DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. executives say U.S. industry sales during the first 10 days of January rose from December levels, a sign that the markets decline may be abating.
The first couple of weeks have started off stronger than we expected, Jim Farley, Ford group vice president of marketing and communications, said here today at the auto show. Its been across the board, across the industry.
The increase spans a range of vehicle segments, said Ken Czubay, Fords vice president of U.S. sales and marketing, citing internal sales data and conversations with competitors. Czubay estimated that the industry is on track to sell 20,000 to 30,000 more vehicles this month than in December.
January sales topping Decembers would be more significant than the raw numbers suggest because December is typically a stronger month.
Average U.S. sales in December 2003 through 2007 were 1,456,356, according to the Automotive News Data Center. The comparable January figure from 2004 through 2008 was 1,093,757, giving December an average edge of 362,000.
U.S. sales dropped 35.6 percent in December from year-earlier levels as the industry fell 18 percent for the year to its lowest total since 1992.
Said Czubay: January is a tough month, but were seeing a pleasant lift.