Ford Motor Company reported a 7.1% increase in US sales for 2023, marking its best annual performance since 2020. The growth was driven primarily by strong demand for Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks and SUVs.
F-150 Tops US Sales Charts Again
The Ford F-150 has been America’s best-selling truck for 47 consecutive years and the best-selling vehicle overall for the past 41 years. In 2023, the F-150 continued its dominance by posting sales of 726,004 units, a 15.4% increase compared to 2022.
This marks the highest number of F-150 trucks sold in a year since 2005. The next best-selling vehicle in 2023 was the Chevrolet Silverado with 575,600 units sold.
2023 Top Selling Vehicles in the US
| Vehicle | 2023 Sales |
| Ford F-150 | 726,004 |
| Chevrolet Silverado | 575,600 |
| Ram Pickup | 529,775 |
The F-150’s strong performance helped Ford achieve a 7.1% increase in overall US sales to 1.96 million vehicles, despite the company’s EV sales slowing in the second half of 2023. This was still Ford’s best annual sales performance since 2020.
Rising Gas Prices Fuel Pickup Truck Sales
One of the main factors attributed to robust pickup truck sales is rising gas prices through much of 2022 and 2023. As gas prices surged, many truck buyers opted for brand new pickups to lock in better fuel economy versus older trucks.
The average price for a gallon of regular gas reached as high as $5 in June 2022 due to factors like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Prices moderated in the second half of 2022 and into 2023, but the spike was enough to convince many truck owners it was time to upgrade.
Most of Ford’s pickup truck models saw strong growth in 2023, led by the F-150. Sales of the F-250 super duty truck rose 11.4% while the Ranger midsize pickup increased 7.3%. The one exception was the Ford Maverick compact pickup, which saw sales drop 33.6% as supply chain issues constrained availability.
EV Momentum Slows on Tax Credit Uncertainty
While sales of Ford’s traditional pickup trucks accelerated in 2023, the company’s EV sales growth began slowing in the second half of the year.
Ford sold over 78,000 EVs in 2023, up nearly 80% from 2022. However, the year-over-year growth rate was well below the 262% increase Ford saw from 2021 to 2022.
The primary reason cited for the slowdown is confusion around the eligibility of Ford’s EVs for the $7,500 federal tax credit. The credit comes with stipulations around battery component sourcing and critical mineral mining that change over time. There have also been proposals in Congress around boosting the credit to $12,500 which created additional uncertainty.
This tax credit uncertainty led some buyers to delay purchases until the details were clarified by the government. For the first 11 months of 2023, Ford had been the second best-selling EV maker in the US behind Tesla. But in December, Ford dropped to third as GM EV sales accelerated.
Outlook for 2024
With total US auto sales reaching just under 15 million in 2023, the highest level since 2019, most analysts expect the growth to moderate in 2024. However, demand for trucks and SUVs is expected to remain strong.
Ford plans to boost production capacity for the F-150 by converting its Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly Plant in Mexico into a truck factory. This will increase Ford’s ability to meet demand in its most profitable vehicle segment.
On the EV front, the tax credit eligibility rules are expected to be clarified in 2024 which should drive increased adoption. Ford is launching the F-150 Lightning electric truck and Mustang Mach-E to capitalize on this demand.
The company also sees further growth potential in commercial vehicles. Ford’s CEO Jim Farley stated after the 2023 sales announcement: “U.S. truck and van share grew to 16.2 percent last year, and we aim to push past 20 percent over the next few years behind the Ford Pro commercial vehicle business.”
With strong momentum in pickup trucks, clarification around EV tax credits coming, and a growing commercial vehicle business – Ford seems poised for continued sales growth in 2024. The F-150 is likely to retain its crown as king of the US auto market.
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