Ford Motor Co. has signed a three-year agreement to sell vehicles to Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc., gaining a share of the car rental companys mostly Chrysler fleet.
The Ford contract supplements a Dollar Thrifty accord with Chrysler LLC that requires the rental company to buy at least three-fourths of its fleet from Chrysler to guarantee volume incentives. That deal ends after the 2011 model year.
Dollar Thrifty and Ford sealed the contract within the past week, Ford spokesman Todd Nissen said. Ford has sold vehicles to Dollar Thrifty before, but this is the companies first long-term agreement, Nissen said.
Neither company would disclose the number of vehicles Ford will sell to Dollar Thrifty.
Ford sales to Dollar Thrifty in the United States begin with current models and continue through August 2012. The agreement gives the rental company access to long-wheelbase vans, among other vehicles, Dollar Thrifty CEO Scott Thompson said in a statement.
Fords light-vehicle sales dropped 41.6 percent in January, forced down by a 65 percent drop in fleet sales that Ford said matched an industrywide plunge in fleet deliveries. Sales to car rental companies fell 90 percent, the company said.
The shortage of fleet sales also hurt the two other Detroit automakers and contributed to a 37.1 percent decline in sales across the industry, for the lowest monthly total since August 1982.
Chrysler saw last months U.S. fleet sales drop 81 percent from January 2008, driven by extended holiday shutdowns at its plants. Overall light-vehicle sales fell nearly 55 percent for the automaker.
Dollar Thrifty has more than 800 Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental stores in the United States and Canada.