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Most Profitable Cars Of All Time: The Ford F-150

Ford’s pickup truck has been called the best profit machine in history.

Automakers have a very hard time building cars despite their years of experience in constructing mobility appliances. Take into account the investment it takes just to get a car onto the drawing board before production and it’s hard to see how automakers get any money at all. However, Ford is the company that invented the assembly line, so they know a bit about how to build a car in a way that will rake in greenbacks. There is no car where this profit motive shines through more clearly than on the legendary Ford F-Series.

Auto industry analyst Max Warburton once said, “There has been no greater profit machine in the history of industry than the Ford F-Series.” That’s a heavy statement to make in a world where an iPhone is seemingly in every human hand and any imaginable food can be delivered by tapping said iPhone's screen. But when going through the numbers, we can see how Ford’s little wagon that could has managed to top the list of most profitable cars year after year. Not long ago we found that Ford makes nearly $13,000 in profit on every F-Series pickup that it sells. That means after all investment costs are added up, Ford still takes away almost enough cash to put a millennial through a semester at an in-state college.

When you consider that Ford sells an F-Series pickup every 41.8 seconds, or 2,605.3 units per day, the extent of the F-150’s reign begins to surface. Now, the Ford F-150 is still only the second best selling car in the world behind the Toyota Corolla, but the Corolla has nowhere near as high a profit margin as the F-Series. The reason for this lies in the truck’s premium over the Corolla. In order to make a car profitable, it has to sell like meth in a trailer park while maintaining a high price. This allows an automaker to make one large investment on a well made design and then the only job left is to adjust shifts at the production plant and count the money coming in.

Meanwhile, high dollar cars like Ferraris and Bentleys have high vales but low sales volume, resulting in low profits. Conversely, Toyota sells huge volumes of the Corolla, but the low price of the car means that less money rolls in per unit sold. Ford not only sells F-Series trucks like mad, but a base F-150 commands a $9,000 premium over a base Corolla. This might not sound like much, but the $13,000 profit per pickup comes from the fact that most truck buyers shell out extra dough for fancy and highly capable special editions while the Corolla is a base car that attracts customers wanting transportation and little else. Toyota sells more Corollas at base price while Ford turns over deluxe versions more often.

Add that to the fact that the F-Series pickup has been the best selling automobile in the U.S. (which is the second largest auto market in the world) for 39 years, and you can see just why the truck is such a huge moneymaker for Ford. Besides, by the time it took you to read this, at least three F-Series pickup trucks have rolled out of dealer lots and found new homes. Yeehaw!

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