Ford’s first quarter sales fall 17% as automaker battles chip shortage

An employee works on the 40 millionth Ford Motor Co. F-Series truck on the assembly line at the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant on January 26, 2022 in Dearborn, Michigan.

Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

DETROIT – Ford Motor’s US sales of new vehicles declined 17% during the first quarter, including a 26% slide last month, as the automaker continues to battle a global shortage of semiconductor chips.

The automaker on Monday reported first quarter sales of 432,132 vehicles, including 159,328 units in March. Those sales were in-line with analyst expectations.

Shares of Ford were down less than 2% in early Monday. The stock opened at $16.66 a share.

Andrew Frick, Ford vice president of sales, distribution and trucks, said the company experienced some positive signs for sales heading into the spring selling season.

“While the global semiconductor chip shortage continues to create challenges, we saw improvement in March sales, as in-transit inventory improved 74% over February. F-Series had a record 50,000 new retail orders in March, while a record 41% of our overall retail sales came from previously placed retail orders,” he said in a statement.

Sales of Ford’s trucks, including its popular F-150 pickup, were off 23% during the first quarter. Car sales were down 49%, while SUV sales were off just 5.1%. On improved inventory, Ford said its SUVs sales increased 39% compared to February.

Automakers such as Ford have been managing a global shortage of semiconductor chips for more than a year. The parts shortage has caused sporadic shutdowns of plants and depleted new vehicle inventories.

Ford is among the last of the major automakers to report its March and first quarter sales. US new-vehicle sales overall for January through March likely came in below 3.3 million, down 14% from the first quarter of 2021, industry analysts say.

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