Ford Motor Co. has high hopes that the housing market will strengthen. Currently, pickup sales are still lagging Ford's overall sales, but it expects sales of the F-series pickup to grow later this year.
George Pipas, Ford's senior sales analyst, said that the housing market is still stressed out. He thinks though that before contractors start buying new pickup trucks, there will be a lag from the start of the housing recovery.
There was a 25% increase in total January sales compared to the prior year. Sales of the F series increased 10% to 27,630.
Pipas asserted that Ford does not have to sell down supplies of pickups. He said that Ford's mix of truck trim levels is good and inventory is lean. At the end of January, Ford had 409,000 vehicles in inventory, down 19,000 from a year earlier.
Ford fleet sales in January more than doubled the total in January 2009. Of the 112,406 units sold last month, fleets accounted for 42,000.
Pipas said that tight credit markets and a severe recession in January 2009 kept businesses on the sidelines. What we should watch out for from Ford this quarter is its launch of a reskinned 2011 F-series Super Duty pickup.