DETROIT — Why is Ford Motor Co. betting its future on trucks?
You might call it a smackdown between the F-150 and Nike Air Jordan XXXII.
Ford executives like to point out lately consumers spent $41.25 billion on F-Series trucks in North America in 2017. Incredibly, the trucks have generated more revenue than:
• American Airlines
• Best Buy
• Merck pharmaceuticals
• Rite Aid
In fact, $41 billion exceeds the gross domestic product output of the countries of Jordan, Bolivia and Iceland — among many others.
Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst for Ford, indicated few people realize just how big the truck franchise really is.
“On average, we’ll sell about two F-Series pickup trucks every minute,” he said. “By the time you’ve finished this article you’re reading right now, we’ve sold another one.”
Ford sold 896,764 F-Series trucks in 2017, up 9 percent over the previous year.
“So the industry was off slightly from record sales in 2016, but F-Series bucked the trend,” Merkle said. “This was our 41st straight year as America’s bestselling pickup truck.”
In recent months, F stock has moved little. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas generated news when he suggested the trucks might be more valuable than the whole 115-year-old company.
A line of one year’s sales of F-Series trucks could stretch from Seattle to Miami, said Ford spokesman Mike Levine. “We love our trucks.”