Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Utility Vehicles Driving Ford

Utility Vehicles Driving Ford to Unprecedented Sales Gains in Critical Markets Around the World

  • Ford utility vehicles making unprecedented gains in California; Ford brand retail utility share now more than 15 percent in the first quarter, almost 6 percentage points higher than 2006
  • Ford projected to outpace the industry in global utility sales growth in key markets such as China, according to IHS; China utility vehicle sales expected to double in the next five years
  • Small utilities are the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally; Ford expected to outpace industry growth over the next five years – led by the global launch of EcoSport and Escape/Kuga utility vehicles
DEARBORN, Mich., May 29, 2013 – Ford is leading a major global shift to fuel-efficient and functional utility vehicles, growing its sales in the last five years faster than any other Ford vehicle segment and faster than the industry average.
“This was a major bet we made with the One Ford plan, and it is paying off,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president, global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. “Utilities are helping us grow our share in the North American market – particularly in the traditionally difficult coastal markets – and they’re driving our expansion in developing markets, where utility growth is exploding.”
The One Ford plan has delivered a global family of utilities, including EcoSport, Escape/Kuga, Edge and Explorer, which will fuel the company’s growth during the next few years.
In the United States, Ford is the best-selling utility brand. Nowhere is the U.S. impact more evident than in California, where Explorer retail sales are up 43 percent and Escape retail sales are up 51 percent through April of this year. A Ford analysis of Polk retail registrations indicates the company’s two newest utilities have helped to increase its share by 6 percentage points in California – the biggest retail sales growth since 2006 of any non-premium brand in the critical state.
The trend is even more promising globally, where industry sales are expected to surge during the next five years, according to data from IHS Automotive. With the recent global launches of EcoSport, Escape/Kuga, Edge and Explorer, Ford is expected to see sales of its utility vehicles grow in every market around the world.
Small utilities to lead globally
Data provided by IHS Automotive indicate global utility vehicle sales grew 35 percent between 2007 and 2012. The segment now accounts for more than 13 million sales annually – 18 percent of the global automotive market.
Small utilities are leading the growth, with sales up 154 percent in that period.
In 2012, small utilities accounted for just more than 7 million vehicles, approximately 9 percent of total global vehicle sales. The subcompact EcoSport and the larger compact Escape – or Kuga in markets outside North America – represent Ford’s small utility vehicle offerings.
Further utility vehicle growth is expected in the coming years, driven mainly by the small utility segment, which is the fastest-growing segment and is projected to increase by 51 percent.
Ford small utility sales are projected to outpace the overall industry, according to IHS Automotive. The increase will be driven largely by introduction of EcoSport into key markets, including India, China and Europe, and the launch of Kuga in the fast-growing China market.
“Nothing has been more prolific than the global rise of the small utility,” said Farley. “Once a trend in Western markets, we now see a rapid convergence toward the segment globally as customers become enamored by vehicles offering the size and functionality of a utility coupled with car-like dynamics and fuel economy.”
In China, small utility sales climbed to more than 1.4 million vehicles last year, up from about 120,000 units sold in 2005, according to IHS Automotive. Ford’s launch of the EcoSport compact SUV there this year will round out a portfolio that includes Edge, Explorer and Kuga, which has seen sales of more than 20,000 units since going on sale in February.
“There is little doubt the biggest opportunity for the industry is China,” said Farley. “With the entire utility market expected to double there during the next five years, we have a distinct advantage offering customers in China an entire family of utility vehicles – small, medium and large.”
In Europe, the utility segment is the only segment that has grown since 2005. Ford increased Kuga production 8 percent this year to meet demand, as Europe expects to produce 100,000 annual units of the small utility for the first time. Kuga will be joined later this year by the new EcoSport, with the larger Edge to follow. Ford recently announced production of the iconic Explorer in Russia, marking the first time the utility has been produced outside the United States.
Leading the way for Ford in North America is Escape, the best-selling utility in the United States and the top-selling utility in its segment in Canada for nine consecutive years. Customers in North America have responded to Escape’s improved fuel economy, sleek new design, enhanced cargo capacity and innovative technology like its hands-free liftgate.
Consumer appeal
Small utility growth has been fueled in part by an aging global population increasingly becoming empty-nesters. Small utilities also are steadily growing in popularity thanks to improved fuel economy coupled with a greater sense of security behind the wheel and increased capability with available all-wheel-drive systems and more cargo capacity.
With improvements in engine technology, Ford’s utility vehicles also have become even more fuel efficient. Ford’s EcoBoost® engines can help provide up to 20 percent better fuel economy without sacrificing the power that drivers want. The new Escape features two EcoBoost engines – a 1.6-liter and a 2.0-liter that make up about 90 percent of sales volume.
Consumers also find utilities offer greater flexibility than most passenger cars, with the potential for myriad opportunities and tasks – from road trip vacations to hauling packages home from a store.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ford Escape, Fusion Accelerate

