Ford hurt by falling fleet sales
DETROIT -- A sharp drop in fleet sales last month pushed overall Ford Motor Co. sales down 4 percent from the July 2011 figure. It was Ford’s second year-to-year sales decline in four months.
Retail sales rose 2 percent over July 2011, while fleet sales plummeted 16 percent.
Ford, No. 2 in U.S. sales behind General Motors, outsold surging Toyota Motor Corp. by just 9,068 units in July. Last July Ford’s margin over its closest rival was about 50,000 units.
Fleet sales accounted for 27 percent of Ford’s July sales, down from 31 percent in July 2011. That 27 percent fleet figure breaks down to 12 percent commercial deliveries, 10 percent daily rentals and 5 percent government purchases.
“I don’t see July being part of any new pattern” with fleet sales, said Ken Czubay, Ford’s head of U.S. marketing, sales and service.
Commercial sales remained flat last month, but Ford’s government and rental-car sales both dropped from last July. Czubay said federal and state governments are spending less because of budget constraints. He called the slump in rental-car purchases a seasonal deviance.
Ford, Lincoln down
Ford brand sales in July totaled 166,507 units, while Lincoln slid 11 percent to 6,975. Through July, 2012 Ford brand sales are up 5 percent and Lincoln sales are down 2 percent.
Escape sales fell 12 percent last month. Ford conducted a highly publicized recall of about 11,500 2013 Escapes in July. But Czubay cited research showing that consumer interest in the redesigned and recently introduced model remains high, and said the Escape had the lowest days’ supply of any Ford vehicle last month.
The 2013 model accounted for just under half of all Escape sales in July.
Sales of the outgoing Fusion continued to climb: 23,326 sales, up 21 percent and the car’s best July ever, according to Ford. Ford will introduce a redesigned version of the mid-sized sedan this fall.
Fiesta sales fell last month. Ford said it sold 4,059 of the small cars, a 23 percent drop. Czubay partially attributed the fall to increased demand for the Focus, which was up 11 percent in July.
At the end of July, Ford said its dealers had 419,000 vehicles in stock, a 60-day supply. The figure was 59 days on June 1. In July 2011, dealers had a 52-day supply.
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