The Puma went on sale in 2019, giving Ford a more premium entrant in the fast-growing small SUV segment alongside the budget EcoSport. Last year, the Puma was Ford of Europe's third best-seller after the Focus and Fiesta.
Strong sales of the Puma this year pushed it ahead of the Dacia Duster and Hyundai Kona to give it fourth place in Europe's small SUV segment behind the Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Volkswagen T-Cross.
Sales of the Ford Focus fell 40 percent in the first six months, while Fiesta sales were down 9.4 percent according to data from JATO Dynamics market researchers.
The drop in sales for the two cars is even more dramatic because most models saw volume rebound in the first half compared with the same period in 2020 when many dealerships were forced to close across Europe as governments introduced measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like other automakers, Ford's production has been hit by the global shortage of automotive semiconductors, which has affected all its European plants, including Craiova in Romania, where the Puma is built. From April 26 to May, the Craiova factory operated with two shifts instead of three, and had six days of no production on April 28 and between May 10-14, according to the company.
Ford said the Puma has not been given priority for semiconductors for any other reason other than higher demand.
"Prioritization is given to customer orders and CO2 compliance vehicles across the range," a company spokesman said.
Automakers in Europe prioritize low-emissions vehicles to avoid being fined by the European Union for missing mandated CO2 reduction targets.
The Puma does not qualify as a compliance vehicle due to the lack of a plug-in hybrid variant. The car is offered with mild-hybrid technology.
The SUV allows Ford to sell a small model with a much higher sticker price than the Fiesta. The Puma starts at 22,045 pounds ($30,600) in the UK, Ford's biggest European market, while the Fiesta starts at 16,645 pounds.