DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. says its sales to fleet customers will drop by double-digit percentages in 2007 now that production of the Ford Taurus has ended.
"With the discontinuation of the Taurus, we might go until 2008 until we see another sales increase to our fleet customers," Ford sales analyst George Pipas said today. He was speaking on a conference call announcing Ford Motor's October U.S. sales, which rose 8.0 percent.
Ford doesn't plan to backfill the sales of the Taurus with the sales of other vehicles to daily rental fleet customers, Pipas said.
"You're going to easily see a double-digit decline in the sales of vehicles to fleet customers" in 2007 compared with 2006, he said. Ford will provide more precise estimates later, Pipas said.
Ford discontinued production of the Taurus on Friday, Oct. 27. In its final year, the Taurus was sold almost exclusively to fleet buyers.
Even so, it had maintained its position as the Ford brand's best-selling car nameplate. Pipas said fleet deliveries of the Taurus in 2006 will end at about 175,000 vehicles.
In October, 35 percent of Ford's sales mix came from fleet buyers. With the exit of the Taurus, the fleet mix will drop from those levels. Pipas didn't provide an estimate but said the fleet mix will be down "virtually every month" in 2007.
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