Sales of the locally made Ford Explorer SUV fell 22.3% in October, the second consecutive month of decline after a three-month rise.
Explorer sales had picked up after falling sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, largely due to semiconductor shortages that rocked the global auto industry and shuttered the Chicago assembly plant for weeks, reducing shifts and leaving dealerships half empty. .
Overall Ford and Lincoln sales fell 10% to 158,327 last month from 175,918 in October 2021.
In October, the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker reported an 18.6% drop in retail sales, a 21% drop in retail truck sales, an 18.2% drop in SUV retail and a 79.1% increase in electrified retail sales. Ford’s overall truck sales fell 7.7%, overall SUV sales fell 14.1% and overall electrified vehicle sales soared 119.8% last month.
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Ford has been phasing out low-margin cars, selling just 3,856 last month, up 22.7% from 3,142 in October 2021. It has changed its strategy to focus on pickups and trucks. More expensive, higher-margin SUVs are fattening its profit margin and is now projecting it will become the second-largest maker of electric vehicles in the United States.
The automaker reports that demand for 2023 model year vehicles is up 134% compared to the same period last year.
“The all-new Super Duty scored a record 52,000 orders in just five days,” said Ford Vice President Andrew Frick. “The F-Series remained the No. 1 truck in America, widening its lead over our second-place competitor to more than 100,000 trucks this year. We doubled our electric vehicle sales. The F-150 Lightning recorded its best monthly sales performance since launch.”
In October, Ford sold 15,887 units of the Explorer, which is manufactured at the southernmost Chicago Assembly Plant near the state line, compared to 20,714 units in the same month in 2021 After semiconductor shortages, factory closures and operating in just two shifts, Explorer sales are down 4.8% from the first 10 months of 2021, with 172,130 units sold compared to 180 888 during the same period the previous year.
In 2019, Ford also began manufacturing the Lincoln Aviator at the Chicago Assembly Plant after phasing out the Lincoln MKS and Ford Taurus. Sales of the Aviator fell 21% to 1,976 units last month from 2,134 in the same period a year earlier.
Airmen sales fell 7.4% to 18,672 units sold through the end of October, from 17,608 units in the first nine months of 2021.