By CHRIS JACKETT
DEARBORN – The first two weeks of the month have brought big news for Ford Motor Co.
The locally based auto giant said in a Nov. 3 statement that October’s monthly sales increased 19 percent in comparison to October 2009. Nearly 158,000 vehicles were sold last month, and numbers for the past 10 months are up nearly 21 percent to almost 1.6 million total vehicles sold.
“Increasingly, consumers are choosing Ford,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service. “Ford’s broad range of high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles offer buyers value that endures for the life of the purchase and when they trade their vehicle.”
The profitable announcement resulted in shares of Ford stock increasing from $14.43 per share two weeks ago to $16.63 as of market closing Thursday afternoon, according to the New York Stock Exchange. The high of the week was $16.71 per share on Nov. 10, more than 50 cents higher than the previous high in June 2004.
In comparison, Ford’s stock was just $8.24 per share on Nov. 13, 2009.
“I don’t think we should make too much of it,” Ford sales analyst George Pipas said. “I mean, it’s a pleasant surprise, but it’s just one data point. Certainly happy to have it and another month of market share gains at Ford, but still a couple of months left, and then we go on to 2011.”
Pipas said the entire auto industry saw success last quarter, but that Ford’s improvement allowed the company to surpass General Motors as the industry leader.
Ford saw steady increases throughout all three brands and major vehicle types when comparing the past two October sales numbers, as well as in year-to-date comparisons.
Ford models increased 20.6 percent with 143,600 sold last month, totaling about 1.45 million in the past 10 months for the bulk of the increase at 22.6 percent. Similarly, Lincoln increased 1.5 percent and Mercury 12 percent to boost 6.3 and 3.6 percent annual increases.
Among vehicle types, consumers selected cars and trucks in most cases, raising sales 20.4 and 25.2 percent, respectively, in comparison to this time last year. Utility vehicles also were successful with a 9.4 percent increase. All three types’ annual totals increased between 14.8 and 28.5 percent, leading to the 20.7 percent total increase of about 1.6 million vehicles sold.
Of all Ford brand vehicles available, F-Series trucks sold best, totaling about 435,000 units so far this year. The Escape was the top-selling utility vehicle at more than 158,000, while the car category was split between the Fusion (179,000) and Focus (147,000).
The Lincoln and Mercury brands total about 70,000 and 79,000, respectively, with the Mercury Mariner (25,000) and Lincoln MKX (17,800) leading the way in each brand.
With the successful launch of the Ford Fiesta, which has sold nearly 15,000 cars so far, company officials hope for continued success as the turn of the calendar approaches.
“We are pleased to see Ford’s momentum continue as we start the fourth quarter,” Czubay said. “We have several key product launches ahead, such as the new F-150 powertrains, Explorer and Focus, and we plan to continue the new product momentum into 2011 and beyond.”
(Contact Chris Jackett at [email protected])