These are not normal times, to say the least.
If there is one constant in the American auto sales business, it's this: the Ford F-150. America loves pickup trucks, what more can be said, and the F-150 has led the pack for decades, easily surpassing quarterly and yearly sales of its two fellow Detroit rivals, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500. Although it once again beat those two vehicles in the recently concluded second sales quarter of this year, overall F-150 sales have taken a hit because of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to official figures just released by Ford, the F-Series saw a 22.7 percent sales drop in Q2, from 233,787 to 180,825, compared to Q2 of 2019. If you were to compare year-to-date sales over last year, the F-Series dropped 18.1 percent to 367,387 vehicles. The pandemic has caused an industry-wide sales slowdown despite automakers, including Ford, offering attractive 0 percent interest and extended loan periods.
While it's impossible to accurately predict when the economy will recover, the current-generation F-150, which dates back to 2015, had been showing its age, despite remaining competitive. The combined effect of a sales slowdown with an aging truck is not a good position for Ford to be in for too long. The debut of the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 late last month, therefore, probably could not have come at a better time. The pandemic will not affect the new F-150's launch, at least from a manufacturing standpoint. Sales are set to get underway this fall and the Blue Oval is fully confident buyers will come out in droves.
But there's something else to bear in mind regarding the F-150 sales slowdown: factory closures.
For two months, the F-150 factories near Detroit and Kansas City were closed and orders couldn't be fulfilled. Still, the F-150 sales drop was not completely terrible, given the circumstances. With the upcoming arrival of the new F-150 and pent up F-150 demand in general due in part to those closures are expected to translate to a very good rest of the year for Ford, at least when it comes to trucks.
Ford is keenly aware of this. It has gone to great lengths to ensure there are no F-150 production problems similar to what plagued the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator last year. The pair of SUVs struggled with quality control issues that cost Ford plenty.