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Old 02-28-2005, 17:04   #1 (permalink)
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US:Ford says its new car lineup is gaining traction

Ford says its new car lineup is gaining traction

Reuters

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said on Monday its new car lineup gained traction in February, with U.S. sales for the trio of vehicles hitting an annual selling rate of about 185,000.

Ford is forecasting total February sales for the new Five Hundred and Montego sedans and the Freestyle wagon in excess of 13,500 units, up at least 24 percent from 10,921 in January.

Automakers will report February sales on Tuesday. Analysts are forecasting lower sales for Ford overall, and a ninth straight month of market share losses for the second-largest U.S. automaker.

The new vehicles are central to Ford's strategy for boosting its U.S. share and increasing much-needed automotive profit. It hopes to sell more than 200,000 of the vehicles this year. But four months after their launch the annual selling rate for the three cars, built at Ford's Chicago assembly plant, was only 167,000 in January.

Ford, which sells the three vehicles without any cash incentives to mostly retail customers, is expecting them to reach the targeted selling rate by the end of March.

The Five Hundred and Freestyle have been touted by Ford as replacements for its aging Taurus sedan, once America's best-selling car. But Ford sold 24,269 Tauruses alone in February 2004 and its new vehicles, which have gotten off to a relatively slow start, have been criticized by some for their conservative styling.
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Old 03-01-2005, 01:15   #2 (permalink)
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Re: US:Ford says its new car lineup is gaining traction

Ford US might not see a recovery if it is being half-hearted about the cars' designs. Don't feel there's much direction to Five Hundred, Montego and Freestyle, especially when compared to what the Aussies did with the Territory or the Germans with the Focus II.
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