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Ford's First-Quarter Sales Increase 10.1% on Improved F-Series Truck Production

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters
  • Ford on Tuesday reported a roughly 10% increase in its quarterly U.S. sales, led by jumps in its critical F-Series pickups and Bronco SUVs.
  • The Detroit automaker sold 475,906 vehicles during the first three months of the year, up 10.1% compared with subdued levels a year earlier due to supply chain problems.
  • The increase comes as Wall Street analysts monitor rising vehicle inventories and incentives for the U.S. automotive industry following historically low levels of both during the past three years.

DETROIT – Ford Motor on Tuesday reported a roughly 10% increase in its quarterly U.S. sales, led by jumps in its critical F-Series pickups and Bronco SUVs.

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The Detroit automaker sold 475,906 vehicles during the first three months of the year, up 10.1% compared with subdued levels a year earlier due to supply chain problems. Its namesake brand increased 10.7%, while its Lincoln luxury brand was off 1.1%.

Sales of Ford's trucks rose by nearly 20%, while car sales were up by 5.1% and SUVs increased by less than 1%. Sales of Ford's EVs increased by 41%. However, they only amounted to less than 10,900 vehicles, or about 2.3% of its quarterly sales.

Sales of the electric F-150 Lightning totaled 4,291 pickups during the quarter, which included several weeks of downtime after a vehicle caught fire. Ford said Tuesday that it is still on track to expand production of the electric pickup at a Michigan plant to an annual production run rate of 150,000 this year.

Ford reported sales of 170,377 F-Series pickups, up about 21% compared with a year earlier. Other notable sales increases included its Bronco SUV, up nearly 38%; its Explorer SUV, up 36%; and its Expedition, which saw its sales nearly double.

"Ford is off to a fast start to the year. Ford's sales growth and investments are a direct result of strong customer demand across our truck, SUV, and electric vehicle segments," Andrew Frick, Ford vice president of sales distribution and trucks, said in a statement.

Ford's sales increase comes as Wall Street analysts monitor rising vehicle inventories and incentives for the U.S. automotive industry following historically low levels of both during the past three years.

"With inventory up for the 8th consecutive month, incentives are creeping back in. How much longer can car prices remain so unaffordable? We think rising inventory will be the 'tell' of cracking industry price discipline," Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas said in an investor note Monday night.

Incentives were up 3.5% year over year at $1,529 per car in March, up from $1,490 the previous month, Jonas noted. The increase was largely from domestic automakers, as inventories slowly creep up. Both incentives and inventories are still lower than historical levels.

Morgan Stanley estimates industry sales last month rose 8.7%, as automakers increase production levels following several years of significant supply chain problems.

General Motors on Monday said its first-quarter U.S. sales rose 18% from a year ago, to just over 600,000 vehicles delivered, as it continued its rebound from the supply chain problems that limited global auto production in 2021 and early 2022.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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