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Hiring data may have tipped off Ford's Chicago plant move as it continues shift to SUVs

5 months ago by James Mattone in

Ford ($NYSE:F) is expected to create 450 jobs at its Chicago plant when it invests $50 million into it becoming a facility that can assemble hybrid sport utility vehicle and vehicles for police use.

However, this job creation move might have been tipped off in the company's careers website, and it reflects the overall success of Ford's SUV sales both on the new and used market.

Ford used SUV sales jumped 26.94% over the first two quarters combined on CarMax alone.

Through Ford's website, which lists job openings globally, we saw a steady increase in listings in mid-June after a typical spring dip.

This growth in jobs appears to reflect the company's overall success for its SUV and Truck business in Q1 2019, and positive trends for Ford so far this year.

During this fiscal quarter, Ford sold 5% more SUVs (from Ford and Lincoln models combined), or 213,086 total, compared to sales in Q1 2018. But that successful quarter was juxtaposed with a -8.6% year-over-year drop in Q2, which should be a sign of concern for the car manufacturer.

At leas a portion of that decline may be attributable to the used Ford SUV market, which mirrored the positive trends seen in the first quarter for new vehicles. Specifically, Carmax ($NYSE:KMX) Lookahead Data, a metric that tracks the presence of specific car VIN numbers to see if it was "sold" off the lot in a given period of time, reveals that Ford SUVs represent a sizable chunk of sales within a two week timeframe.

Through this metric, we saw a total of 8,283 Ford SUVs "sold" during Ford's first fiscal quarter in 2019, and an additional 7,325 vehicles sold in Q2 2019.

Compared to how Ford SUV faired at CarMax in Q1 2018 — only 6,373 were "sold" during that 13-week period — and in Q2 2018 (5,921), Ford used car sales jumped 26.94% over the first two quarters combined on CarMax alone.

The introduction of a hybrid SUV might keep Ford competitive with the growing SUV electric vehicle and hybrid market, which is led by Tesla and its Model X SUV. In 2020, Ford will release a hybrid version of its Escape SUV, which fits the mold of the Chicago factory's purpose.

If that model, or the Chicago factory's overall output, winds up being a success alongside continued positive trends for new and used sales, it all might help it survive against its younger competitors as the SUV-ificaiton of the American car market continues its stranglehold.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, mainly covering video games, food, and tech news, but not afraid to head into Sephora or beauty brands if need be...

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