Can You Guess the Unsung Hero of Ford’s 2023 Lineup?
Ford is making big waves in one of the least-heralded parts of their lineup. For the average consumer, the American automaker’s pickups and SUV options take up the majority of the mindshare around the company. But for those in the know, one of the most reliable, useful, and increasingly popular parts of Ford’s lineup is a niche you won’t see too many expensive TV ad buys for anytime soon.
It’s not a classic name like the Ford Explorer. It’s definitely not any part of their pickup truck lines, as even the slightly less-discussed Ranger is still a big seller. No, you’ll have to dig deeper, towards a type of vehicle that most auto buyers haven’t even thought about in years.
An under-discussed part of the Ford 2023 lineup is rapidly growing
To find the most quietly successful part of Ford’s lineup, we can take a closer look at their second-quarter results. Ford Authority reports that the 120-year-old stalwart is enjoying an uptick in sales. That 10 percent hike compared to last quarter is, in part, thanks to the pandemic-era supply chain issues finally clearing up for many of its most popular vehicles.
Those 531,662 Q2 sales were driven heavily by the increased supply, and endless demand, for Ford’s trucks. But one of the biggest percent increases out of the entire lineup happens to be the Ford Transit line. The Transit is America’s number one van, full-stop, and its popularity is only increasing as supply finally matches demand for these reliable workhorses.
While there was a decline in demand for the commuter-focused Transit Connect, the main Transit line accounted for the lion’s share of this sales increase. These spacious, steady-driving vans are the perfect choice for businesses looking to operate efficiently. And the all-electric E-Transit, still a niche vehicle, is convincing more business owners this year with a 63.7% boost in sales.
Ford is putting its focus elsewhere—for now
2023 marks the end of the Transit Connect. Ford saw sales tank over the last several years, even as demand exploded for other Transit vehicles. SUVs have long-since decimated the demand for compact vans. MotorTrend reports that the vehicle ticks many of the boxes of what American consumers are looking for, but the disinterest in minivans simply couldn’t be overcome outside of European markets.
It also didn’t get much advertising support, which couldn’t have helped. Bronco ads are omnipresent. The niche Mustang Mach-E gets outsized marketing focus from Ford, more due to what it represents for their proposed all-EV future than for how much it will sell in 2023.
And the F-150, the vehicle almost synonymous with Ford’s brand, is too lucrative to simply let it sell itself. But selling itself is something the Transit line overall is comfortably capable of.
The Transit line’s success helps keep interesting models afloat in Ford’s 2023 lineup
Those strong Transit sales to the commercial space don’t exist in a vacuum, of course. Having a reliable seller with little marketing overhead frees up revenue for other, more experimental projects. Ford’s diverse line of vehicles can’t exist without profitable, reliable lines like the Transit.
According to GoodCarBadCar, the Mach-E has sold 17,977 units YTD. Given that this is a crossover, the category that American car buyers simply can’t get enough of, those aren’t exactly massive sales for the relatively new small SUV. But it’s an important market for Ford to gain a foothold in. A well-reviewed luxury crossover has great status value in 2023, and potentially massive profitability later on in the decade.
Without the Transit, bold moves like the Mach-E might not be possible. Thankfully, Ford’s unsung hero of their 2023 lineup is there to prop up projects that need some time to establish themselves in the marketplace.