DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. on Friday reported an August sales decline of 2.1 percent driven by a drop in demand for normally hot-selling crossovers and SUVs -- and damage from Hurricane Harvey.
The automaker said SUV/crossover sales fell 11 percent, car sales dropped 8.6 percent and pickup/van sales rose 9.6 percent. Ford Motor's retail sales fell 2.7 percent, while fleet sales declined 0.2 percent.
August was Ford's third consecutive monthly sales decline, and seventh in the past eight months.
Ford attributes the overall dip in utility sales to a 40 percent fleet decline caused by order timing. Every Ford utility nameplate besides the Flex posted losses. However, Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said the automaker remains bullish on the utility segment and will soon be helped by a redesigned Expedition that goes on sale later this year.
The storm's damage in Texas also had an adverse impact on sales.
The automaker has 114 dealerships in the immediate Houston area. It said 101 have reopened as of Friday, while 13 remain closed. LaNeve said 10 dealerships sustained "extensive damage."
He said inventory losses are expected to be less than 5,000 and isolated to a few dealers. Ford expects to ramp up production and will divert some used vehicles to auctions in Texas.
"Our thoughts and prayers really do go out to all impacted by this historic and terrible storm," he said.
Through multiple efforts, LaNeve said Ford and its dealers expect to raise a total of $3.5 million in relief efforts.
Overall, Ford said the average selling price of its vehicles rose $1,300 last month, compared to a $140 increase for the rest of the industry.
It sold about 77,000 F-series pickups last month, which was the first month of sales for the freshened 2018 F-150. It was the best August for F-series sales since 2005.
"We continue to see customers choosing high trim-level F-series trucks for Super Duty and with new 2018 F-150 orders," LaNeve said. "We are seeing high demand overall for our F-series lineup this year, outpacing full-size truck segment growth 2 to 1 with a 15 percent increase for August."
LaNeve said F-150 incentive spending was down $1,280 from the same time last year.
"We continue to perform amazingly well ... in spite of incentive fluctuations by our competition," he said.
Car sales continued to decline, led by a 33 percent drop for Mustang sales, although the pony car continues to lead the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger for the yearly sports car sales crown.
Sales of Ford's Lincoln luxury brand fell 5.8 percent, although LaNeve said Ford is encouraged by interest for the upcoming redesigned Navigator SUV. He said 75 percent of orders for the vehicle are for its highest trim level and Black Label variant.