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Ford's European Sales Hit Hard by COVID-19, but a New SUV Shines

By John Rosevear - Updated Jan 15, 2021 at 12:44PM

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Demand for the sporty Puma SUV helped offset declines elsewhere.

Ford Motor Company (F -5.54%) said that its sales in Europe fell almost 27% in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing overhaul of its product line. But the Blue Oval retained its title as Europe's top brand for commercial vehicles, it said, a key priority for CEO Jim Farley.

For the fourth quarter of 2020, Ford's sales in Europe fell 15% from a year earlier, amid new COVID-related restrictions in key markets, including the United Kingdom and Germany.

A blue Ford Puma, a small sporty SUV sold in Europe.

The sporty small Ford Puma crossover, introduced at the end of 2019, was Ford's second-best-seller in Europe in the fourth quarter. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Key points from Ford's European sales report:

  • Combined sales of the discontinued Ka and C-Max fell to just 5 vehicles from nearly 16,000 in the year-ago period. 
  • Sales of Ford's European best-seller, the Focus, were down just 2.8% from the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Sales of its second-best-seller, the Puma small crossover SUV, totaled nearly 40,000. (The model was new at the end of 2019, and Ford sold only a few in the year-ago period.) 
  • SUVs accounted for 38.1% of all Fords sold in Europe in 2020, up from about 30% in 2019.
  • The small Ford Fiesta was the U.K.'s best-selling car in 2020. 

Ford's decline likely was worse than the overall market's. The company estimates that new-vehicle registrations in its 20 core European markets were down a combined 7.2% in the fourth quarter, and down 23.6% for the year.

Ford will report its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings results after the U.S. markets close on Feb. 5.

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