Ford Motor Co. is planning to produce 2 percent fewer vehicles in North America in the first quarter of 2014 than in the same period of 2013. According to Ford officials, the carmaker could hike output if sales in the next few months are stronger than expected. However, the company has to keep supplies from rising further.
Ford currently has 682,000 vehicles in inventory, which is 32 percent more than what it had a year ago -- equivalent to an 89-day supply. Ford's chief sales analyst, Erich Merkle, remarked on a conference call that the carmaker has the ability to add some production in if necessary, but right now, Ford matches supply with demand.
Ford saw its sales jump 7 percent overall in November, with retail sales surging 9 percent to 147,021 units. Fleet sales accounted for 23 percent of deliveries for November and 29 percent for year-to-date. Ford also sold 16-percent more F-series pickups in the month to 65,501 units. The carmaker is one track to sell over 750,000 pickups for the full year 2013."
You look at trucks and they're hot right now," Merkle remarked, adding that "We're looking at some really strong F-series numbers." Ford also saw sales of its Fusion mid-sized sedan surge 51 percent in November, despite what executives called as "a very aggressive competitive environment" in that segment during the month.
According to Merkle, Ford is trying to hold back on incentives, even as rivals like Toyota Motor Sales USA boost theirs, in order "to keep those residuals strong and not degrade the brand." Ford, however, saw sales of other high-volume models like the Focus, Edge and Explorer, fall in the same month.