(Reuters) -Ford Motor Corp on Wednesday posted a 9.8% fall in quarterly U.S. auto sales, as a fall in sales of its profitable trucks outweighed higher demand for sport utility vehicles.
The No. 2 U.S. automaker sold 542,749 vehicles in the fourth quarter, down from 601,862 a year earlier.
The automaker posted a 12.5% decline in truck sales, while passenger car sales fell 41.1% as it continues to phase out traditional sedan models in North America that have become increasingly unpopular with consumers.
Sales of its SUVs, however, rose 4% to 216,732 units.
“Fourth quarter represented an inflection point at Ford in our transition from cars to a much greater focus on iconic trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles,” said Andrew Frick, vice president at Ford’s sales in the United States and Canada.
“We are well positioned to see the benefits of our focused efforts throughout 2021,” Frick added.
GM reported a 4.8% increase in U.S. sales for the fourth quarter on Tuesday, while Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG recorded a sales increase of 9.4% and 10.8%, respectively.
“It might seem at odds with unemployment levels and the harsh financial conditions … but the consumers who are buying new cars during the pandemic are clearly on the other side of the economic divide,” industry consultant Edmunds said in a report on Tuesday.
Industry experts expect a rebound in demand this year, fueled by the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, record low interest rates and healthy consumer savings as people held off spending money on large purchases and vacations during the pandemic.
However, rising COVID-19 cases in the United States have increased the uncertainty over a speedy rebound.
(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Maju Samuel)