By on November 5, 2020

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Over the last few years, the brunt of the automotive industry gradually swapped to quarterly sales reporting. This includes Ford Motor Co., which claimed ditching the monthly model helped smooth out variances caused by fleet orders. Most automakers gave similar answers, suggesting quarterly updates would actually paint a more accurate picture of their overall health — likely hoping this would discourage investors from being scared away during a particularly rough month.

But Ford has reportedly had a change of heart and is moving back to monthly updates. While we’re happy to see it bucking the trend, it’s curious to see any automaker doing so while the industry is so vulnerable to anomalies created by government lockdowns.

Blue Oval said it’s keen to give investors more information, especially with the pandemic casting a dark shadow over the industry. Ford’s new CEO, Jim Farley, has also discussed the need for transparency on numerous occasions since taking the big office.

“My commitment to each of you is transparency, including purposeful, measurable key performance indicators so you can objectively track our progress,” Farley told market analysts late last month.

Unfortunately, Ford’s U.S. sales fell 6.1 percent in October vs the same period in 2019. But some of that can be attributed to retooling facilities for the F-Series pickup, which remains the company’s best-selling model. Truck sales were extremely healthy for the brand prior to October, especially compared to sedans (which Ford has intentionally been moving away from) and a noteworthy decline in van sales — the latter of which saw a 24 percent drop in October.

It’s not a great showing for the company when the industry as a whole enjoyed a slight 0.9-percent uptick in volume from a year earlier. But we now have more context as to why Ford’s numbers could have been better. More importantly for the company, so do investors.

While Honda, Hyundai/Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota, and Volvo have been rocking monthly reports through 2020, the rest of the industry is running quarterly updates and none seemed interested in changing after we asked. But these kinds of things have a way of catching on. Ford wasn’t the first company to swap to quarterly reports in 2019. It was just following General Motors as the industry jumped onto a new trend. Maybe going back to monthlies will become the next industrial craze after rivals realize everyone now likes Ford a little more for having blazed the trail back toward genuine transparency.

[Image: Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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10 Comments on “Ford Returns to Monthly Sales Reporting...”

  • avatar

    Well, Ford needs to do SOMETHING that will get them good press. Here it is.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford doesn’t need good press so much as they need to impress Wall Street. That’s an uphill climb, since the industry is capital intensive and low margin, not the kind analysts prefer for high-flying stock prices.

      Ford’s stock price is so low that they may have decided there’s some appreciation potential in the stock, IF they can get more data to make investment recommendations. Farley is obliging them, but remains to be seen how much investors will embrace the industry.

  • avatar

    a) Ford has a new CEO.
    b) The new CEO is making changes.

    How interesting.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “My commitment to each of you is transparency, including purposeful, measurable key performance indicators so you can objectively track our progress,” Farley told market analysts late last month.

    Translation: “The Board of Directors has me under a microscope, so all of this transparent publicly-released information will be used against me when I’m fired soon.”

  • avatar

    Very interesting. Seems like we know the mission of Farley….make wallstreet happy. Hackett did such a good job of not having a plan and not delivering results. The stock price reflects that.

    Thing is tho Jimbo, a better route to take would be to look at making quality vehicles. Manufacturing junk and then reporting monthly how much junk you sold isn’t going to get you far. Fix your major quality issues that are prevalent across your entire company, stop wasting money on the train station and buyers will come back and wall street will be happy. It’s pretty simple

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Well, making Wall Street happy *is* his job. But you are correct, doing it the old-fashioned way (good product, not wasteful ventures like ‘mobility’) is best.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh wow. The ignorance.

        Making Wall Street happy should be natural. Not forced. When you force it you end up with a clown like Hackett and vehicles that have major quality issues. You’re treating a symptom not the cause.

  • avatar

    he has made a number of moves that are positive. could we finally have a leader at Ford that gets it?

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