Calumet-area Explorer Sales Dip 56.9% Due to Chip Shortage | State
The locally-made Ford Explorer SUV saw sales drop 56.9% in August from a year ago, largely due to chip shortages that shut down the Chicago assembly plant for weeks This year.
Overall Ford and Lincoln sales fell 33.1% to 124,176 units last month, from 185,655 in August 2020.
In August, the Dearborn, Mich.-Based automaker saw a 39.6% drop in retail sales, a 35.7% drop in truck sales, a 30.4% drop in sales from SUV and an 84.8% drop in car sales. Ford-branded SUVs fell 25.6% while the automaker’s overall SUV sales fell 27.3%.
Ford has gradually phased out low-margin cars, selling only 2,369 last month, up from 16,864 in August 2020. It has shifted its strategy to focus on more expensive, higher-margin pickup trucks and SUVs that fatten its profit margin.
“Retail sales were up 6.5% in August from July as both production and dealer inventories posted monthly gains,” said Andrew Frick, vice president, Ford Sales US and Canada. “Almost a third of our retail sales came from orders that were pre-sold last month, while adding an additional 41,000 new orders for the month. With improved uptime, F-Series retail sales are up 11% from July, giving Ford its best month of F-Series sales since the chip shortage began, and the F-150 Lightning has now exceeded 130,000 reservations. “
In August, Ford sold 8,490 units of the Explorer, manufactured at the Chicago Assembly Plant in the far south near the state border, up from 19,717 units in the same month in 2020. Despite semiconductor shortages and repeated plant shutdowns, Explorer sales are still up 0.8% to 140,082 units so far this year, compared to 138,994 units sold in the first months of l event of 2020.
In 2019, Ford also began manufacturing the Lincoln Aviator at the Chicago Assembly Plant after phasing out the Lincoln MKS and Ford Taurus. SUV sales fell 66.1% to 766 units last month, from 1,994 in the same period a year earlier. Sales of aviators, however, are still up 0.4% to 13,748 units sold at the end of July, against 13,692 units in the first half of last year.
Ford employs more than 5,810 workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant and 1,290 at the Chicago Stamping Plant on US 30 in Chicago Heights. They have often been unemployed frequently this year, as the plant has been shut down several times due to a lack of semiconductors used in reversing cameras, lane assist and other modern features.