Ford has announced that it is planning to build 770,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2014 in North America, down almost 2% on last year when it built 784,000 vehicles.

The company also said that projected production of 770,000 vehicles in North America for fourth quarter 2013 is unchanged.

Ford Sales Analyst Erich Merkle said that Ford is taking a cautious approach to its NA build plans and could add production back in if demand or model mix factors make that necessary.

"We do have the opportunity, if we continue to see sales move and continue to see demand we have the opportunity to add some of that production back in later," he said. "But right now we're being very cautious about how we approach the first quarter of next year."

The cautious approach to short-term NA production planning comes in spite of strong sales for Ford in the US in November.

Ford said that its November sales in the US of 190,449 vehicles were up 7% compared with last year. Retail sales are up 9%, for the best November performance since 2004, the company said.

“We continued to see sales increases across our full family of vehicles – particularly with our passenger cars and utilities in conquest coastal markets – helping us post our best November retail sales performance since 2004,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, US marketing, sales and service. “Fusion and Fiesta were particular standouts, setting November records, and Ford trucks maintained their strong selling pace.”

Analysis from LMC Automotive shows that total year-to-date vehicle production in North America through October is up 4% from the same period in 2012. Production in October was at 1.6m units, a 7% increase from October 2012.

The slightly lower October sales pace, combined with higher production, has led to a an industry average 77-day supply, higher than the 60- to 65-day supply normal range, according to LMC.