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Ford sales fall 33.3% in the second quarter due to coronavirus

A Ford Motor employee inspects the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer before it rolls of the line to ensure quality for our customers.

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Ford Motor reported Thursday that its U.S. vehicle sales in the second quarter were down 33.3%, in line with industry expectations as the coronavirus caused consumers to stay at home and dealerships and factories to shutter.

Ford’s decline was less than its crosstown rivals. Year over year, General Motors reported a 34% decline in sales in the second quarter, while Fiat Chrysler said vehicles sold fell 38.6%.

Overall U.S. vehicle sales were forecast to fall by about 34% in the second quarter, according to auto research firms Edmunds and TrueCar’s ALG. The second quarter is expected to be the worst of the year for the automakers due to the pandemic.

Every vehicle in Ford’s lineup aside from the Explorer SUV and Ranger midsize pickup were down in the second quarter. Those vehicles were up 12.4% and 19.8%, respectively.

Ford reported retail sales to consumers in the second quarter declined 14.3% compared with a year earlier, including a 0.4% decline in truck sales and 22% drop in SUVs. Retail car sales plummeted 34.7%.

Despite the declines, Ford said its retail share grew an estimated full percentage point to 13.3% — the automaker’s best retail share quarter in five years.

“Our performance was driven largely by full-size pickups,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service.

Largely due to declines in its fleet unit, which includes sales to government and businesses, sales of its F-Series pickups were down 22.7% in the second quarter.

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Ford is optimistic about demand recovering for its commercial business as well as retail sales for the remainder of the year.

“We believe we’re in good shape for the third-quarter summer selling season and hopefully we can continue some of those strong share gains,” LaNeve said. “All-in-all in an unprecedented, very challenge quarter we overperformed.”

There remains concerns for the rest of the year regarding a potential resurgence of Covid-19 impacting the auto industry, LaNeve said. 

Automakers across the U.S. had to end vehicle production from March until mid-May due to the pandemic. They’ve also cut or deferred executive and white-collar salaries and withdrawn guidance for the year.

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