Americans love pick-up trucks, and they especially love Ford's F-Series - so much so that last month they made it the biggest selling vehicle ever over a one-month period.
The sales boost came on the back of incentive schemes and cut prices, and was a direct response to a price and sales war begun by rival make Chevrolet.
The F-Series has been the most popular new vehicle sold in the USA for 23 years, but in July it went one better, selling in numbers unheard of since the heyday of the Model-T in the 1920s. Americans bought 126,905 F-Series trucks in July, the most vehicles sold in any one month in modern US automotive history. It is believed to be the highest monthly sales for any vehicle in 80 years.
The record sales were racked up as Ford fought back at Chevrolet whose Silverado pick-up booted the F-Series out of the top spot in June, racking up sales of more than 109,000. Those sales were fuelled by Chevrolet offering Silverado buyers employee-style discounts on retail price.
A US online shopping guide, Edmunds.com, reported the average Silverado selling price falling from $US25,004 in January to $24,004 in June. The Silverado's June sales were the biggest for any full-sized pick-up truck to that time, and eclipsed Ford's record of 102,424 set in October 2001.
The Detroit News reported that following Chevy's June success, Ford was out to recapture the high ground in July. It quoted from a letter sent to dealers by Ford Division president Darryl Hazel who said: "we want to re-establish a new full-size pick-up monthly sales record with over 110,000 F-Series sales in July." They did that and more. "Our dealers leveraged the best truck in America and the Ford Family Plan to deliver an outstanding result (in July)," said Ford sales and marketing boss Steve Lyons.
The F-Series' July sales mark the most sales of any single nameplate in any month since the days of the Ford Model-T, said Hazel.
In the Model-T's day, manufacturers reported production numbers, not monthly sales numbers, so a direct comparison with that era isn't possible.
"(But the) F-Series now owns a piece of history that puts it in the same league as the legendary Model T," he said. “Over the past 57 years (the F-Series was introduced in 1948), no vehicle has been more important to the success of Ford than F-Series’ and it just keeps getting stronger. It (has outsold) every other vehicle for 23 years running. In July, F-Series sales alone generated enough revenue to place the nameplate within the annual Fortune 500 rankings." Aggressive promotions pay off The Ford Family Plan and a promotion with The Home Depot chain of stores (similar to Mitre 10/Bunnings Warehouse) helped drive F-Series sales in July."
Contractors and do-it-yourselfers visiting The Home Depot stores this summer saw a powerful tool on display to help them get the job done - a Ford F-Series," says Ford Division president, Darryl Hazel. The promotion with The Home Depot gave Ford trucks a prominent presence at more than 1600 stores across America and generated more than 200 million customer impressions from store traffic alone.
The campaign ran through August 1 at The Home Depot stores as well as in more than 3800 Ford dealerships in the US. "Retail customers who purchased or leased a new 2005 Ford Ranger, F-150 or F-Series Super Duty were eligible to select from five home improvement packages from The Home Depot valued at up to $US870 at no extra charge.
"The summer promotion also included a sweepstakes for a chance to win a Ford F-150 SuperCrew Lariat 4x4 or a $US10,000 gift card from The Home Depot
"The sweepstakes drew more than 223,000 entries and generated feedback from more than 60,000 consumers who have requested information on the Built Ford Tough truck line-up." F-Series tidbits
After being America's best-seller for more than 20 years, the F-Series has become the most successful vehicle in the history of automobiles.
* It has also been the best-selling truck in America for 28 consecutive years, besting its own monthly record of 102,424 units sold in October 2001.
Since the F-Series debuted in 1948, Ford has sold more than 28 million around the world. F-Series annual sales volume tops what many car companies achieve for their entire product line-up.
Ford sells about one F-Series truck every 34 seconds in the USA. In July, that pace quickened considerably to one F-Series truck every 21 seconds.
Ford F-Series are available in New Zealand as part of the official Ford range. The official trucks are made in Brazil as right-hand drive models, and are Super Duty models - the F-250 and F-350. The sleeker F-150 is also sold here, imported by individual dealers and converted locally to right-hand drive.New for 2006
Ford is introducing a range of improvements to FG-Series trucks for 2006. The Super Crew (double cab) will get a bigger 1800mm cargo box, that is expected to enhance its appeal to contractors and small business owners.
Other features include the addition of 20-inch wheels as an option on the F-150 FX4, Lariat and King Ranch models. In addition, F-150 customers nationwide will be able to select a Chrome Package on the XLT and Lariat.
New Super Duty models include the yellow-painted 2006 Amarillo F-250 and F-350 XLT SuperCab and Crew Cab pick-ups. Other new offerings for the Super Duty include a Chrome Package, and 20-inch wheels on the Lariat.