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Ford analyst: Market share to fall more in '06

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Ford analyst: Market share to fall more in '06

Dee-Ann Durbin / Associated Press

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.'s top U.S. sales analyst said Wednesday that the automaker's U.S. market share will probably continue to decline this year despite the automaker's turnaround efforts.

George Pipas said Ford's U.S. market share has dropped by one percentage point -- or roughly 150,000 vehicles -- each year for the last five years. Arresting that decline and then stabilizing market share are top priorities in Ford's North American restructuring plan, but Pipas said the losses will probably continue in the near term.

"It's very difficult to get that thing flat-lined in a year," Pipas told analysts during a conference sponsored by Prudential Financial. "Our goal this year is to reduce the rate of decline. Once the rate of decline is starting to narrow on a year-to-year basis, then we can think about stabilizing."

Pipas said he expects Ford to be a solid performer this year in the growing crossover segment. He also said he expects Ford customers will remain loyal to the company's full-size pickups despite Toyota Motor Corp.'s newly redesigned Toyota Tundra.

"The pickup market has different characteristics than the car market," he said. "There's not this perceived shortfall in quality and a reason to switch."

Link: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic.../602160443/1148

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