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Ford F-Series Finishes 2020 Where It’s Been For The Last 44 Years: Best-Selling Truck In America

Ford F-150 retains title of best-selling vehicle in North America. Despite a significant drop in fourth quarter sales for the Ford F-150, F-Series maintains sales lead for 2020 as Blue Oval looks to all-important 2021 and redesigned Ford F-150.

44 years is a long time. I’ve only been alive 47 years. So for essentially my entire lifespan, the Ford F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America. This isn’t Earth-shattering news. Ford is pretty quick to drop that line in their talking points and their ads.

And rightfully so. It’s something to be proud of and is quite an accomplishment. Even after a global pandemic, the F-Series weathered the storm and came out on top after Ford reported their final fourth quarter numbers for 2020.

It didn’t come as a shock at all that the F-Series remained atop the list, but that wasn’t without some question and concern. Due to short inventory, partially from the pandemic shutdown but also due to the transition from 2020 model year to the brand-new 14th-generation model year, the F-Series saw Q4 drop in sales of 32.7 percent. Ouch!

Surely that had some in Dearborn sweating it out. But history holds and even in a down year, the F-Series proves to be popular as well as resilient. Let’s take a closer at the numbers.

2020 Ford F-150 family of trucksFord F-Series Sales Total For 2020
Ford saw a total of 787,422 units sold in 2020, this includes all F-Series, including the Super Duty. This number is down 12.2 percent from 2019 when Ford sold a total of 896,526 units.

So, does this show a shift in the consumer market or just chalked up to the pandemic and general economic malaise created from that? That will be determined by how robust sales return in 2021, especially with the thirst and excitement of a new generation of the F-150.

“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 to better serve our customers. We began to see our strongest evidence of this in December with retail sales up 5.3 percent with the launch of our new F-150, Bronco Sport and Mustang Mach-E. We are well positioned to see the benefits of our focused efforts throughout 2021,” said Andrew Frick, vice president, Ford Sales U.S. and Canada.

Finishing out the fourth quarter, sales of the Super Duty were actually up 14.1 percent year over year while the F-150 was down 32.7 percent. This also shows that the excitement and interest in big trucks remains strong heading.

2021 Ford F-150 dealer lotsEarly Sales Of 2021 Ford F-150
According to Ford, the 2021 F-150 arrived on lots in December and averaged only 6 days on the lots once they arrived. Ford feels this show the high interest for the next-generation F-150, but it also is basic economics with a short supply and high demand.

Of interest was that High-Series models accounted for nearly half of early sales mix which, according to Ford is 20 points higher than outgoing models. Is this basic supply and demand or is this a trend where the more exclusive trims are more sought after?

Once again, that will be answered in 2021 for sure, including sales of the F-150 Hybrid which was in short supply for 2020. Most of the trucks that arrived in December did not come with the PowerBoost engine as those seemed to be slightly delayed as opposed to the standard and very popular 3.5-liter Ecoboost.

2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybridWhat’s Next For 2021 Ford F-150?
This Monday will be the National Truck of the Year (NATOY) announcement and as I reported the F-150 is a finalist. I do think it’s a two truck race between the Ram TRX (a media darling for being so fun) and the 2021 F-150. In the end, I have faith in the jury for choosing the F-150 to win as the Ram TRX is nothing more than a niche truck while the F-150, especially with the hybrid powertrain is much more significant.

Deliveries will continue, hot and heavy this month. Typically January deliveries are slow due to weather and the lack of buyers on car lots, but I think this year, as it relates to the 2021 F-150 will be the exception and look for inventory to pick up.

I will be getting a 2021 F-150 with the hybrid PowerBoost in a couple of weeks to drive and review and rest assured I will cover it fully here at Torque News.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments on this story. Leave me your thoughts below.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.


Arlin Koch (not verified)    January 7, 2021 - 12:23PM

How about some fair journalistic reporting - How did Ford do vs Chev/GMC combined - Hint - Second Place!

Jimmy Dinsmore    January 7, 2021 - 12:34PM

In reply to by Arlin Koch (not verified)

LOL, don't try to come for me like you're going to surprise me. It's General Motors who chooses to report their vehicles separately. But yes, if Chevy and GMC were combined they'd outsell Ford. Personally, if I was running GM, I'd get rid of the GMC nameplate, make it a trim for the Chevy brands, and save a pile of money. It's probably hard to do as Sierra people have their preference. But maybe the Chevy Silverado Sierra or something. Just a thought. GM chooses to have Chevy, GMC, Buick and Cadillac, the latter of the three all kind of compete and cannibalize each other. Buick remains around only because of strength in China, which is a huge market for them.