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Ford focusing NA growth plans on “super segment”

Ford’s plan for growth in North America is focused on four key vehicle segments (subcompact, compact cars, small utility vehicles and midsize); what Ford is now calling the super segment. Since 2009, 38% of Ford’s growth has come from vehicles in this super segment, which includes Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Escape.

This super segment represents just more than 50% of total new vehicle sales in the US. As recently as 2004, super segment sales were only 35% of the market. Ford expects more growth in the super segment, as baby boomers continue to downsize their vehicle purchases and first-time millennial buyers enter the market. Combined, baby boomers and millennials account for more than 160 million people in the US.

The super segment is where Ford plans to grow in North America.

—Amy Marentic, group marketing manager, Global Small and Medium Cars

Two of the four groups in the super segment are of particular interest: small utilities and sedans. Two-thirds of all buyers shop the Escape and Fusion when they first come into a Ford dealership.

Combined sales of Escape and Fusion totaled 51,985 vehicles in February 2013, edging out combined sales for Toyota Camry and RAV4 (44,599 sales) and Honda Accord and CR-V (48,667 sales). Escape has been the best-selling small utility in the US for the past two months, Ford notes.

From January through September of last year, Focus was the best-selling vehicle in the world (end-of-year data from all regions have not yet been reported), while Fiesta was No. 5 in global sales and the best-selling subcompact car in the world.

Ford’s brand share of the super segment is running at 12.7% through the first two months of the year, more than double its share in 2005. From 2005 to 2012, Ford brand sales in the super segment were up 123%.

Retail sales of Ford’s super segment vehicles nationwide are up 33% in the first two months of 2013, with strongest growth coming from the West, up 56%, and the Southeast, which reported a 38 percent%.

Conquest rates range from 54% on Focus, 52% on Escape and 51% on Fusion, all the way up to 63% on Fiesta and 67% for Fusion Hybrid. More than half of Ford sales in these four segments are conquest sales.

Last month, Ford’s hybrid and EV sales captured 17% of that segment, up from 5% in February 2012.

Year-to-date Fiesta retail sales are up 24% from a year ago while Focus is up 3%. Year-to-date retail sales of Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX in California, the biggest small car state in the country, are up 43% this year, in addition to a 54% sales increase last year.



Ford is adapting to more lower middle class and lower class buyers, or the future 97+%?

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