* See the 2014 F-150 and Super Duty monthly production figures by clicking on the title *
Exclusive data communicated by Ford Motor Corporation USA shows for the first time the production mix for the F-Series nameplate, namely separating the F-150 full-size pickup from the Super Duty variants (F-250 and up). During my ongoing USA Coast to Coast 2014 series, I have repeatedly pointed out the surprising strength of the F-250 and F-350 in some towns like Savannah for example. JATO Dynamics state by state data has confirmed these observations, with the Ford F-250 Super Duty even finding its way among the 5 best-selling nameplates in Texas (#5), Oklahoma (#4) and New Mexico (#5).
Ford does not communicate the F-Series sales mix. Why? Because doing so could cost the nameplate the overall U.S. sales crown it has held for the past 32 consecutive years. So far this year at end October, a total of 783.583 F-Series pickup trucks have been spit out of Ford factories. 67.5% of them (528.958) were F-150, the rest or 32.5% (254.626) were Super Duty pickups: the F-250 and up. This production mix is higher for the Super Duty variants than I had expected and confirms the exceptional strength of higher variants at the moment, a trend that should continue on the way up partly because of a once-in-a-lifetime surge in heavy duty pickup sales triggered by the fracking boom the country is experiencing at the moment. (see STRATEGY How US fracking is boosting heavy duty pickup sales)
Production data is always a good indication of sales for US pickup trucks as these are sold almost exclusively in North America. Indeed YTD F-Series sales across USA+Canada come to 727,059 units, logically under the production figure as most of 2014 was spent in over capacity for the outgoing F-150 to prepare for the successive idling of both F-150 factories to upgrade tooling for the aluminium 2015 model. Things start to get interesting if we zoom in on U.S. sales figures where the F-Series totals 620,447 units vs. 429,119 for the Silverado. Applying the 67.5% production ratio to estimate F-150 U.S. sales gives us a total of 418,802 units, actually below the Silverado.
There are a few asterisks to this though. Firstly, the F-Series overall production mix may not be applicable exactly as is to U.S. sales. Secondly, you can argue the Silverado is also divided into full-size (1500) and super duty (2500 and above) pickups and would therefore need to split their sales as well to be ‘fair’. I say the F-150 may in fact not be the best-selling nameplate in the country, especially given that with the 2015 model now in dealerships, differences with the Super Duty F-250 variants and above are much more significant than between Silverado 1500 and Super Duty 2500 and above. It’s actually not the same vehicle at all anymore.
Another element brought to light by Ford’s production figures is the idling of the Dearborn Truck Plant for almost two months. This was no joke: production stopped (zero units produced) in September and only ramped up to 2,688 in October. Meanwhile the Kansas City plant continued to spit out F-150 unhinged but will now be idled to allow conversion for the 2015 model. The first ‘consumer’ version of the 2015 F-150 pickup came out of the Dearborn production line on November 11. (see USA November 2014: 2015 F-150 production debuts) As a result, and this is of course a one-off event due to the transition between the 2014 and 2015 F-150, production of Super Duty variants came dangerously close to the F-150 both in September (28,587 vs. 29,685) and October (29,783 vs. 33,219). Note the Super Duty hit its strongest two production months of the year then.
Ford making more Super Duty F-Series to smooth out the transition to the new F-150? Makes sense.
2014 Monthly production data for F-150 and Super Duty by plant below.