Ford first-quarter sales fall 17% as automaker battles chip shortage

An employee works on Ford Motor Co.’s 40 millionth truck. F-Series on the assembly line at Ford’s Dearborn plant on January 26, 2022 in Dearborn, Michigan.

Jeff Kowalski | AFP | Getty Images

DETROIT. Sales of new Ford Motor vehicles in the US fell 17% in the first quarter, including 26% last month, as the automaker continues to grapple with a global shortage of semiconductor chips.

The automaker on Monday reported first-quarter sales of 432,132 vehicles, including 159,328 units in March. These sales were in line with analysts’ expectations.

Ford shares fell less than 2% in early trading on Monday. Shares opened at $16.66 per share.

Andrew Frick, Ford vice president of sales, distribution and trucks, said the company was showing positive signs of sales growth ahead of the spring sales season.

“While the global semiconductor chip shortage continues to cause problems, we saw an improvement in sales in March as inventory in transit increased by 74% compared to February. The F Series received a record 50,000 new retail orders in March, while a record 41% of our total retail sales came from previously placed retail orders,” the statement said.

Sales of Ford trucks, including the popular F-150 pickup truck, fell 23% in the first quarter. Car sales fell 49%, while SUV sales fell just 5.1%. In terms of inventory improvement, Ford said its SUV sales were up 39% from February.

Automakers such as Ford have been battling a global shortage of semiconductor chips for more than a year. Parts shortages have led to sporadic plant shutdowns and stock-outs of new vehicles.

Ford was one of the last major automakers to report sales for March and the first quarter. Total U.S. new car sales from January to March were likely under 3.3 million, industry analysts said, down 14% from the first quarter of 2021.

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