US:Ford post sales gains
Ford post sales gains
Dale Jewett Automotive News
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales rose 8.0 percent in October from a year earlier to 214,591 units, the second consecutive month the automaker has posted a sales gain.
Monthly results for the struggling Detroit 3 were expected to benefit from comparison to October last year, which marked a seven-year low for U.S. vehicle sales after a spike in gasoline prices and a summer of blowout discounts.
This year the Detroit 3 have been struggling to manage inventories of unsold 2006 models under pressure from their dealers who have slowed orders in some cases because of the higher cost of financing unsold vehicles.
Ford said the inventory for its mass-market brands -- Ford, Lincoln and Mercury -- dropped by 30,000 units in October from September to reach 622,000 units. That was down 107,000 units from a year ago.
Ford, which has slashed production through the first half of 2007, also said about three-quarters of its inventory now represented new models.
"We are very serious about aligning inventories with demand," said Al Giombetti, who heads sales for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. "Our dealers did an outstanding job with the 2006 sell-down program, and we took a painful but necessary action to reduce fourth-quarter production."
One aspect analysts were watching in the October sales results was whether lower gasoline prices in the month helped boost demand for the pricier pickups and SUVs that had been shunned by American consumers for most of the year.
Ford said its truck sales were up 1 percent, led by gains for new versions of its Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.
GM and Ford both pulled back on sales incentives in October, while the Chrysler group increased its discount offerings slightly in a bid to clear inventory, according to an analysis by auto tracking Web site Edmunds.com.
Reuters contributed to this report.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....