Why I’m Not Concerned About Ford’s July Sales Drop


2018 has been a disappointing year for Ford Motor (NYSE: F), which lately lower its yearly earnings forecast owing to a range of headwinds. The business is suffering from weak product sales in many global marketplaces. In the meantime, in the U.S., solid demand from customers for its F-Sequence vehicles has been much more than offset by product sales weakness and reduced margins impacting numerous of its other significant-volume designs.

Although shares of crosstown rivals Normal Motors and Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU) are equally nursing one-digit share declines calendar year to date (as of Aug. 1), Ford stock has plummeted about 20% in 2018.

Automaker yr-to-date inventory performances, info by YCharts.

At first glance, Ford’s July U.S. profits report delivers more lead to for concern. Ford noted a fall in deliveries and an even even bigger drop in retail sales. Nonetheless, provided how dated most of Ford’s vehicle portfolio is, investors shouldn’t worry too a lot about its close to-term product sales trends. As new types arrive over the up coming two many years, effects ought to make improvements to considerably.

A dismal month

Ford’s U.S. auto deliveries totaled 194,026 last thirty day period, down 3.1% calendar year over 12 months. This came inspite of a 25.7% surge in fleet sales, driven by get timing, which designed an easy calendar year-more than-calendar year comparison. For case in point, domestic deliveries of Ford Transit vans practically tripled in July soon after growing a far extra modest 7.5% in the to start with 50 percent of 2018.

In the meantime, retail gross sales wiped out, falling 10.4% year around 12 months in July. As common, the bulk of the revenue strain arrived on the automobile side of the organization. Most notably, Ford Aim income fell by nearly half — which shouldn’t have been shocking, offered that the enterprise finished manufacturing of that model for the U.S. sector in May possibly. Sellers are just offering down the remaining inventory.

A white 2018 Ford Fusion

Sedan revenue have been plunging for decades in the United States. Impression supply: Ford Motor Business.

Even so, Ford’s crossover/SUV sales also slipped modestly last month, irrespective of the addition of a new design (the EcoSport) earlier this year. Profits of the Ford Escape — the Blue Oval’s second-best-quantity product — plunged by a lot more than a quarter.

By distinction, Fiat Chrysler continued sailing alongside in the U.S. previous month. Complete deliveries and retail profits each amplified about 6% calendar year more than calendar year. Fiat Chrysler owes its achievement in the U.S. to the red-very hot Jeep brand. Jeep product sales rose 15% last thirty day period (such as a 16% boost at retail), accounting for far more than 100% of Fiat Chrysler’s raise in deliveries.

Ford requirements new versions badly

Ford’s latest struggles can be traced specifically to the weak spot of its current merchandise lineup. The present-day edition of the Escape initial hit dealer tons 6 years ago. That would make it thanks for a full redesign to reinvigorate product sales.

The Ford Explorer — a further vital products — has long gone even more time with no an all-new design. Alongside one another, the Escape and Explorer versions account for about 40% of Ford’s non-truck/van revenue volume.

Ford also has some gaps in its item lineup. Its selection to prevent developing the Ranger midsize pickup for the U.S. current market back again in 2011 seemed sensible at the time. Nonetheless, it ended up getting a error, as the midsize truck section has expert a resurgence in modern years. In the meantime, Ford would not have a genuine off-road SUV inspite of its heritage in that region. This has authorized Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep brand to corner the market place.

Advancement is on the way — but not in 2018

The superior information for buyers is that Ford is in the early phases of a main products refresh cycle in the U.S. New variations of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator have sold nicely and brought in considerably larger ordinary transaction charges (ATPs) than the previous types. The EcoSport subcompact crossover has also gotten off to a strong commence.

In 2019, Ford will roll out all-new versions of the Escape and Explorer — its two optimum-quantity types in the crossover/SUV current market. It will also reintroduce the Ranger midsize pickup upcoming year, when broadening the Lincoln brand’s SUV lineup by relaunching the Aviator nameplate. The new Aim Active — which sits someplace concerning a crossover and a hatchback — is also set to achieve seller loads subsequent yr.

A lot more support is coming in 2020, highlighted by the reintroduction of the Ford Bronco off-street SUV. This products cycle need to drive good progress in Ford’s crossover and SUV product sales in excess of the up coming couple of a long time, while also lifting ATPs substantially.

In the quick operate, Ford may possibly keep on to report shipping declines in the U.S. as it phases out other car designs. Creation of the Fiesta and Taurus versions for the domestic current market is set to stop in the initially fifty percent of 2019. But even with lessen quantity, profitability should commence to increase, many thanks to a stronger mix. And a volume restoration could appear in late 2019 or early 2020, as the benefit from strong crossover, SUV, and truck demand from customers starts off to offset the headwind from exiting most of the automobile marketplace.

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Adam Levine-Weinberg owns shares of Ford and Standard Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford. The Motley Fool has a disclosure plan.


Why I’m Not Worried About Ford’s July Revenue Decrease