turned in strong March results, with deliveries up 9.0% on a daily selling rate basis to 231,127 vehicles, volume not seen since May 2007.
Several newmodels posted gains, with the Fusion midsize sedan up 9.9% and the Escape cross/utility vehicle rising 32.3%.
The 30,284 Fusion deliveries in March mark the first time the car has eclipsed the 30,000 mark in monthly sales since its introduction in 2005, but Ford officials hint that volume may not be sustainable due to capacity constraints.
“We’ve seen record customer sales and strong demand in California and Florida,” Ken Czubay, vice president-U.S. marketing, sales and service, says of markets where the auto maker has struggled in the past. “That will begin to place some constraints in supply starting in coming months.”
Ford currently builds the Fusion at its Hermosillo, Mexico, plant alongside the Lincoln MKZ midsize sedan. Plans call for additional capacity to be added at the Flat Rock, MI, facility this fall.
Czubay, in a conference call today with media and analysts to discuss March sales results, does not disclose current Fusion inventory levels, saying only that levels won’t go “critically low,” but days’ supply will “drop lower than generally accepted.”
Auto makers traditionally like to have 65 days’ supply of high-volume products such as the Fusion. WardsAuto data put the Fusion’s days’ supply at 40 at the end of February.
Ford likely will be able to meet rising demand for the Escape CUV, the lone product built at its Louisville, KY, assembly plant.
Escape volume in March of 28,934 units also set a monthly record. Czubay says the Escape was the best-selling small CUV in the U.S. through the first two months of the year and is expected to pace the segment in March, as well.
“Customers are buying our all-new Fusion and Escape in record numbers, and we are working harder than ever to keep pace with demand,” he says.
Ford’s top-selling F-Series fullsize pickup posted an 18.8% increase in March to 62,997 units, wrapping up its best first-quarter since 2007 and the 20th consecutive month of sales gains.
Czubay says the performance is especially impressive, given the current competition from a revamped Ram 1500 and’ sell-down of Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra pickups ahead of new model launches next month.
He is confident the F-Series will continue to dominate the segment, despite the challenge coming from the new GM pickups.
“Consumers will continue to see the overall value of Ford trucks,” he says. “The marketplace will grade us overall, and so far, and we believe in the future, (it) will show the F-Series be the best-selling pickup in America.”
Ford ended March with 563,000 light vehicles in inventory, including 145,000 utility vehicles, 245,000 trucks and 173,000 cars, equating to 62 days’ supply.