Ford sales surge 6.8% powered by hybrids and EVs

Like other legacy automakers this week, Ford (F) is the latest to report strong first quarter sales.

Ford said Q1 US sales jumped 6.8% to 508,083 vehicles, powered by strong sales of electrified products such as hybrids and EVs. Ford’s Maverick hybrid pickup saw its best quarter ever, with sales jumping 77% in the first quarter. Maverick also powered overall hybrid sales to a 42% jump to 38,421, with Ford claiming this was also the best quarter for hybrids and that momentum will continue.

Ford’s EV offerings — the Mustang Mach-E, Ford Lightning EV, and its commercial E-Transit vans —bucked the recent trend of softening demand. Ford’s overall EV portfolio saw a massive 82% jump to 20,223 EVs sold in Q1, with Mustang Mach-E jumping 77.3% to 9,589 units sold and the Lightning pickup seeing sales surge 80.4% to 7,743 units. While the sales numbers here are strong, Ford relied on heavy discounting, cheap finance rates, and lease deals to move inventory.

A Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally electric vehicle is at the New York International Auto Show in New York on Saturday, March 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

A Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally electric vehicle at the New York International Auto Show in New York on Saturday, March 30, 2024. (Ted Shaffrey/AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A down note for Ford, however, was its flagship F-150 sales. Though the F-Series (which includes the F-150 and heavy-duty F-250 and F-350 offerings) retained the crown of America’s top-selling truck, sales fell 10.2% in the quarter to 152,943 units. Ford has experienced a slow ramp-up of the all-new F-150, which started sales in March.

Nonetheless, investors are cheering Ford’s sales results today, with the stock up nearly 2% in midday trade.

“The new F-150 will be a big play for us across gas, hybrid, and electric vehicle segments of our business,” said Andrew Frick, president of Ford Blue, the unit covering Ford’s traditional gas and hybrid offerings. “With the new F-150 and all-new Ranger sales beginning in March along with the strong performance of our all-new Lincoln Nautilus and Nautilus Hybrid, we’re in a strong position to capitalize and grow as we move through 2024.”

SUVs still did quite well with the Bronco Sport (up 5.7%), Escape (up 70.3%), Edge (up 73.3%), and Expedition (up 11.4%) among the gainers. Vehicles that didn’t perform in the quarter include Ford’s only “traditional” offering, the Mustang (down 6.8%) and the automaker’s popular full-size Bronco, which saw sales dip 25.8% in the quarter to 24,000 units sold.

Ford’s overall strong performance in Q1 follows reports from traditional automakers like GM, Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai that are leveraging hybrid and gas-powered vehicles to offset any weakness in EVs, though, like Ford, Korean automakers like Hyundai and Kia are seeing gains in their EV businesses as well.

Ford will report full Q1 financial results after the bell on Wednesday, April 24. In late March, Ford CFO John Lawler reiterated 2024 guidance that Ford provided in early February, projecting adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of $10 billion to $12 billion, adjusted free cash flow of $6 billion to $7 billion, and capital expenditures of $8 billion to $9.5 billion. Also of note, Q1 will be the first quarter in which Ford’s new bargaining agreement with the United Auto Workers union takes effect.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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