Ford’s third-quarter auto sales fall 4.9% as demand for its popular F-Series pickups weakens

RT: Ford Escape SUV at auto show 190416
People walk by a Ford Escape SUV displayed during the media day for the Shanghai auto show
in Shanghai, China, April 16, 2019. Aly Song | Reuters

DETROIT – U.S. vehicle sales for Ford Motor declined 4.9% during the third quarter from a year ago as demand for the company’s best-selling F-Series pickup started to wane, the automaker said Wednesday.

An 8.8% increase in the Dearborn automaker’s truck and van sales the past three months wasn’t enough to offset a 10.5% decrease in SUV sales and a 29.5% drop in cars.

Ford sold 580,251 vehicles in the third quarter compared to 609,934 a year ago. The Ford brand was down 5.6%, while the company’s Lincoln luxury brand increased sales 11.7%

Ford’s shares fell by more than 4% in morning trading Wednesday after opening at $8.85.

Fiat Chrysler on Wednesday said its third-quarter sales were level from a year ago with record sales of its newly redesigned Jeep Wrangler helping to offset a decline in demand for its other cars. Strong sales of its Ram trucks line and Dodge Challenger muscle car also helped keep its overall sales from sliding.

Sales of Ford’s highly-profitable F-Series pickup line tumbled 6% in the quarter, dragging the truck’s sales during the first nine months of the year down 2.4% as the company competes against newer models from crosstown rivals Fiat Chrysler and General Motors.

“Our truck, van and commercial business continued to be strong in the third quarter, with record van sales and continued F-Series sales leadership,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a press release announcing the sales results.

LaNeve called this year a “transitional one” for the company as Ford moves its lineup away from passenger cars to new or redesigned trucks, crossovers and SUVs.

Ford sold 1.8 million vehicles during the first nine months of the year, a 3.5% decline from the same time last year.

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