Ford Motor said on Monday its new-vehicle sales in the United States fell 17% in the first three months of the year, in line with other automakers struggling to keep their factories running in a context of a global shortage of computer chips.
Ford said it sold 429,174 cars and light trucks in the first quarter, down from 517,711 a year earlier. Its sales included 6,734 Mustang Mach-E electric sport utility vehicles, just 120 more than a year earlier, reflecting the impact of the chip shortage.
Stellantis, the maker of Ram Jeeps and pickup trucks, said its U.S. sales fell 14% to 405,221 cars and light trucks. Sales of the Jeep brand fell only 2%, thanks to two new SUVs, the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer. The company’s Chrysler and Dodge brands were down 27% and 36%.
Established automakers have been grappling with the chip shortage for months, some for more than a year. By contrast, Tesla, the biggest seller of electric cars, said on Saturday its new car sales rose nearly 70% in the first quarter.
Ford said its dealers had 268,000 vehicles in inventory at the end of March, up from 370,000 a year earlier. GM had inventories of 273,760 vehicles, down from 334,628. Years ago, the two automakers typically held inventories of 800,000 vehicles or more.
Ford, General Motors and other companies said they expect production and sales to return to more normal levels in the second half.
Ford is seeing strong demand for its pickup trucks and SUVs, Andrew Frick, Ford’s vice president of sales, distribution and trucks, said in a statement. The automaker received 50,000 retail customer orders for F-Series trucks in March, which Frick said was a record.
Toyota Motor, which initially weathered the chip shortage better than U.S. rivals, overtook Ford and GM sales in the first quarter, selling 514,592 vehicles, just ahead of GM’s 512,846 Toyota also topped sales of Ford and GM in 2021, becoming the first automaker based outside the United States to achieve this feat in the industry’s nearly 120-year history.