While we will be updating overall US auto sales on the blog throughout the day, we wanted to provide a quick update on truck sales from Ford. Trucks are not only higher margin, but they are often purchased by small businesses and contractors so they provide a good read on the health of the small business sector. Overall, Ford sales in April disappointed, but truck sales were not quite as negative as the overall sales reading.
As shown in the first chart below, sales of F-Series trucks were largely unchanged versus April of last year coming in at 70,657 vehicles versus 70,774 in April of 2016. That’s down slightly, but still near the highest levels of the last fifteen years. On a YTD basis, though, overall sales remain strong with total sales of 275,938 trucks compared to 256,895 last year. At that level, total sales in the first four months of the year are the highest since 2004. It also represents a 7.4% increase versus the YTD total last year and is the eighth straight year where sales increased y/y in the first four months of the year. So if truck sales are a decent barometer of the health of small businesses, the first four months of 2017 have been pretty good.