Ford sales rise 9% in 2011, paced by Fusion, Escape, F series
DETROIT -- In 2012, the Ford brand will be introducing dramatic new redesigns of its Fusion mid-sized sedan and Escape crossover. But customers seem to be perfectly fine with the existing models, thank you. Both the Escape and the Fusion posted sales records as 2011 ended.
In December, Ford sold 25,574 Escapes, breaking its all-time monthly sales record. And Ford sold 248,067 Fusions in 2011, also an all-time record. Redesigned versions of both models will debut midyear as 2013 models.
The two vehicles, along with the F-series pickup, paced Ford Motor Co. to increases of 10 percent for December and 9 percent for the year.
Ford Motor attributed its 2011 growth to improved sales of small cars, SUVs and pickups. For the year, SUV sales grew 20 percent, trucks 12 percent and cars 4 percent.
Sales of Ford-brand vehicles, accounting for 96 percent of the automaker's sales, rose 16 percent in December and 17 percent for the year.
For the year, Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales climbed to 2.14 million.
But the automaker's 2011 U.S. market share slipped slightly to 16.8 percent from 16.9 percent in 2010 -- ending two years of gains.
"We saw Ford sales strengthen, posting our best December retail sales month since 2005 and closing the year as America's best-selling brand," Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement.
Pickup sales racked up the biggest increase of any segment for the automaker in December, up 28 percent, while SUVs rose 16 percent. Car sales dropped 15 percent in December.
On the small-car front, Fiesta sales dropped 30 percent for the month while the Focus rose 12 percent.
The F-series pickup again was by far the biggest seller in the company's portfolio, with 584,917 units sold in 2011, up 11 percent from 2010 and accounting for more than a quarter of the company's sales. Of that number, 152,937 pickups were sold with EcoBoost V-6 engines, an offering Ford did not even have in 2010.
Strong retail sales
Ford officials say they were encouraged by strong retail sales in December. Erich Merkle, a Ford sales analyst, said the automaker sold 152,937 vehicles at retail during December, its strongest monthly retail showing since 2005.
Sales to fleets accounted for 27 percent of the company's total December sales and 32 percent for the year. Merkle said sales to rental fleets were 7 percent.
Merkle said Ford finished the year with 469,000 cars in dealer inventories, a 58-day supply.
Lincoln sales grew 4 percent in December. Sales in 2011 closed at 85,643, down 185 units from 2010.
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