Ford posts 7% fall in 2021 U.S. auto sales

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The Ford logo is seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

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Jan 5 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) reported a 6.8% fall in 2021 U.S. vehicle sales on Wednesday, as the automaker struggled to deliver its cars and trucks due to lingering supply-chain bottlenecks and a global chip shortage.

The Detroit automaker sold 1,905,955 vehicles in 2021, ending up behind new U.S. leader Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and rival General Motors Co (GM.N). Ford had sold 2,044,744 vehicles a year earlier.

Total U.S. light vehicle sales for 2021 were just under 15 million, according to Wards Intelligence, below the five-year average of 17.3 million from 2015 to 2019.

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Sales of Ford's Mustang Mach-E electric crossover came in at 27,140 for 2021. The company plans to triple the annual production of the electric crossover to more than 200,000 by 2023, to meet better-than-anticipated demand. read more

Ford has been sharpening focus on its electric vehicle strategy and said on Tuesday it would nearly double annual production capacity for its red-hot F-150 Lightning electric pickup to 150,000 vehicles. read more

Its shares recovered from early weakness to trade 1% higher on Wednesday at their highest level since 2001.

They gained 136% in 2021, outperforming GM's 40.8% rise and EV leader Tesla Inc's (TSLA.O) 49.7% jump, as investors bet buyers will lap up the electric version of the F-150. read more

"I think there’s optimism with GM as well, especially compared to pre-2021, but lately Ford is enjoying the better sentiment" due to its aggressive electrification strategy, Morningstar Research analyst David Whiston said.

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Reporting by Nathan Gomes and Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Aditya Soni

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