Ford Sales Slip 3.8 Percent in July 2012; Blames Faltering Fleet Sales

It would seem that the hand that feeds Ford Motor Company was a little less full last month. The automaker sold 173,966 cars and trucks last month, 3.8 percent lower than July 2011, a direct result of lower fleet sales. Ford claims that retail sales of Ford and Lincoln vehicles were up 2 percent on the whole last month, with Ford selling 166,991 units (down 3.5 percent) and Lincoln selling 6975 units (down 10.7 percent).

That retail sales number may or may not be accurate–Ford’s public sales numbers don’t distinguish between retail and fleet sales–so we’ve collected the winners and losers in terms of total numbers. Here they are:

Winner: Ford Cars that Aren’t Named Fiesta

Ford’s small, mid-size, and large cars all got healthy sales boosts last month. The compact Focus hatch and sedan were up 10.5 percent to 16,454 sales last year. Meanwhile, the mid-size Fusion had its best July ever, with 23,326 Fusions finding new homes last month. The Taurus jumped 15.3 percent to 5256 sales, and the Mustang climbed 8.3 percent to 7371 sales.

Winner: Lincoln MKT

The strange-looking Lincoln MKT crossover continues its slow, relentless march up the sales sheet: it sold 738 units last month, 57.4 percent more than July 2011 and enough to make it the hottest Lincoln in July 2012. The MKT handily outsold the Lincoln Navigator last month, too: the pimped-out Expedition only found 525 buyers last month, down 9 percent.

Winner: Ford F-Series (sort of)

Ford’s trucks and large SUVs didn’t have an easy time last month, but the Ford F-Series sold 49,314 units last month, up just 0.4 percent from July 2011. While 0.4-percent sales increases aren’t enough to call a car a winner, the F-Series’ barely positive July marked the 12th straight month of sales increases.

Loser: Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition

Think that truck-based SUVs are still in fashion? Think again: Ford’s Expedition and Lincoln’s Navigator are dwindling. The Expedition fell 18.5 percent last month to 2700 sales, and the Navigator slipped 9 percent to 525 sales. Even more worrisome for the truck-based duo is that their crossover counterparts are handily outselling them. The Explorer jumped 14.3 percent last month to 11,313 sales last month, and even though the Flex family truckster was down 3.1 percent, it ended the month at 2318 sales, almost as much as the Expedition. As we already said, the Navigator was felled by the MKT last month.

Loser: The Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta finished another month jealous of its bigger sibling, the Focus. While the Focus sold 16,454 units last month, up 10.5 percent, the Fiesta fell 23.4 percent to 4059 vehicles. With Ford selling four Focuses for every one Fiesta, it’s not hard to see the issues between the compact and subcompact nameplates. While the Focus is up 31 percent so far this year, the Fiesta is off 25.4 percent.

Loser: The Ford Ranger

We know, we know: the Ranger is a discontinued model, so it would be naïve to criticize the nameplate for its losses. Ford sold only 413 Rangers last month, 93.6 percent fewer than July 2011. The issue, however, is that nothing helped replace that volume in the Ranger’s absence. Sales of the F-Series didn’t make up for the lack of Ranger sales, which pushed Ford’s truck division into the red. Ford Truck sales were off 9 percent in total last month.

Source: Ford

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2012 Ford Focus

2012 Ford Focus

MSRP $39,200 Electric Hatchback

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