Ford’s 2010 Sales: So Long, Skeptics

While there are those who are modern-day variants of the flat earthers who are convinced that the auto industry isn’t really rebounding, Ford sales for 2010 ought to put a stake or whatever other implement is necessary in whatever orifice is appropriate to put an end to that thinking.

While there are those who are modern-day variants of the flat earthers who are convinced that the auto industry isn’t really rebounding, Ford sales for 2010 ought to put a stake or whatever other implement is necessary in whatever orifice is appropriate to put an end to that thinking.

We’re using Ford as an example here because:

1. It didn’t file for bankruptcy

2. It didn’t take a loan from the U.S. or Canadian governments or the UAW to keep the lights on

Which means simply that while GM and Chrysler did well, too (e.g., in GM’s case, it sold 118,435 more vehicles in 2010 than in 2009—and in 2009 it had eight brands versus the four that it has today; Chrysler Group sales were up 17% in ’10 vs. ’09), Ford did it without extraordinary assistance.

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Arguably, Ford did it with some extraordinary product.

The Ford brand is where the company really kicked it, which means that there is something to be said for a “One Ford” policy. For the year, Ford brand sales were up 21.5%, with a really strong showing of its Taurus and Fusion models, which were up 51% and 21.3%, respectively.

Mercury, which will be fading away sooner rather than later, showed a 1% overall increase for 2010, but at a total of 93,195 for the whole brand, that’s less than half of the number of Fusions sold in 2010 (219,219).

Lincoln, which the company insists has a franchise on its future, showed a 3.6% increase, with a total sales of 85,828 units, which really isn’t so great, considering that Chrysler moved 84,635 Grand Cherokees in 2010, or, to make more of an apples-to-apples comparison, Cadillac sold a total of 146,925 vehicles in 2010, up 34.7% compared to 2009.

This is not to be construed as some sort of claim that the U.S. economy is back and firing on all cylinders (a metaphor that becomes less meaningful as there are more electric vehicles in the market). But it is to underline the fact that production numbers have increased in a non-trivial manner from those of 2009—the year of Cash for Clunkers—and incentive spending has decreased by many companies in 2010 compared with past practices of stacking cash on the hoods of cars.

So bravo to Ford.  (And the others, too.)

(Here’s a little something to think about vis-à-vis Ford—after all, it’s not all sweetness and light: In 2010 it sold 33,722 Crown Victorias, cars that are about as old as Queen Victoria. It sold a mere 505 more Flex models during the same period, a total of 34,227. The Crown Vic’s day is done. Someone at Ford better be figuring out a way to make the Crown Vic partisans really like the Taurus, because somehow I don’t think that they’re all going to be opting for a Flex.)

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