Ford pickup remains America's top-selling truck for 45th year, automaker says

Ford Motor Co. displays a new 2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck at the Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, September 17, 2020.Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT – Ford Motor's F-Series pickup will remain America's best-selling vehicle for a 40th straight year in 2021 and the industry's top-selling truck for the 45th consecutive year, the company said Thursday.

While the pickup, which includes the F-150 model and other larger siblings, has topped U.S. sales for decades, retaining the titles this year was particularly notable given an ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips that reduced production across the industry.

Ford prioritized production of the F-Series throughout rolling shutdowns of plants this year due to the parts shortage, only having to close facilities that produce the pickups for relatively short amounts of time compared to months at other plants.

The chip shortage may cause General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado to lose its long-held second-place sales title this year to Stellantis' Ram pickup. Through the first three quarters, Ram's full-size pickup sales totaled 434,772 units compared to the Silverado at about 407,000.

GM spokesman Jim Cain downplayed the nameplate rankings, but said the Detroit automaker remains “very well positioned to deliver its seventh consecutive year of sales leadership in the full-size pickup segment.”

Unlike Ford and Stellantis, GM has two full-size pickups. It sells the higher-priced GMC Sierra alongside the Chevy Silverado. Combined sales of both pickups outnumbered its crosstown rivals through the third quarter.

Both GM and Stellantis report sales on a quarterly basis, while Ford reports its results monthly.

Ford sold 663,508 F-Series trucks though November, a 7% decrease from a year earlier. That includes 534,831 units through the first three quarters of the year, giving it a sizeable lead over its Detroit crosstown rivals.

Ford confirmed its F-Series results Thursday in releasing its November sales, which increased 5.9% compared with a year earlier to 158,793 vehicles.

Ford, based on private industry data, said it was the only major U.S. automaker to post a year-over-year increase in November. It also said it was the top-selling automaker in the country for a third consecutive month, marking the first time since 1974 that it has accomplished that streak.

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