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Stock Analyst Update

Ford's August Sales show Strong SUV and Pickup Demand

The automaker posted a solid month despite a continued plunge in its car lineup.

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August U.S. light-vehicle sales received a little help from a soft comparable due to Hurricane Harvey ravaging Houston in August 2017. Sales will have a tough comparable from Harvey for September 2018. August 2018 sales declined by 0.2% year over year to 1.48 million, while Automotive News put the seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate, SAAR, at 16.69 million versus 16.58 million in August 2017. Both Augusts had 27 selling days, and this is the lowest SAAR yet of 2018. Ford gave industry incentive dollar spending figures by vehicle segment that did not show a major change in high incentive levels, and we continue to expect a battle for the rest of the year between new-vehicle incentives and consumers drawn to used vehicles as more vehicles come off-lease. Light trucks are king in this market and that remains good news for the Detroit Three, which each get at least nearly 80% of their U.S. unit sales mix from light trucks.

 Ford (F) had a solid month despite a continued plunge in its car lineup, which fell 21.3% year over year for August. Its total sales rose 4.1%, with retail channel up 1.1% and fleet up 15%. The fleet strength came from the right channel with commercial fleet up 20% and its mix up 200 basis points, while rental fleet mix only rose by 30 basis points to 2.4% of total sales. Pricing after incentives grew $1,400 due to record Super Duty pickup prices of $58,700 and a $29,900 rise in Lincoln Navigator pricing to $84,000. Navigator continues to thrive this year, with August sales up 102% and Lincoln's momentum remains with its light trucks, which rose 15% while the brand's car models fell 20%. The F-Series' 6.3% rise to 81,839 units was the best F-Series August sales since 2005. Ford's SUV and crossover sales grew 20.1% and had good pricing on expensive larger models such as the Expedition. That SUV got redone with the Navigator, and its August sales rose 95% and pricing grew $13,100. The Explorer had its best August in 14 years, with sales up 19%.

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David Whiston does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

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