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Old 09-17-2004, 06:00   #1 (permalink)
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US:Ford loses market share for 9th year in a row

Ford loses market share for 9th year



By Eric Mayne / The Detroit News

Ford, the nation's best-selling automotive brand, will lose U.S. market share for the ninth consecutive year in 2004, despite strong sales of the redesigned F-150 pickup.

Ford Motor Co.'s blue oval brand will finish the year with about 16.6 percent of the U.S. market, said Steve Lyons, Ford Division president. That's down from 17.1 percent in 2003 and a high of 21.6 percent as recently as 1995.

Ford's car and truck sales are down 4.5 percent so far this year. One bright spot has been the hot-selling F-150 pickup, which was revamped last year.

"There's no way that in the long term this company can succeed without at least stable market share, if not growing share," said analyst John Casesa of Merrill Lynch.

Separately, Ford announced plans to close a Jaguar plant in Coventry, England, by September of 2005. The closure is part of a restructuring designed to revive the storied brand, which has been plagued by slow sales.

Jaguar said 1,150 jobs will be lost, but another 425 jobs will be transferred to its plant in nearby Birmingham. Buyouts will be available to an additional 400 workers.
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