Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Ford's First-Quarter Sales in China Fell 35% as Coronavirus Peaked

By John Rosevear – Apr 16, 2020 at 11:11AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The automaker said that its sales were recovering in March.

Ford Motor (F -3.60%) said that its sales in China fell to 88,770 vehicles in the first quarter, down 34.9% from a year ago, as the COVID-19 outbreak clobbered demand in the world's largest new-vehicle market.

But Ford said that with the outbreak subsiding, its dealers in China have resumed operations. Its sales in March were at about 75% of year-ago levels, it said.

The automaker fared slightly better than the overall industry. Sales of passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles in China fell a combined 42.4% in the first quarter from the prior-year period, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). 

Rival General Motors (GM -5.08%) reported on April 3 that its sales in China fell 43.3% in the first quarter. 

A Chinese-market 2020 Ford Escape, a compact crossover SUV, with a city skyline in the background.

Ford said that early demand for its all-new Escape has been strong in China. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Most of the vehicles that Ford sells in China are made locally. It makes Ford- and Lincoln-brand cars and SUVs in a joint venture with Chinese automaker Changan Motors, and trucks and commercial vehicles under the Ford and JMC brands in a second joint venture with truck manufacturer Jiangling Motors. 

Sales of Ford-brand vehicles fell 29% in the quarter, a good result under the circumstances. That result was helped by demand for Ford Transit commercial vans, many of which were put into service as ambulances during the peak of the pandemic. 

Early orders for the new Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair SUVs, both of which are being made locally in China, were also strong, the company said.

Ford has been trying to revive sales growth in China after a slump that began in the second half of 2017. Ford's sales in China, once a bright spot for the company, fell 37% in 2018 and 26% last year.

John Rosevear owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
F
$12.31 (-3.60%) $0.46
General Motors Company Stock Quote
General Motors Company
GM
$35.48 (-5.08%) $-1.90

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
329%
 
S&P 500 Returns
106%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/24/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.