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Ford U.S. Sales Off 9.8%, Hurt by Pandemic-Linked Output Halt

Ford said fourth-quarter sales were hurt by lower F-150 pickup inventories stemming from a coronavirus-related production stoppage.
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Ford Motor Co.  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report said Wednesday that fourth-quarter U.S. sales slipped 9.8%, as the coronavirus pandemic dragged down truck sales.

Shares of the Dearborn, Mich., company at last check were up 1.9% to $8.82.

The automaker sold 542,749 vehicles in the fourth quarter, down from 601,862 a year earlier

Fourth-quarter retail sales fell 3.4%, the company said. Retail truck sales were down 9%.

Sales were hurt by lower F-150 inventories, which stemmed from the lingering effects of a coronavirus-related production stoppage in the second quarter. 

Super Duty pickup truck sales maintained a strong selling pace and were up 14.1% while F-150 sales were off 32.7%, the company said. 

The fourth quarter "represented an inflection point at Ford in our transition from cars to a much greater focus on iconic trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles to better serve our customers," Andrew Frick, vice president for Ford sales U.S. and Canada, said in a statement. 

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"We began to see our strongest evidence of this in December with retail sales up 5.3% with the launch of our new F-150, Bronco Sport and Mustang Mach-E."

Frick added that "we are well positioned to see the benefits of our focused efforts throughout 2021."

Last month, Ford said it would delay the launch of its new Bronco SUV to summer from spring, due to supplier disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

The pandemic delayed suppliers’ tooling development work at their facilities, the company said in a statement. 

Ford also said last month that that sales had dropped 21% in November to 149,931 from 189,562 a year ago as this November’s calendar had three fewer selling days than 2019.

The automaker’s covid-related production shutdown in March to May also hampered sales, especially for the company’s top-selling F-series truck division, the company said.

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