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Ford’s U.S. sales fell 33% as chip shortages devastated the auto industry

DETROIT – U.S. sales of new Ford Motor vehicles last month fell 33.1% from a year earlier due to an ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips that has caused disasters in the automotive industry, it said Thursday the company.

Sales of the Detroit-based car maker sparked a sad month of August U.S. auto sales, which fell at an adjusted sales rate of 13.09 million vehicles. That’s the fastest pace since June 2020 and this year’s peak of 18.5 million in April, according to auto data firm Motor Intelligence.

Analysts have predicted the August sales rate to be between 13.1 million and 14.4 million vehicles, with JD Power and LMC Automotive forecasting global sales to decline by 13.7% compared to August 2020.

The sales rate for a given month measures how many cars the industry would sell for the year if it sold the same amount each month. It is a leading barometer of industry health and demand.

August is historically one of the highest vehicle sales months of the year, but the shortage of chips has caused vehicle inventory levels to fall to record lows and the price of new cars and trucks to grow .

The Ford company logo is affixed to a poster outside the Chicago Assembly plant on February 3, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Sellers only had about 942,000 vehicles in inventory for retail, compared to about 3 million before the coronavirus pandemic two years ago, according to Thomas King, president of JD Power’s data and analytics division.

“Even if inventory is reaching resellers every day, it is only to replace vehicles sold, preventing resellers from increasing inventories to a level necessary to support a higher sales rate,” King said.

While most major U.S. automakers went through quarterly sales reporting, several others that still report monthly sales such as Honda and Subaru also reported double-digit losses in August. Toyota, Volvo, Hyundai and Kia reported a slight increase or loss in sales compared to a year ago.

Sales of almost all vehicles in the Ford line fell last month compared to last year, with incremental sales gains from some new vehicles like their Bronco SUVs. Overall, Ford’s best-selling F-Series pickups fell 22.5%.

Ford’s total sales last month exceeded 124,176 vehicles. Truck sales are down nearly 30%, while SUVs are down 25.3% and car sales are down 86% from August 2020.

A silver review for Ford last month was that its retail sales have increased by 6.5% compared to July but remain at 33% since August 2020, according to Andrew Frick, vice president, Ford Sales US and Canada.

Ford sales came a day after the automaker confirmed it was once again cutting production from its F-150 pickup truck and other highly profitable vehicles due to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips.

The origin of the failure dates back to the beginning of last year when Covid caused rotating shutdowns of vehicle assembly plants. When the facilities were closed, suppliers of chips and chips diverted parts to other sectors such as consumer electronics, which were not expected to be affected by the order to stay at home.

The problem is expected to cost the global automotive industry $ 110 billion in revenues in 2021, according to consulting firm AlixPartners.


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