Ford Motor Company (F) Sales Gains Bode Well for Profits

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Ford (F) General Motors Company (GM)It wasn’t quite as big a month for Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) as some analysts had predicted, but it was still a good one: The Blue Oval’s U.S. sales were up a bit over 9% in February, the company said on Friday, a good increase over a strong year-ago result.

It was the company’s best February sales total since 2007. As analysts had predicted, sales of Ford’s F-Series pickups were quite strong, which is good news for shareholders – as are the strong results for some of the Blue Oval’s newest models.

Strong sales for key models bode well for profits
From an investor’s perspective, the big news is that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s full-sized pickup line continued its streak of nice year-over-year gains. Sales of the F-Series lineup, which includes the popular mass-market F-150 pickup as well as its heavier-duty F-250 and F-350 siblings, were up 15.3% over year-ago totals, a strong result in a market that may have slowed somewhat during the month — though arch-rival General Motors (NYSE:GM) also saw sizable sales gains for its pickups in February.

Ford’s PR crew was quick to point out that February marked the 19th consecutive month of monthly sales increases for the F-Series, a streak that tracks nicely with Ford’s growing profitability in North America. Pickups are among Ford’s most profitable products, and their steady, high-volume sales are a major contributor – the major contributor, some analysts argue – to Ford’s profits here at home.

But pickups weren’t the only bright spot for Ford in February. Sales of its two most recent new models, the Fusion sedan and the Escape SUV, were outstanding – up 28% and 29%, respectively, over year-ago totals. Again, that’s good news for Ford watchers, as these two new vehicles look to be keeping Ford’s recent new product winning streak alive.

Another relatively recent hit product, Ford’s Explorer SUV, also had a terrific month with a 58.9% year-over-year sales increase – but the weather might have had something to do with that. While last February was unseasonably warm in many parts of the country, this past month was more typical, with significant snowfall in the Northeast and Midwest U.S. That might have contributed to the Explorer’s gains, while helping to explain (for instance) the 18% drop in sales posted by the Mustang.

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