By on January 3, 2019

Are there fits of childlike, fists-clenched glee occurring in the Glass House right now? Quite possibly, and not just because someone brought a scooter into the building.

Don’t say we didn’t predict it. Ford, following in the footsteps of rival General Motors, says it plans to switch to quarterly sales reporting in 2019. While this move would even out the monthly spikes and troughs caused by fleet timing, it ends up meaning less data available to journos and the public.

The rage felt by those who enjoy poring over monthly sales stats burns like a thousand Ivy Mike bombs. Matthew Guy just took a header into a snowbank to cool off.

In breaking the seal, GM started an annoying trend that’ll surely be picked up by other automakers (Tesla reports quarterly, but GM was first among legacy OEMs). Don’t be surprised to see Fiat Chrysler go the same route by the end of the year.

While many regard the move as a way of keeping the PR ball mostly in the automaker’s court in this new era of cooling auto sales, companies (and some analysts) would argue that quarterly reports provide a clearer picture of a vehicle’s sales health over the long run. That doesn’t mean we can’t piss and moan about it.

As for actual sales, Ford’s 2018 report card is in. With total fleet sales up just a tick, Ford’s U.S. sales volume fell 3.5 percent last year, with the Blue Oval brand  showing a 3.3 percent loss and the Lincoln division posting a 6.8 percent drop. December sales (this is the last time we’ll have to say those words in relation to Ford) fell 8.8 percent — a figure encompassing both brands.

How did Ford’s volume break down in relation to bodystyle? Take a guess. This is the company that celebrated 2018 by culling all cars save the Mustang, so traditional passenger vehicles boasting trunks and hatchbacks did not fare well — not that they’re doing all that hot anywhere else. Sales of Ford and Lincoln cars sank 18.4 percent in 2018. Crossovers and SUVs barely made it into the red, with a 0.5 percent sales increase. Trucks, on the other hand, posted a gain (shocker!), with sales up 1.4 percent. Expect their share of Ford’s volume to rise markedly in 2019, once the Ranger comes online.

We’ll have a full overview of the industry’s 2018 sales for you later today. Matthew just needs to thaw out first.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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15 Comments on “Ford Starts Off the New Year by Pissing Us Off...”


  • avatar
    dthomso1

    It won’t be easy, but I am going to try my very best to get over this setback.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Yes, well, perhaps a sales dip hurts the stock price more than better-than-expected sales bump.

    Can’t have that.

    But I’m with you, it’s nice to know. After all, ALL the automakers sold in the SAME month to the SAME market…

  • avatar
    carguy67

    re: “Crossovers and SUVs barely made it into the red, with a 0.5 percent sales increase.”

    Shouldn’t that be: ‘… into the black?’

  • avatar
    FOG

    I personally think this is wise. Most “analysts” aren’t looking at the big picture or long term effects. The cherry pick a monthly downturn and extrapolate their own version of how things will be either be good or bad based on nothing more than their guess. In other words, how can they make a name for themselves quickly without enduring the chaos of actually creating a viable product. Too many armchair QB’s and not enough true research journalists.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    A self-serving, yet self-contradictory piece, this.

    Seems enthusiast journos are quick to bemoan how OEMs make poor, short-sighted product decisions, due to the overwhelming pressure monthly financial reporting creates.

    Here, Ford seeks to reduce said pressure…and work to become more far-sighted. I applaud them for this.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This is the end of Western civilization as we know it.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Over on another website (one with “blue oval” in it’s name) they continue to report GM’s sales each month. This information is readily available from the suppliers that support the assembly factories with parts. I suspect the monthly sale numbers for Ford will be acquired and posted as well….you just need to know where to look.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Clearly now it is an OK idea. Once Toyota moves to quarterly data it will of course be a genius idea.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Don’t worry; you’ll still have daily changes in stock prices to write about.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      But those changes are more and more reliant on lies rather than truth to move those stocks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the SEC doesn’t put a transaction limit on their servers that no trader can post a trade more than once every 5 minutes or so. That will give these sudden surges and changes in direction time to settle down and develop a true trend while reducing the effect lies and rumors have on stock prices.

  • avatar

    No big deal. All Silicon Valley companies report only quarterly results. I personally do not care how much they sell each month.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Pity the modern auto journalist who will feel lost without a constant stream of data porn to copy and paste, or the millennial whose iPhone will suddenly go blank right in the middle of eating his Frosted Flakes.

    I fear that this trend will spread to Wall Street, where financial reporters will start providing thoughtful analysis into long-term business fundamentals while the most recent Trump tweet gets completely ignored.

    These are dark times in which we live.

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