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Ford's sale surge no fluke: This automaker's on a roll

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Ford's sale surge no fluke: This automaker's on a roll



Don't mistake Ford's stunning 43.4% sales increase in February for a short-term windfall fueled by Toyota's multiple recalls.

While Ford almost certainly gained a few sales from buyers at Toyota's expense, February's triumph was building for months before Toyota stalled.

“Ford is really on a roll,” said Aaron Bragman, research analyst with IHS Global Insight. “This is the payoff to years of investment and restructuring.

“Ford is only going to get stronger this year as more strong new vehicles arrive.”

Independent research suggests that Honda and Hyundai are the primary beneficiaries of Toyota's woes. Even if Ford had picked up every one of the 9,556 sales Toyota shed from February 2009, the Dearborn automaker would still have more than 32,000 new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury owners to brag about.

Sales for every Ford-brand vehicle but the aging Crown Victoria increased against February 2009. The Fusion midsize sedan more than doubled its sales from a year ago, continuing a steady upward trend that began in the depths of the recession last year.

While Ford enjoyed broad success, February gave Toyota more cause for concern. Nearly every vehicle sold by the automaker's Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands lost sales, including models not included in any of its recalls. Despite, that, Toyota's 8.7% sales decrease was less than many analysts expected.

The biggest surprise in February is Chrysler's 0.5% gain. The fact that Chrysler overcame a drumbeat of criticism and a lack of new models should be cause for celebration in Auburn Hills. Even much-maligned models like the Chrysler Sebring and Jeep Compass more than doubled their sales versus a year ago.



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