Ford in April saw strong demand for its newest products, including the aluminum-intensive ’15 F-150 pickup and Edge midsize CUV.

F-150 deliveries last month rose 2.3% vs. year-ago on a daily-rate basis to 58,920, according to WardsAuto data. Of those sales, about 50% were the all-new model, and most were top-trim-level units, which drove the F-150’s average-transaction prices to new highs, says Mark LaNeve, vice president-U.S. marketing, sales and service.

“The new F-150 had a strong series mix, with high-end models 60% of retail sales. That propelled it to the highest ATPs we can find, $42,600 per truck, which is an incredible number,” he says in a conference call with reporters and analysts to discuss April sales results. “That’s up more than $3,200 from last year, and it happened as more of our mix shifted to the all-new F-150.”

Ford’s second F-150 assembly plant in Kansas City, MO, is ramping up production and will produce more units for fleet use, which will drive down ATPs over time. LaNeve says early units from the automaker’s Dearborn, MI, facility were sold largely to retail customers.

“Commercial business on the pickup side will be substantially better in the back half of the year,” he says. “We couldn’t fill (fleet) orders as we were ramping both plants up, so we had to delay that business.”

Demand for the new Edge in April was strong, propelling sales to a 77.6% increase, despite low inventory levels.

“The turn rate on Edge was 10 days,” LaNeve says. “We had a strong performance in both retail and fleet, but it will be a higher percentage of retail going forward. We’re working hard to keep up with demand and will be tight on inventories in May.”

Overall Ford sales rose 6.4% compared with like-2014 to 217,745 units, according to WardsAuto data.

Most of Ford’s utility vehicles turned in a strong performance in April, including the Escape, up 4.8%, Flex (17.5%) and Explorer (2.0%).

Explorer momentum is expected to accelerate when a refreshed model launches later this year, LaNeve says.

“Our new-product introductions are beginning to pay off,” he says. “We have a lot of work to get up to full line rates for availability, but we’re excited about customer acceptance and look forward to building inventory on the new F-150, Edge and the new Explorer later this summer.”

Car sales were mixed, with the Focus C-car falling 5.3%, the Fiesta B-car up a slight 2.7% and the new Mustang jumping 81.5%. Fusion midsize sedan sales fell 5.6% for the month.

Despite the overall lag in car sales as customers migrate to utility vehicles, LaNeve says Ford won’t use profit-sapping incentives to boost volumes.

“We want to remain competitive in terms of value equation in the marketplace, but we’re not going to create unnatural demand through incentive spending,” he says. “The shift from cars to the CUV category has been profound, 10 points in five years. We benefit from that because we’re strong in utilities and trucks, but we’re going to continue to compete every day with cars.”

bpope@wardsauto.com