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Demand Looks Very High for Ford's Tesla-Fighting Mustang Mach-E

By John Rosevear - Mar 5, 2021 at 7:21AM

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But some other Fords didn't do as well last month.

Ford Motor Company (F 1.15%) said that it sold 3,739 of its electric Mustang Mach-Es in the U.S. in February, a result that suggests demand for the company's first serious Tesla competitor is very high. Its overall U.S. sales fell 14.1% last month, as the company prioritized higher-profit retail sales amid production disruptions caused by a global shortage of computer chips. Ford's retail sales were down just 1.8% from a year ago. 

Why 3,739 Mach-E sales is a strong result

It doesn't sound like a huge number, does it? But there are a couple of reasons to think that the Mach-E is selling like electric hotcakes. 

First, Ford has said that it will only be able to make about 50,000 Mach-Es this year as it ramps up the supply chain for its first-ever high-volume battery-electric vehicle. The 3,739 sold in February works out to about 50,000 on an annualized basis.

A red Ford Mustang Mach-E, an electric sports SUV.

All signs suggest that Ford is selling Mustang Mach-Es as fast as it can make them. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Second, Ford said that the Mach-E is "turning" in just four days. "Days to turn" is an industry term meaning the average amount of time a vehicle spends in dealers' inventories before being sold. Anything under 20 days or so suggests strong demand. Four days is exceptionally short -- suggesting that the Mach-Es that weren't already sold before they got to dealers were sold shortly after being unloaded from the trucks. 

Long story short: It certainly looks like Ford is selling every Mach-E it can make and very quickly. It's still in its early days, but the Mach-E has the look of a hit.

Ford's other sales results were a mixed bag

Severe winter weather in Texas and the midwestern U.S. had an impact on sales across the auto industry last month. But Ford managed some wins anyway.

  • Retail sales of Ford's F-Series pickups rose 7.9% from a year ago on strong demand for the all-new F-150 launched at the end of November. Ford said that it gained about 5 percentage points of retail market share in the full-size pickup segment last month. Overall F-Series sales, including fleet sales, were down just 1.4%.
  • Retail sales of the smaller Ranger pickup rose 7.6%. 
  • Ford sold 5,526 units of its other new SUV, the compact Bronco Sport. Bronco Sports are turning in just 13 days, Ford said.
  • Sales of the big (and hugely profitable) Lincoln Navigator rose almost 21% from a year ago, to 1,715.
A sliver 2021 Ford F-150, a full-size pickup truck.

Retail sales of Ford's all-new 2021 F-150 have also been very strong. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

It wasn't all good news for the Blue Oval, however.

  • Overall sales of Ford-brand SUVs fell 10.1%, despite the addition of the Mustang Mach-E and the Bronco Sport. 
  • Sales of the Transit commercial van fell 27% to just over 9,000 -- a side effect of Ford's decision to prioritize production of high-profit retail models. 
  • Lincoln sales fell 10.6%, with all models other than the Navigator down year over year.

What does it all mean?

For auto investors, here are the takeaways: 

  • It's a tough market, exacerbated by last month's winter weather. 
  • Ford's newest models are selling very well, but some other parts of the portfolio are doing less well.
  • While it's still early, the Mach-E's initial success is bullish for Ford's longer-term prospects as the industry moves to electric vehicles. 

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