Ford Reports Solid March Sales

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Ford Motor Co. (F) reported a 3.4% increase in the U.S. sales to 244,167 units in Mar 2014. Retail sales also increased 3% year over year to 166,030 vehicles. This is the highest retail sales in March in the last 8 years. Sales were significantly higher in the second half of the month.

Strong sales were driven by a 32% surge in sales in California. The western part of the U.S. contributed maximum to sales growth.

Product-wise, Fusion, F-Series and Lincoln MKZ had record high sales and thus, contributed significantly to overall sales. Ford Fusion reported an 8.8% increase in sales to 32,963 units in March, driven by a 22% increase in retail sales in western U.S. Meanwhile, Lincoln MKZ witnessed a 72% surge in March sales to 4,052 vehicles. Even the F-Series trucks sold 70,940 units, which is the highest March sales since 2008. In fact, this is only the fourth time during the last seven years, when the truck line witnessed monthly sales higher than 70,000 units.

Brand-wise, the automaker’s Ford brand’s sales grew 2.6% to 235,198 units in Mar 2014. Meanwhile, the Lincoln brand had a 31% surge in sales to 8,969 units, due to the record sales of MKZ.

Like most U.S. automakers, Ford had been reporting weak monthly sales since Dec 2013 due to unfavorable weather conditions. In fact, sales declined in the first 2 months of 2014, resulting in a 2.6% fall in Ford’s sales in the first quarter of 2014. Nevertheless, with the recovery in sales in March, we can expect better results in the months ahead.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some other automobile stocks worth considering are Tata Motors Limited (TTM), Daimler AG (DDAIF) and Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA). Tata Motors and Daimler sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Tesla carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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