Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) reported its best quarter ever for electric vehicle sales, but shares are still weighted down by the ongoing strike by United Auto Workers against the company.
Ford stock is down 20.34% in the past three months, but is retaining a year-to-date gain of 12.55%. A glimpse at the Ford Motor chart shows a cup-with-handle formation that broke down, with the stock now trading below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.
Record-Breaking EV Sales for Ford
Ford’s third-quarter EV sales were up 14.8%, on the company’s best-ever volume sales, totaling 20,962 vehicles.
The company said much of this gain came on strong Mustang Mach-E sales, up 42.5% for the quarter and the best sales of the electric Mustang since the car’s debut in 2021.
In the month of September alone, the company said, Mach-E sales totaled 5,872, a new record and a year-over-year gain of 153%.
In September, Ford’s overall electric vehicle sales were up 65% percent.
The Ford E-Transit was the No. 1 selling electric van with its best-ever quarterly sales of 2,617, an 89.8% increase.
Ford expects the F-150 Lightning pickup truck to produce sales increases in the fourth quarter, as capacity increases at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. That’s not one of the plants that workers are currently striking.
Hybrid vehicle sales were also up.
How is UAW Strike Impacting Ford Shares?
In late September, Ford said it was getting closer to reaching a deal with the union pertaining to benefits and wages, and on October 3 it said it had made a comprehensive offer.
Ford executives, as well as industry analysts, said a stumbling block has been the union’s concern about pay at a plant that will make batteries for EVs. Competitors such as Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) don’t have unionized battery-making factories, meaning their costs are lower. Ford executives have said they are concerned about its EV battery costs being higher, relative to rivals.
So far, investors seem to be playing a game of wait-and-see, keeping Ford shares bouncing along above an August 25 low of $11.58, with no upside momentum.
But analysts haven’t gone completely negative on the stock.
As you can see using MarketBeat’s Ford Motor analyst ratings, Wall Street is maintaining a “hold” rating on the stock, with a price target of $14.50, an upside of 21.85%.
Analysts expect Ford to earn $2.08 per share, an increase of 11%. Next year, that’s expected to decline by 10% to $1.86 a share.
The strike will likely put a dent in fourth-quarter results, as dealer inventory is declining. However, not all models are affected by the strike as of now, so full-size pickups and full-size SUVs are still in production.
Ford's Path Forward in the Evolving EV Market
Ford CEO Jim Farley said recently that gasoline-powered vehicles will continue to be an important part of the company’s product offerings.
Meanwhile, rival General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has said it will make only electric light-duty pickups and passenger cars after 2035, while Ford hasn’t set any kind of global deadline, outside of saying it will only sell EVs in Europe by 2030.
EV sales have been hampered by consumer worries about the availability of charging stations, meaning long-distance drives are limited.
High prices of EVs, relative to gas-powered cars, are also a hindrance. Consumers also worry about battery fires and cold-weather performance.
But attitudes are gradually changing, and Ford’s third-quarter sales numbers may be an indication of that.
A 2023 survey by Cox Automotive revealed that EV consideration is at a record high. Cox found that 51% of consumers are considering buying a new or used EV, up from 38% two years ago.
However, half of U.S. adults still say they are not likely to consider purchasing an EV.