Ford posts highest US auto sales since 2020

(Reuters) -Ford Motor on Thursday posted its best annual auto sales in the United States since 2020, fueled by sustained demand for the automaker’s crossover SUVs and pickup trucks, a day after many of its peers reported double-digit gains in new vehicle sales.

The Detroit automaker said vehicle sales rose 7.1% to 1.99 million units in 2023. In 2020, Ford posted new vehicle sales of a little over 2 million units.

Overall, U.S. new vehicle sales last year finished at around 15.5 million units, of which electrified vehicles including hybrids made up nearly 17%, according to data from Wards Intelligence.

American buyers have gravitated towards larger vehicles, such as crossover SUVs and pickup trucks, in place of sedans and hatchbacks, as consumers preferred the safety and utility of those vehicles.

However, analysts have warned that high interest rates may hurt the consumers’ appetite for new vehicles going forward.

Sales of Ford’s EV models, such as the F-150 Lightning pickup truck and Mustang Mach-E crossover, also jumped nearly 18% to 72,608 units from a year earlier. The company’s EV models accounted for 3.6% of total sales.

Ford’s hybrid vehicle sales were up more than 25% at 133,743 units compared with last year and accounted for about 7% of its total sales.

With sales of 1.99 million vehicles, Ford was the third-largest automaker by sales in the United States, behind General Motors and Toyota.

(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shweta Agarwal)