Ford Escape, Fusion Accelerate ‘Super Segment’ Share Gains

  • Ford retail market share to date in the “super segment,” the combined subcompact, compact, midsize sedan and small utility segment, is up 28 percent, compared to a 9 percent overall industry gain
  • Fusion and Escape retail sales volumes increasing fastest in coastal states – Fusion sales up 60 percent this year in coastal states, Escape sales up 46 percent through April  
  • Ford’s California April retail sales up 78 percent in the super segment, compared to 59 percent for the first four months of 2013
  • Super segment now represents more than half of new vehicle sales nationwide, compared to 35 percent in 2004; Ford share of super segment stands at 13 percent through April vs. 11 percent last year – highest share levels in company history
DEARBORN, Mich., May 16, 2013 – Driven by strong sales of two of Ford’s newest vehicles, the Ford Fusion and Escape, Ford’s share of the “super segment,” comprised of subcompacts, compacts, midsize sedans and small utilities, stands at 13 percent through the first four months of 2013 – representing a gain of 2 share points compared to the same period last year.
The future success of automakers in the United States will in large part be based on market gains in four key vehicle segments – subcompacts, compacts, midsize sedans and small utilities. Combined, these four segments represent more than half of all new vehicle sales in the U.S. In 2004 the super segment was only 35 percent of the total market.
“Ford’s share has grown this year faster than all other automakers. The driving force behind this is our phenomenal rate of growth in the super segment and our continued success with these key vehicles in the long-dominated Japanese regions of the country,” said Erich Merkle, Ford U.S. sales analyst. “Once our additional manufacturing capacity on Fusion comes on line, the battle for sales leadership in the midsize segment will tighten considerably.”
Over the last five years, Ford’s market share gains in the super segment have been among the fastest in the industry. In 2008, Ford had 8 percent share of this segment. A good portion of these gains have come at the expense of Honda and Toyota.
In 2008 Honda and Toyota captured approximately 36 percent of super segment sales in the U.S. For the first four months of 2013 that number declined to 28 percent, while Ford gained share in the super segment over the same period. During the first four months of this year Ford’s share stands at 13 percent, up 2 points from the same period a year ago and moving ever closer to Toyota’s position of 15 percent.
Ford expects more growth in the super segment as baby boomers continue to downsize their vehicle purchases and first-time millennial buyers enter the market. Combined, baby boomers and millennials account for more than 160 million people in the U.S.
“Each of our vehicles in the segment is doing great things for Ford in different ways,” said Amy Marentic, group marketing manager, Ford global small and medium cars. “Two-thirds of all buyers shop both the Escape and Fusion when they come to our dealerships, and sales of both are way up.”
Fusion is closing the sales gap with Camry, and in the first four months of 2013 Fusion sales were up 25 percent. While Fusion’s share of the midsize sedan segment increased more than 2 percentage points to just more than 12 percent this year, Camry has fallen approximately one point, to almost 15 percent.
Fusion retail sales gains are occurring in every market area of the country. The strongest growth is coming from the nation’s largest passenger car market – California; retail sales there were up 117 percent during the first four months of 2013 and accelerated to 146 percent in April.
Based on retail sales registrations for the first quarter of this year, Fusion’s share of California’s midsize sedan market is now operating at its highest levels ever at more than 8 percent, which is about double Fusion’s share last year. Fusion sales in the coastal markets are up 60 percent this year, with April posting a 72 percent increase. Nationally, Fusion’s conquest rate is running at 53 percent, while in places such as Los Angeles it is much higher, at 59 percent. Miami and San Francisco are running at 60 percent and 56 percent, respectively. Fusion is also turning at its strongest rates in these markets, with the car spending just 17 days on dealer lots in Los Angeles and Miami, 18 days in San Francisco.
Escape, through the first four months of this year, is America’s best-selling utility, with 98,809 vehicles sold. Like Fusion, the all-new Escape is pushing sales of the super segment in the coastal markets. Retail sales of Escape were up 46 percent in coastal markets the first four months of 2013 and in April sales in the coastal markets expanded by 57 percent. This represents Ford’s best-ever coastal retail share and sales results for Escape.
Escape retail sales are up in every region and market area of the country, but it is the coastal markets that are growing at a faster rate than the overall national average. Nationally, the competitive conquest rate for Escape is 52 percent, with the highest conquest rate coming from San Francisco at 60 percent, followed by New York at 58 percent, Boston at 56 percent and Miami at 54 percent.
This aligns with regional sales increases and high turn rates for Escape. Escape retail sales in Miami are up 85 percent this year, with sales in Florida up 65 percent and San Francisco up 54 percent.
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About Ford Motor CompanyFord Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit