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Old 03-02-2004, 21:42   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Ford February Down 2.3% But F-Series Truck Post Another Sales Hike

The Auto Channel

Ford February Down 2.3% But F-Series Truck Posts Another Double-Digit Sales Hike Sixth Months in a Row

DEARBORN, Mich., March 2 -- Ford's F-Series truck did it again: America's perennial best-selling vehicle posted February sales of 66,986, up 13 percent compared with a year ago. February was the sixth month in a row F-Series achieved a double-digit sales increase -- a streak coinciding with the introduction of the all-new F-150.

"F-Series continues to give us a big lift," said Jim O'Connor, Ford group vice president, North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "Future sales success is buoyed by the fact that intentions to purchase an F-Series truck are at the highest level in over a decade."

Overall, U.S. customers purchased or leased 261,694 cars and trucks from Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Jaguar, Volvo, and Land Rover dealers in February, down 2 percent compared with a year ago. Sales of trucks (pickups, sport utilities, and vans) were 175,884, up 4 percent. Sales of passenger cars were 85,810, down 14 percent. Overall, sales to individual retail customers were up 1 percent, while sales to fleet customers were down 11 percent, reflecting the company's decision to reduce sales to daily rental customers.

"We're committed to pursuing a product and marketing strategy that will result in stronger retail sales performance," said O'Connor. "Our decision to pull back sales from the daily rental channel adversely affects year-to-year comparisons, but we believe it is the right long-term decision."

Sales of sport utility vehicles were 7 percent higher than a year ago. February sales totaled 68,450 -- a new record for the month. Sales for Ford Escape, including the first of the redesigned models, were a record 14,485, up 24 percent. Mercury Mountaineer sales were up 37 percent.

Mercury sales advanced 9 percent and Lincoln sales increased 6 percent as higher retail sales offset double-digit declines in fleet deliveries.

Volvo dealers reported higher sales for the sixteenth month in a row riding the wave created by the award-winning XC90 sport utility and the first of the all-new S40 sedans. The official introduction month for the S40 is March.

Land Rover sales were 2 percent higher than a year ago on the strength of record Range Rover sales and the redesigned Freelander.

North American Production

The company plans to build 955,000 vehicles in its North American assembly plants in the second quarter 2004, including 700,000 trucks (up 15,000 units from second quarter 2003) and 255,000 cars (down 68,000 units from a year ago). The increase in truck production primarily reflects higher F-Series production. The decrease in car production primarily reflects the changeovers at Chicago and Dearborn as the company readies for the production launch of the Ford Five Hundred, Mercury Montego, Ford Freestyle and Ford Mustang.

The company plans to build 1,015,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2004 (305,000 cars and 710,000 trucks). This represents a 15,000-unit reduction from the previously announced plan. The reduction reflects actions already taken to adjust minivan inventories.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY FEBRUARY 2004 U.S. SALES

February Month % February CYTD %
2004 2003 Change 2004 2003 Change
Sales By Brand
Ford 217,522 227,328 -4.3 408,095 427,552 -4.6
Mercury 17,150 15,794 8.6 30,233 31,754 -4.8
Lincoln 10,705 10,121 5.8 20,337 20,695 -1.7
Jaguar 3,592 3,712 -3.2 7,235 7,256 -0.3
Volvo 10,157 8,711 16.6 20,442 17,943 13.9
Land Rover 2,568 2,530 1.5 5,388 5,551 -2.9
Total Ford Motor
Company 261,694 268,196 -2.4 491,730 510,751 -3.7

Memo: Cars and Trucks
Cars 85,810 99,566 -13.8 157,876 183,707 -14.1
Trucks 175,884 168,630 4.3 333,854 327,044 2.1
Total Ford Motor
Company 261,694 268,196 -2.4 491,730 510,751 -3.7

FORD BRAND FEBRUARY 2004 U.S. SALES

February Month % February CYTD %
2004 2003 Change 2004 2003 Change

Crown Victoria 6,476 6,205 4.4 11,937 11,659 2.4
Taurus 24,269 30,871 -21.4 40,817 53,418 -23.6
Focus 15,046 18,384 -18.2 28,729 35,321 -18.7
Thunderbird 922 1,116 -17.4 1,757 2,334 -24.7
Mustang 10,634 10,957 -2.9 20,540 17,692 16.1
Escort 238 2,402 -90.1 1,210 4,469 -72.9
Total Ford Cars 57,585 69,935 -17.7 104,990 124,893 -15.9

Escape 14,485 11,695 23.9 25,500 22,929 11.2
Explorer 27,487 27,177 1.1 53,740 51,599 4.1
Expedition 10,702 12,054 -11.2 22,232 22,616 -1.7
Excursion 1,437 2,096 -31.4 2,989 3,772 -20.8
Econoline/Club Wagon 13,357 12,950 3.1 25,549 23,782 7.4
Windstar 1,000 12,617 -92.1 2,806 24,872 -88.7
Freestar 9,645 0 NA 14,527 0 NA
Ranger 14,090 19,059 -26.1 25,210 36,352 -30.7
F-Series 66,986 59,278 13.0 128,965 115,847 11.3
Heavy Trucks 748 467 60.2 1,587 890 78.3
Total Ford Trucks 159,937 157,393 1.6 303,105 302,659 0.1

Total Ford Brand 217,522 227,328 -4.3 408,095 427,552 -4.6

LINCOLN AND MERCURY BRAND FEBRUARY 2004 U.S. SALES

February Month % February CYTD %
2004 2003 Change 2004 2003 Change

Grand Marquis 7,333 6,876 6.6 13,103 12,446 5.3
Sable 4,172 5,375 -22.4 7,282 11,250 -35.3
Cougar 0 602 -100.0 0 1,526 -100.0
Total Mercury Cars 11,505 12,853 -10.5 20,385 25,222 -19.2

Town Car 3,831 4,365 -12.2 7,300 7,970 -8.4
LS 2,776 2,117 31.1 4,837 5,322 -9.1
Continental 0 0 NA 0 280 -100.0
Total Lincoln Cars 6,607 6,482 1.9 12,137 13,572 -10.6

Total Mercury
and Lincoln Cars 18,112 19,335 -6.3 32,522 38,794 -16.2

Mountaineer 4,037 2,941 37.3 7,668 6,532 17.4
Monterey 1,608 0 NA 2,180 0 NA
Total Mercury Trucks 5,645 2,941 91.9 9,848 6,532 50.8

Navigator 2,439 2,170 12.4 4,846 4,282 13.2
Aviator 1,659 1,469 12.9 3,354 2,688 24.8
Blackwood 0 0 NA 0 153 -100.0
Total Lincoln Trucks 4,098 3,639 12.6 8,200 7,123 15.1

Total Mercury
and Lincoln Trucks 9,743 6,580 48.1 18,048 13,655 32.2

Total Mercury
and Lincoln Vehicles 27,855 25,915 7.5 50,570 52,449 -3.6

Total Lincoln Brand 10,705 10,121 5.8 20,337 20,695 -1.7
Total Mercury Brand 17,150 15,794 8.6 30,233 31,754 -4.8

JAGUAR BRAND FEBRUARY 2004 U.S. SALES

February Month % February CYTD %
2004 2003 Change 2004 2003 Change
XJ 825 288 186.5 1,693 727 132.9
S-TYPE 799 1,184 -32.5 1,785 2,386 -25.2
X-TYPE 1,798 2,002 -10.2 3,394 3,675 -7.6
XK 170 238 -28.6 363 468 -22.4
Total Jaguar 3,592 3,712 -3.2 7,235 7,256 -0.3

VOLVO BRAND FEBRUARY 2004 U.S. SALES

February Month % February CYTD %
2004 2003 Change 2004 2003 Change
S40 1,790 1,353 32.3 2,883 2,410 19.6
V40 155 257 -39.7 285 506 -43.7
S60 2,590 2,879 -10.0 5,615 5,656 -0.7
V70 799 821 -2.7 1,999 1,586 26.0
V70 XC 1,011 1,069 -5.4 2,070 2,452 -15.6
C70 322 261 23.4 542 518 4.6
XC90 2,625 1,058 148.1 5,243 2,727 92.3
S80 865 1,013 -14.6 1,805 2,088 -13.6
Total Volvo 10,157 8,711 16.6 20,442 17,943 13.9

LAND ROVER BRAND FEBRUARY 2004 U.S. SALES

February Month % February CYTD %
2004 2003 Change 2004 2003 Change
Range Rover 753 707 6.5 1,633 1,424 14.7
Discovery 1,070 1,235 -13.4 2,295 2,462 -6.8
Freelander 745 588 26.7 1,460 1,665 -12.3
Total Land Rover 2,568 2,530 1.5 5,388 5,551 -2.9
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