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Crossposting from Stock Advisor:

Ford has started 2013 off with a bang. US sales in January reported a 22 percent increase in deliveries as EVERY non-discontinued Ford brand vehicle saw a rise in sales over the previous year. However, Lincoln inventories hurt MkZ sales lowering the brand's sales.

The sales increase was lead by the Fusion, which saw the largest percentage increase of any vehicle and was a January record. F-Series saw the largest by-volume increase with a 22 percent increase. The Ford Escape also saw a record month.

The Ford Explorer saw its best sales in 8 years, while the Transit Connect had sales rose 47 percent.

Bad news came from Lincoln where MkZ saw a dramatic decrease in sales, most likely a result of inventory levels.

I'd encourage you to click on these tables as well:

Overall, the sales were pretty good (Lincoln excepted), but the numbers are remarkable only for a January. The sales are less than what we'll normally see in the Spring. But, it's a positive for a January. We need to stay tuned for those big sales months. And.... the key stuff I still want to see? >>>

* F-series sales through the year in the face of new competitive product. I think Ford will be fine, but the only certainty here is hindsight.

* MKZ sales when "insufficient inventory" is no longer a valid excuse. MKZ is critical for Lincoln viability.

* Fusion sales when the additional capacity comes online.... potentially Fusion could become one of the biggest selling cars in the US and an even bigger profit center than it already is.

* C-platform vehicles. Will Focus and C-Max max out capacity at Michigan Assembly? Will Escape max out it's plant? These could be big money makers as well. Rule of thumb here: Each plant can produce about 30k vehicles a month and building at capacity means big money. The Michigan plant had January sales of around 19k and the Escape plant sold about 20k. Lots of room for improvement. I expect peak month sales to be at least 25k, but 30k or better would be what I'd like to see.... that would really kicking butt and taking names! ;)

* Police. Ford used to sell 100k police vehicles a year, a profitable niche. Now, sales are pretty low... under 20k. I'd like to see a recovery here. Will the new product be able to do it? Frankly, I kind of doubt it because the competitive product is pretty good and Ford's product doesn't particularly impress me, but I'm hoping anyway. :) If it doesn't happen, it's not terrible, but I'd prefer to see them continue to own this market.

Once I bring myself to keep my mouth shut (stop posting) about Ford, I plan to start selling calls. I don't expect to make a lot during that process, but I think it's a fairly good vehicle for doing it. Big, disruptive price jumps don't happen as much with Ford and I think I won't have much trouble getting back in at a decent price if my shares are called away. And, over the long term, this can be a pretty decent investment. Plus, my knowledge of the company is probably an aid for me here so I can interpret the news properly. Just thinking out loud here. :)

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