Ford Motor’s U.S. auto sales plunged -15.6% in 2020, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a decrease in commercial fleet sales, and lower inventories of its F-150 pickup trucks.
Fourth quarter sales of the full-size pickup fell -33% year-over-year, amid factory shutdowns last spring due to Covid-19 as well as a changeover in production of the facilities to produce the redesigned F-150.
“We’re optimizing the production at both plants right now and it’s a matter of getting more F-150s out to our dealer lots,” Erich Merkle, Ford’s head of U.S. sales analysis, told CNBC. He said inventories of the F-150 were 141,000 units as of end last year, compared to 267,000 a year earlier.
The company’s truck sales fell -11.3% in 2020. Its SUVs were - 9.7% lower year over year. Sales of passenger cars, which Ford is discontinuing, aside from key models such as the Mustang, decreased -44.7% in 2020.
The overall U.S. automotive industry sales were estimated to decrease -15% to 14.5 million vehicles in 2020. That would be the lowest domestic sales since 2012. It also marks a departure from the five-year streak of sales exceeding 17 million units.