Ford Fire Delays Sales Report

16Ford_F-150_ES.jpg 2016 Ford F-150 | photo by Evan Sears

CARS.COM — A fire suspended operations Monday at a data center that Ford uses to track sales, and the automaker says it needs to delay its monthly sales report until sometime later this week. It’s not the first time we’ve had a sales delay, but because it’s Ford — an automaker behind perennial bestsellers like the F-Series pickup truck, Escape SUV and Fusion sedan — we’ll withhold October 2016’s top 10 best-selling cars report until we have those numbers.

Related: Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: September 2016

Barring a polar vortex in hell, the F-Series should still come in at No. 1. Below it, the stage seems set for the Chevrolet Silverado (down 3.6 percent), Ram pickup (up 6.9 percent) and Honda CR-V (up 4.4 percent) to snag the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 spots, respectively. That would return the CR-V to the top non-pickup slot, a position it held for much of the summer amid heavy incentives from Honda. We won’t know the CR-V’s full incentives picture until the end of today and Honda’s advertised customer rebates in October gave little indication. The redesigned 2017 CR-V doesn’t hit dealers until this winter.

The Toyota Corolla, whose sales now include a Corolla-badged version of the erstwhile Scion iM, follows the CR-V with sales up 1.3 percent. The Toyota Camry, Toyota RAV4, Honda Civic and Honda Accord will likely be in the mix, as well, even as sales for all four nameplates declined versus October 2015. The Camry and Accord fell by double-digit percentages as shoppers shunned family cars for yet another month.

The Escape and Fusion could land among the top 10 once Ford reports sales. Shoppers saw higher inventory for both models last month versus October 2015, with refreshed 2017 models in showrooms.

Minus Ford, sales for the rest of the industry appear headed for the slump analysts predicted coming into this week. New-car sales fell 4.8 percent in October with the six other largest automakers (that is, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan and Toyota) reporting results. It comes as government-reported wage indexes showed their slowest quarterly growth since late 2015 and housing starts entered October coming off their worst month since early 2015.

The good news for shoppers? Incentives are still high. They averaged $3,726 per car as of late October, up 11.8 percent versus the year-ago average, according to J.D. Power and Associates. That means 2016 continues to be the year of discounts. By Autodata Corp.’s count, average incentives per car have risen by 10 percent or more (year-over-year) in eight out of nine months through September. It’s caused mounting concern among industry analysts, but for consumers it means there are plenty of deals to be had.

One other sales tidbit: For the first time, Volkswagen’s monthly sales reflect a year-over-year comparison against a month — October 2015 — in which the German automaker had also halted sales of its four-cylinder diesel cars under an ongoing diesel scandal. It appears the sales woes are far from done; in October 2016, sales for the VW brand fell another 18.5 percent.

Stay tuned for a full sales table later on this week.

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