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Ford predicting additional market share gain for March

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Ford predicting additional market share gain for March

03/25/2010, 10:20 PMBY MARK KLEIS

Following a strong performance in February in which Ford outsold General Motors for the first time since an August 1998 strike at GM, Ford executives are now suggesting ahead of the official release that March looks to be another strong month for the automaker. Ford believes it will outpace the rest of the market on its way to increasing market share for what will be 17 out of the last 18 months.

According to a Reuters discussion with Ford’s head of U.S. sales and marketing, Ken Czubay, the automaker expects to maintain its momentum and report monthly sales for February that will outpace the rest of the industry.

“We are having a pretty good month in March and we are finding the industry is having a good month, but we ought to outpace the industry again,” Czubay said.

Going into 2010 industry analysts first projected annualized rates to be around 11.5 million units, but January and February sales put the rate closer to a mid to upper 10 million unit range. According to a recent report by Edmunds, March sales have jumped dramatically to an annualized rate of 13.2 million units.

The recent jump in sales is likely stemming from the increased discounts offered by many automakers, first spurred by the 44 percent increase in discounts being offered by Toyota in an effort to shore up dramatically dropping sales. Since launching the discounts, Toyota has reported a jump in sales, which has led the automaker to hint that it may continue deep discounts beyond March madness.

Overall, Czubay noted that he felt the sales for early 2010 were disappointing for the entire auto industry.

“I think we have all been a little disappointed that the recovery hasn’t taken hold of our business a little bit more strongly – January and February for example – so I am hoping the recovery is starting to take hold so we can raise the base water level of business,” Czubay said.

Ford attributes its strong sales to a freshened lineup of more fuel-efficient vehicles, in addition to favorable views from consumers on the brand as a whole. As a result, Ford has enjoyed stronger conquest sales in 2010 than it has enjoyed historically.




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