Ford Motor said that its U.S. sales rose 5.9% in July from a year ago, as demand for its pickup trucks and the Bronco SUV more than offset a slump in EV deliveries.
The Detroit automaker on Wednesday reported new vehicle sales of 173,639 in the U.S. for the month, up from a strong 163,942 a year ago as it was recovering from pandemic-era supply-chain challenges.
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Sales of Ford’s F-Series pickups, an important profit driver, rose 8.2% in the month to 68,536. But sales of the electric F-150 Lightning dropped more than 28% from a year ago, to just 1,552 trucks, after the company shut down the Lightning’s factory for six weeks to install production upgrades.
The Lightning’s factory reopened earlier this week. Ford said on Tuesday that orders for the Lightning had jumped sixfold after price cuts in mid-July.
The company said that it anticipates Lightning sales will be slow through mid-September as it rebuilds dealer inventories of the model, but that it expects to build more than 70,000 Lightnings in 2023. Through July, Ford delivered just 10,309 Lightnings to U.S. customers.
The factory upgrades will give Ford the capacity to produce 150,000 Lightnings per year once they’re fully up and running this fall.
Sales of the electric Mustang Mach-E were also fell in July by nearly 21%, following a separate factory shutdown and upgrade earlier this year. But sales of Ford’s other EV, the E-Transit commercial van, rose over 50% to 791 units in July.
Ford said last week that it expects its EV unit, called Ford Model e, to lose $4.5 billion in 2023 as it spends heavily to ramp up to a production rate of 600,000 EVs annually sometime in 2024.
While Ford has been working through production issues with its electric models, its internal-combustion and hybrid models have continued to generate strong results and profits. Sales of the Bronco SUV climbed over 20% in July, to 12,755, and sales of the smaller Ranger and Maverick pickups rose 8.6% and 13.5%, respectively, from a year ago.
U.S. sales of all Ford vehicles, including EVs and Lincoln-brand models, totaled 1,181,207 through July, up 9.4% from the same period in 2022.