up 17% to 53,326
Expedition was up 12% to 18,760
In the luxury arena, Lincoln saw a 17.5% increase in sales to 20,027 of mostly MKC/Corsair, Aviator and Navigator.
Ford fell short slightly of the sales forecast from Edmunds.com car shopping site, which predicted a 17.8% spike to 472,030 vehicles. The market continues to lack predictability.
"Most Americans are probably used to upsizing or upscaling whenever making a new car purchase, but it’s more realistic to expect a reduction in your disposable income for the foreseeable future," Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ director of insights, said in a statement with the forecast. "Try to stay within the same vehicle parameters and cost because, once you sign the paperwork, your monthly car payment is set.”
Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-618-1034 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ford’s Maverick pickup turning at unprecedented rates on dealer lots