This month, Ford execs crowed that the Ford brand outsold Chevrolet in 2005 and asked General Motors to stop bragging that it had won the sales race. GM honchos were quick to scoff that the R.L. Polk registration data Ford used were not as reliable as automakers' sales data.
Oh, really? GM used a full-page ad in the Jan. 23 issue of USA Today to brag that "Americans choose Chevy more than any other brand." A small asterisk in the ad notes that the claim was "based on combined R.L. Polk & Company 2005 CYTD passenger car and light-duty truck total registrations in the U.S."
A GM spokeswoman says GM has consistently used Polk data in its ads and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, Ford continues to claim it won the sales crown, even without medium-duty trucks. Ford, in a variance from the industry's usual practice in tabulating light-vehicle sales, originally had included medium-duty trucks when it made the victory claim.
A Polk spokesman says that based on its definition of cars and light trucks, Chevy topped Ford in vehicle registrations last year by about 69,600 units.
So the sales derby all comes down to who's slicing the pie - and how.