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Ford puts brakes on sales slide

Leading the way: Ford's Fusion is helping the Dearborn-based manufacturer to pull back from the brink and drive up its market share.

Blue Oval outpaces rivals in race back to healthy sales in US

Ford logo2 Jul 2009

FORD led the US car market fightback in June, reining in the Blue Oval sales slide to a fall of just 11 per cent on the same month last year.

This helped to pull the overall market decline back to 27.7 per cent for the month, despite continued struggles by cross-town rivals Chrysler (-42 per cent) and for General Motors (-33.4 per cent).

The big Japanese transplants, Toyota and Honda, also suffered more than the average, down 32 per cent and 29.5 per cent respectively, although they too have managed to stem some of the sales hemorrhaging of recent months.

The June decline of 27.7 per cent in the US market was the smallest slip in 16 months, and compares well with the first-half sales drop of 35 per cent this year.

Year to date, Detroit bankruptcy battlers GM and Chrysler are both still more than 40 per cent below last year’s levels, but showing glimmers of recovery.

GM topped the sales charts by moving 174,785 vehicles out of the showrooms in June, despite its on-going Chapter 11 machinations.

 center imageLeft: Chevrolet Camaro.

A bright spot for GM was its born-again Australian-engineered Chevrolet Camaro, which outsold the Ford Mustang last month for the first time since 1985 – 9320 units to 7362.

According to Automotive News, some Chev dealers are selling Camaros “right off the delivery truck”, with some buyers paying over sticker price to get their hands on one, especially in California.

It is another story on other GM models, with GM planning to offer zero per cent financing in July to move excess stocks, including runout models from the doomed Pontiac range.

Ford’s 148,153 sales in June – its best monthly tally in more than a year – helped it to leapfrog Toyota (131,653 units) into second place, and served to demonstrate that Toyota’s assumed rise to number one is far from a fait accompli.

Ford – the only ‘Big Three’ Detroit car-maker not to put out its hand to Washington for survival aid – was buoyed by strong sales of the mid-sized Fusion which jumped 26 per cent on the same month last year to a record 18,561 sales.

Although small in the scheme of things, hybrid vehicle sales also hit a new high at Ford, up more than 90 per cent to 3649 units.

Subaru was the only company to move into positive territory in June compared with the same month last year, up about 3.4 per cent.

Hyundai, which has barely put a foot wrong in any market over the past two years, was down 24 per cent – its weakest month this year.

However, like many other car-makers at the lower end of the market, Hyundai will be licking its lips at the prospects of a sales burst when the US government introduces its CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) ‘cash-for-clunkers’ incentive scheme on July 23.

Buyers can get vouchers for between $US3500 ($A4356) and $US4500 ($A5600) by trading in fuel guzzlers on new, more efficient models.

Read more:

Ford can see a profit in 2011

Ford turns tables on Toyota in the US

Ford slashes debt, outpaces GM

Ford books record $US14.6b. loss


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