Ford will cut its North American vehicle production by 2 percent during the first quarter of 2014 in an effort to keep inventory levels in-line with customer demand. The drop in output will be Ford's first year-over-year decline in almost five years.
Although Ford's overall sales were up 7 percent last month, the Dearborn-based automaker now has 682,000 vehicles in stock, representing a 32 percent increase over the same period a year prior. That works out to an 89-day supply, well above the 73-day inventory Ford had at the end of November 2012.
"We do have that ability to add some production back in if necessary," Ford's chief sales analyst, Erich Merkle, told Automotive News, "but for right now, we're going to watch this market very carefully as we match supply with demand."
The Ford F-150 pickup truck was easily the brand's best-seller last month, with sales rising 16 percent to 65,501 units. The Fusion was also a hot seller, with sales up by 51 percent. However, despite that growing interest, Ford recently announced that it was adding a week of downtime to the Fusion's Flat Rock, Michigan, production facility to keep a lid on inventory levels of the mid-size sedan.
The news wasn't all rosy in November, however, as the Focus, Edge and Explorer all posted sales declines. Sales of the popular Escape compact crossover, which was just recalled for a seventh time last month, were flat.
The Ford C-Max saw its sales drop by more than half to 2,398 units.
Ford is expecting to build 770,000 vehicles during Q1 of 2014, down from 784,000 vehicles during the first three month of 2013. Ford plans to cut car and crossover production by 4 percent, which will be partially offset by a 2 percent boost in truck production.
Ford hasn't posted a year-over-year production decline since the second quarter of 2009