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Ford Sales Fall Despite Strength in Trucks -- WSJ

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01/07/2020 | 02:47am EDT

By Dave Sebastian and Mike Colias

Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales were off 3.2% in 2019, reflecting a broader cooling of demand in the U.S. auto market after a record period of elevated results.

The No. 2 U.S. auto maker by sales said Monday it sold about 2.41 million vehicles last year, down from around 2.49 million in 2018, as falling sport-utility vehicle and sedan sales outweighed gains in purchases of trucks.

Ford was the final auto maker to post its 2019 sales, following results reported Friday from most of the industry.

Overall, U.S. vehicle sales fell 1.6% last year, to 17.1 million vehicles, research site Edmunds.com said Monday. It marked a fifth straight year the industry topped 17 million vehicles sold.

The car business faces potential headwinds in the U.S. in 2020. Auto dealers grappled with unusually large stockpiles of unsold vehicles for much of last year and struggled to unload older models, forcing steeper discounts.

Auto makers are spending more to lure buyers, potentially heralding weaker demand and slower sales ahead, analysts say.

The industry's spending on sales incentives in recent months hovered around 11% of a car's sticker price, the highest level since 2008, according to J.D. Power.

Ford is shifting its U.S. lineup to almost exclusively SUVs and trucks, along with its Mustang sports car, part of Chief Executive Jim Hackett's plan to revitalize the company and spark profit growth. Ford generates the most of its global profit from F-series pickup sales, analysts estimate.

Sales of trucks rose 8.8% to about 1.24 million in 2019 and 16% to 326,941 for the fourth quarter. The company said it sold 153,868 Transit vans last year, up 12% from the prior year.

Car sales fell 28% to 349,091 units for the full year, reflecting Ford's decision to drop nearly all passenger cars from its U.S. lineup. SUV sales were off 4.8% to 830,471 units.

Mustang sales fell 4.4% to 72,489 units. In November, Ford unveiled an all-electric SUV that will be called the Mustang Mach-E and wear the galloping pony logo, in a move to spark the auto maker's transition to an electric future.

Ford is relying more on the U.S. market to drive results amid a steep falloff of sales in China.

The company is also narrowing its focus in Europe and Latin America, exiting from some car categories to focus on truck and van sales.

Sales of Ford's top-selling vehicle and biggest moneymaker -- its F-150 Series pickup trucks -- slipped 1.4% in 2019.

Ford and General Motors Co. are fending off Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's surging Ram truck brand.

Sales of the Ram pickup truck -- which was sold under the Dodge name until a decade ago -- rose 18% last year to 633,694 vehicles, overtaking GM's Chevy Silverado for the first time. Silverado sales fell 2.5% to 570,639.

U.S. vehicle sales rose steadily since the financial crisis a decade ago, when they bottomed out at 10.4 million in 2009.

Sales hit a record 17.6 million in 2016 and have bobbed along around the 17 million mark in recent years, providing an unusually steady environment for an industry accustomed to cyclical swings.

GM on Friday reported a 2019 sales decline of 2.3%, dented largely by last fall's 40-day United Auto Workers strike that brought more than 30 U.S. factories to a standstill and depleted dealerships' new-vehicle inventories, the company said Friday.

The Detroit auto maker said its fourth-quarter sales fell 6% over the year-earlier period.

Trade tensions have eased since last year's U.S.-China clash over auto tariffs and an amended North American trade pact remained unsettled. Ford, GM, Volkswagen AG and other auto makers last year embarked on restructurings that included tens of thousands of layoffs and factory closings as earnings came under pressure.

On Friday, Fiat Chrysler said sales in the U.S. fell 1% last year, while Toyota Motor Corp. reported a nearly 2% decline in U.S. sales. Honda Motor Co. last week reported flat 2019 U.S. sales, while Nissan Motor Co. said sales fell nearly 10%.

Electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc., meanwhile, said deliveries rose 50% in 2019 to 367,500.

Write to Dave Sebastian at dave.sebastian@wsj.com and Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES -1.35% 6.2 Delayed Quote.-53.01%
FORD MOTOR COMPANY -2.75% 4.24 Delayed Quote.-54.41%
GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY -0.82% 18.04 Delayed Quote.-50.71%
HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. -4.37% 2430 End-of-day quote.-4.61%
NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. -7.35% 356.6 End-of-day quote.-6.16%
TESLA, INC. 5.62% 480.01 Delayed Quote.14.74%
TOYOTA INDUSTRIES CORPORATION -3.54% 5180 End-of-day quote.-3.90%
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION -4.35% 6501 End-of-day quote.-4.06%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2020 132 B
EBIT 2020 2 198 M
Net income 2020 583 M
Finance 2020 6 402 M
Yield 2020 8,14%
P/E ratio 2020 30,5x
P/E ratio 2021 6,43x
EV / Sales2020 0,08x
EV / Sales2021 0,06x
Capitalization 17 287 M
Duration : Period :
Ford Motor Company Technical Analysis Chart | F | US3453708600 | MarketScreener
Technical analysis trends FORD MOTOR COMPANY
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 20
Average target price 6,96  $
Last Close Price 4,36  $
Spread / Highest target 175%
Spread / Average Target 59,7%
Spread / Lowest Target -19,7%
EPS Revisions
James P. Hackett President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
William Clay Ford Executive Chairman
James D. Farley Chief Operating Officer
Timothy Stone Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Lemmer Chief Information Officer & Vice President
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