Ford's 2017 Super Duty. | By Boris Ladwig.
Ford’s 2017 Super Duty. | Photo by Boris Ladwig

In 2015, Ford Motor Co. sold the highest number of vehicles in the United States in nine years, and the F-Series remained the nation’s top vehicle for the 34th year.

Fueled by low gas prices and an economic recovery, the American auto industry recorded its best year in 2015, selling 17.5 million cars and trucks, according to various media outlets.

Ford announced Wednesday that sales reached 2.6 million, up 5 percent from 2014. December sales, at nearly 240,000 vehicles, were up 8 percent year-over-year.

Annual sales for the F-Series, including those made in Louisville, reached 780,000, up 3.5 percent from 2014. The figures made the F-Series “America’s best-selling pickup for 39 consecutive years and best-selling vehicle for 34 straight years,” the company said in a press release.

December sales for the F-Series rose 15 percent and exceeded 85,000 for the first time in a decade.

Ford employs about 10,000 at two local plants, including about 5,000 at the Kentucky Truck Plant, which produces Super Duty Trucks, including the F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550.

“December capped off six straight months of year-over-year sales gains for F-Series, with strong increases coming from both retail sales and the strength of commercial fleet orders, as we closed out 2015,” Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president for U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, said in the release.

SUV sales reached a record 66,000 in December, up 13 percent from a year earlier. However, sales of the Expedition, also made at KTP, fell 7.1 percent for the year. Sales for the locally produced Lincoln Navigator, on the other hand, improved 14.7 percent for the year.

Ford said late last year that it would invest $1.3 billion into the Kentucky Truck Plant to prepare for the next generation Super Duty. By the second quarter of this year, the company also plans to hire 2,000 people who will earn at least $17 per hour.

Sales of the Escape, made at Louisville Assembly Plant, were flat from 2014 to 2015, at about 306,000, but jumped 9.2 percent in December.

Ford said van sales in 2015 reached a company record 221,000 and jumped 32 percent from the prior year.

Ford workers last year also narrowly approved a new four-year contract.

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Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.