Ford Motor Co. posted a 6-percent drop in sales in the United States in February, but said demand in areas not buried by snow was "very robust" last month. Ford said that winter storms have been keeping potential buyers from visiting dealerships across the Midwest and Northeast and has caused it to delay fleet orders for around 10,000 vehicles into March.
Ford noted that had those deliveries been made on time, Ford would have posted just a 1 percent drop for February. "The majority of our decline was fleet-driven," according to Erich Merkle, Ford's U.S. sales analyst.
Ford saw its fleet sales fall 10 percent year-over-year in February, while retail sales fell 4 percent. Even with delay of deliveries for the 10,000 vehicles, fleet still accounted for 32 percent of Ford's sales in February. Sales of Ford-brand cars dropped 17 percent, with the Fusion falling 14, the Focus diving 24 percent, and the C-Max plunging 42 percent -Max.
According to Ford, fleet sales of the Fusion fell 30 percent in the month. Fusion retail sales surged 25 percent in California to 2,038, topping the 2,000-unit threshold for the first time and accounting for 9 percent of overall Fusion sales in the US. Ford remarked that dealerships posted stronger retail demand across the lineup as February progressed, with business leveling up during periods between snowstorms.
"As soon as they weren't impeded by some of the weather issues, we saw very robust demand," said John Felice, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service. "We expect, heading into the month of March, a very solid spring market."
Ford posted a 3-percent leap in sales of the F-series to 55,862 units, its best February in eight years. The Lincoln brand, meanwhile, logged a 36-percent rise in the month, with MKZ sedan sales more than tripling to 3,044.