The future for Ford is electric
Jim Farley promises ‘Detroit swagger’ will carry Ford from Model T to Mach-E.
Detroit Free Press
Ford Motor Co. sold more vehicles than Toyota, General Motors and Stellantis during the final three months of 2021 in what the Dearborn automaker said Wednesday is a sign of momentum in terms of production flow and delivery of popular new products.
“We could sell more vehicles if we had them, no question,” Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst for Ford, told the Free Press. “We sell whatever we can produce.”
Ford is delivering vehicles as fast as they can be built, with especially strong demand for the Ford Bronco, all-electric Mustang Mach-E and Maverick pickup.
Ford sold 508,451 vehicles in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with 474,378 for Toyota, 440,745 vehicles for General Motors and 411,513 for Stellantis.
Tesla, an all-electric automaker and Wall Street favorite, said it sold 308,600 globally during the same period, according to Bloomberg. Tesla doesn’t disclose U.S. auto sales.
“At this point, electrified vehicles have really broken through the gravitational pull,” Merkle said, referring to both battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
“We’re growing at a rate faster than the competition. I mean, the Maverick hybrid comes standard. We can’t keep it on the lots,” Merkle said. “The F-150 Hybrid is selling really well. This year will be all about production.”
Electrified segment spikes
Ford said it set a new December sales record for its portfolio of electrified vehicles with 12,284 sold, which reflects a pace that’s growing at more than four times the rate of the overall electrified vehicle segment.
Ford was the only automaker to sell more than a half million vehicles in the fourth quarter in the U.S., the company noted.
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A supply chain system disrupted by COVID-19 factory shutdowns has crippled the whole industry with a shortage in microchips and other key components preventing automakers from fulfilling customer demand globally.
Andrew Frick, vice president of sales in the U.S. and Canada, referred to the auto manufacturing landscape in 2021 as “turbulent and dynamic” and said he’s pleased with how Ford finished.
“We’re in a much better position this year,” Frick told reporters in a call. “We’re doing everything we can to be at full production right now.”
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Ford sales data for the full year illustrated a company hit hard by production issues.
It sold 1.9 million new vehicles in the U.S. in 2021, while GM reported 2.2 million new vehicles and Toyota 2.3 million new vehicles — mostly the Camry sedan, the RAV4 and Highlander SUVs and the Tacoma pickup. Stellantis reported selling nearly 1.8 million.
When it comes to the truck war — pickups generate massive profits — Ford F-Series maintained its status as bestselling truck in America for the 45th year in row and America’s bestselling vehicle for the 40th year in a row. F-Series sold a total of 726,004 pickups in 2021, Ford said.
“For the year, this was 156,616 trucks more than our second-place competitor,” Ford spokesperson Said Deep said. “Combined, Q4 F-Series, Ranger, Maverick sold 225,974 pickups.”
Meanwhile, Tesla sold 936,172 vehicles globally in 2021, according to Forbes.com. While the Texas-based automaker builds significantly fewer vehicles than its competitors, Tesla has established itself as a technology leader in carving out the all-electric segment.
And now consumers are shifting from gasoline-powered to battery-powered vehicles as governments create policies to combat emissions that contribute to climate change, and provide EV buyers with rebates of up to $7,500 per electric vehicle.
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Ford stock, which climbed Tuesday after news the company planned to ramp up production of its all-electric Lightning, saw continued growth Wednesday. Ford builds its all-electric Lightning trucks at the Rouge in Dearborn. Mach-E is assembled in Mexico for customers in North America and Europe while Ford just began building and delivering to customers in China in December.
Ford surged past its crosstown rival GM by nearly $2 billion in market valuation Tuesday.
Industry observers and investors are watching closely to see whether Ford will prove to come in No. 2 behind Tesla this year in all-electric vehicle sales in the U.S. Ford CEO Jim Farley said he plans to change the paradigm with production of an all-electric version of America’s bestselling F-Series, as well as the E-Transit van.
Free Press staff writer Jamie L. LaReau contributed to this report.
Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: [email protected] or 313-618-1034 . Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.