Ford Motor Company enjoyed a 21.8-percent sales gain last month compared to January 2012, but the strong result was almost entirely thanks to the Ford brand. The Lincoln Motor Company sold fewer overall units that Ford sold Fiestas -- not a promising sign for a luxury brand supposedly undergoing reinvention.
Winner: Ford Fusion (22,399 sales, up 64.5 percent)
The Ford Fusion's strongest January sales month on record helped make the sedan the second best-selling Ford, after the perennially successful F-Series pickup range (46,841 sales). It's also worth noting that last January, Ford had just introduced the all-new 2013 Fusion at the Detroit auto show, likely slowing sales as savvy customers waited for the redesigned car to hit dealer lots. The larger Taurus sedan, meanwhile, enjoyed a 43.1-percent sales boost to sell 4934 cars.
Winner: Ford Escape (19,939 sales, up 15.5 percent)
Despite posting a relatively modest year-over-year gain, the Escape crossover enjoyed its strongest January sales ever. Ford credits the crossover's fuel-efficient EcoBoost four-cylinder engines with attracting more customers; evidently the 1.6-liter engine's long string of recalls hasn't hurt customer perception of the Escape too much. Interestingly, the larger Explorer crossover also saw its sales rise significantly, up 46.0 percent to 14,554 units.
Winner: Ford F-Series (46,841 sales, up 21.7 percent)
Ford's pickup trucks remain the best-selling vehicles in the nation, and began the year with an impressive sales gain. More impressive still is the fact that January marks the 18th consecutive month in which F-Series sales have increased year-over-year.
Winner: Ford Transit Connect (3161 sales, up 46.8 percent)
Even though a revamped version is on the way, Ford's vanlet enjoyed a big sales boost last month -- in fact, the utilitarian model outsold more mainstream Fords like the Flex and Expedition SUVs. That allowed the Transit Connect to set a January sales record.
Winner: Ford E-Series (7987 sales, up 17.7 percent)
Even though it will stay in production at least through 2014, the Ford E-Series will soon be replaced by the new Transit, which will be significantly more fuel-efficient, spacious, stylish, and user-friendly. It seems commercial van types can't wait for the new Transit, however, as they snapped up 17.7 percent more E-Series vans than last January.
Loser: Lincoln (4191 sales, down 18.2 percent)
The Lincoln Motor Company may have a new name and a new ad campaign, but so far that strategy isn't getting customers into showrooms. The company hopes its unusual Super Bowl commercials, set to air this Sunday, will attract more attention to the new MKZ sedan.
Loser: Lincoln MKZ (453 sales, down 72.7 percent)
The new, stylish, and technology-laden MKZ sedan barely sold any units at all last month. (Note that the Fusion, on which the MKZ is mechanically based, sold 22,399 copies.) We expect that number to ramp up as more customers become aware of the MKZ and as the number of cars available in showrooms increases this year.