Region-made Explorer sales grew by 6.1 percent last month

The Ford Explorer gets a going over by attendees on Media Day at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday. Sales rose by 6.1 percent in August.

John J. Watkins, The Times

Ford Explorer retail sales rose by 6.1 percent in August, though the automaker's overall sales were down.

In August, Ford sold 209,897 vehicles in the United States, a 2.1-percent decrease as compared to August 2016. Its retail sales fell 2.7 percent year-over-year to 164,067 vehicles.

Ford Sales analyst Erich Merkle said there was an unquantified but definite impact from Hurricane Harvey, which struck the country's fourth-largest metro and could dampen sales for 60 to 100 days.

Locally, Ford produces the Explorer, the Taurus, the Police Interceptor Utility and the Police Interceptor Sedan at the Chicago Assembly Plant on the banks of the Calumet River in Hegewisch.

“We saw Explorer retail sales were up 6.1 and Expedition retail was up 7.6 percent, so we continue to see strong growth relative to the industry in these larger three-row vehicles, particularly as more and more millennials choose to have families and those families grow,” Merkle said.

So far this year, Explorer sales are up 5.5 percent.

Police Interceptor Utility sales dropped 2.4 percent last month, but are up 2 percent so far in 2017.

Taurus sales dropped by 13.9 percent to 2,179 units in August, and have declined by 2.2 percent so far this year. Sales of the Police Interceptor Sedan, a souped-up version of the Taurus, fell by 18 percent in August and have decreased by 13.5 percent over the first eight months of the year.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.