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Ford says sales of F-series trucks should top 900,000 again this year



NEW YORK -- Ford Motor Co. intends to remain No. 1 in the U.S. full-sized pickup segment, with sales of at least 900,000 F series in 2006.

Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, made that pledge Wednesday, April 12, at the New York auto show.

If Ford meets the objective, 2006 will be the third consecutive year that F-series sales have topped 900,000 units. The target also comes as General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. prepare to launch redesigned versions of their full-sized pickups.

"So far this year, (F series) sales are up 5 percent, and we've increased our segment share by almost three points," Fields said.

That gain largely has come at the expense of Chevrolet, which lost 3.1 percentage points of share during the first quarter, Ford said.

As part of its bid to maintain truck sales leadership, Ford intends to add a trim line to the F-150 family. The FX2 Sport is expected to debut this fall as a 2007 model. Ford expects the new model to account for about 5 percent of all F-150 sales. That equates to around 45,000 annually.

The new trim line essentially is a two-wheel-drive version of the F-150's FX4 model. Ford says customers in the South have asked for the two-wheel-drive version.
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