Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Ford Gains on Toyota With Hot New Fusion

Ford's new Fusion posted a 24% sales gain in the U.S. in April. Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

Ford (NYSE: F  ) said on Wednesday that its U.S. sales rose 18% in April, a better-than-expected number that was driven by exceptionally strong sales of its most recent new models.

Ford's Fusion sedan and Escape SUV both posted very strong results, up 24% and 52%, respectively, making April another excellent month for Ford's two newest models.

The new Fusion, in particular, is turning into a big story for Ford.

A nice story in a huge market segment for Ford
To be clear, the success of the all-new Escape is nothing to sneeze at. Ford officials noted on Wednesday that the Escape was the compact SUV class sales leader in the first quarter, outselling its longtime nemesis, Honda's (NYSE: HMC  ) popular CR-V.

And Ford's F-Series pickups continued to shine in April, posting a 24% sales gain as industrywide sales of full-sized pickups continued to gain momentum, driven by increasing strength in the construction market.

But the Fusion's success is a big deal for Ford. After the F-Series and its main rival, General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) Chevy Silverado, which are the country's two best-sellers, the vehicles that top America's sales charts are all midsized sedans. For years now, the two cars to beat have been Toyota's (NYSE: TM  ) ubiquitous Camry and Honda's ever-popular Accord.

Fusion isn't beating them – yet – but it has gained a lot of ground. And Toyota may be starting to feel that pain: The Japanese giant's U.S. sales were actually down slightly in April, meaning that Ford gained market-share ground on its biggest foreign-based rival.

Ford noted that the Fusion in particular was posting very big sales gains in the western and southeastern U.S., areas where Ford has historically had less strength versus the import brands. To cite one example, Ford U.S. sales chief Ken Czubay said that the "conquest rate" – the rate at which Fusions are sold to people trading in other brands – was a very strong 59% in the Los Angeles market, with customers trading in primarily Toyotas and Hondas.

Supplies may be tight for a few months
Czubay said that having sufficient supplies of Fusions on Ford dealer's lots "will be a challenge" through the summer, particularly in the west and southeast regions. Production is the bottleneck: The factory that makes the Fusion is maxed out, plain and simple, due to high demand.

Ford is adding a second production line for the Fusion at its plant in Flat Rock, Mich. The Flat Rock factory, which currently assembles Ford's Mustang, is one of only a few North American Ford plants with significant extra capacity.

That production line should be up and running this fall, and those additional Fusions should help Ford gain more ground on the Camry and Accord – adding to what has become a nice product story for the Blue Oval.

Is there still time to buy Ford stock?
If you're concerned that Ford's turnaround has run its course, relax – there's good reason to think that the Blue Oval still has big growth opportunities ahead. We've outlined those opportunities in detail, in the Fool's premium Ford research service. If you're looking for some freshly updated guidance to Ford's prospects in coming years, you've come to the right place – click here to get started now.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:26 PM, prginww wrote:

    Actually, the Accord is pulling away from both the Camry and Fusion. Retail, it's not a contest at all.

    The CR-V also beats the Escape, retail. Ford is huge fleet sales.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 4:07 PM, prginww wrote:

    I'm so tired of hearing the fleet sales argument. Every data point I've seen suggests that every single automaker is nearly equal. I'm not sure where this fleet argument originated, especially with the Ranger discontinued.

    I think it's time I take a full dive into this topic!


  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 4:22 PM, prginww wrote:

    @Mavis1Davis1: Do you know what Ford's margins in North America are right now? Kinda takes the wind out of your argument, such as it is.

    John Rosevear

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2400803, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/30/2016 11:40:53 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,327.53 184.08 1.01%
S&P 500 2,170.24 19.11 0.89%
NASD 5,310.67 41.52 0.79%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/30/2016 11:24 AM
F $12.09 Up +0.12 +1.00%
Ford CAPS Rating: ****
TM $116.21 Up +0.22 +0.19%
Toyota Motor CAPS Rating: ***
GM $31.89 Up +0.41 +1.30%
General Motors CAPS Rating: ***
HMC $28.95 Up +0.12 +0.43%
Honda Motor CAPS Rating: ****