We like to track sales of pickup trucks as they are often a sign of strength or weakness in the small business and construction sectors. These types of businesses are the most common users of these vehicles. This morning, Ford released its monthly sales report for May and it showed that sales of its F-Series trucks came in at 61.87K, which represented a decline of 9.7% from last May’s total. It is also the second straight month of May where sales of F-series trucks dropped from their prior year levels. While this sounds alarming at face value, there are some caveats. For starters, this May had one less selling day, so assuming each day is equal, one less day alone would account for 4% of the decline. In addition to there being less selling days, Ford also noted tight supply of the new F-150. In fact, the company noted that average selling prices for the new F-150 were at record levels and that production at a second plant would fully ramp up this quarter.
On a year to date basis, sales of F-series trucks are down about 1% from last year at this time. This represents the first y/y decline on a YTD basis since 2009, but here again we would note that the primary reason for the drop is more a function of lower supply than falling demand.