But if the market turns back up, Ford thinks it has some wind at its back.
"Relative to the competition, we continue to perform better to expectations," Ford marketing chief Jim Farley told Automotive News. "The biggest element of that is our products."
But Ford's retail market share is down this year, according to data provided by R.L. Polk & Co., an automotive research firm in suburban Detroit.
For the first three months of 2009, Ford's retail sales totaled 237,750 units, amounting to 13.1 percent of total industry retail sales, down from 13.7 percent for the same period a year earlier.
But it's likely that the ongoing collapse of GM and Chrysler will boost Ford's sales. Some domestic brand shoppers uncomfortable with the notion of buying from a bankrupt manufacturer are giving Ford more consideration.
And although Ford's first-quarter fleet sales are down sharply from the year-ago period, Farley said the company lately has started to pick up some commercial fleet business. Companies that previously purchased GM or Chrysler vehicles for their fleets now are buying Fords to reduce risk, he said.
But GM's and Chrysler's troubles also jeopardize Ford's attempted comeback. Up to 80 percent of Ford's suppliers are shared with GM and Chrysler. Parts makers already are strapped because of the recent production cuts, and several more weeks of GM and Chrysler shutdowns loom.
The collapse of just one key supplier would bring Ford factories shuddering to a halt. Ford has given some suppliers financial help, and it has not yet experienced any production disruptions.