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HarleyEarl

Ford Explorer

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http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.d...INESS/509020346


Explorer sales fall in August
Ford cites gas cost, fading inventories


Rising gas prices and low inventories sent sales of Louisville-built Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles down 44 percent in August.

Ford started the month with about 25,000 of the SUVs in stock, and it sold 17,151 of them. The Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road sent no new models to dealerships in the month as it was building the 2006 model that has only begun reaching dealerships in recent days. The St. Louis Assembly Plant that also makes the Explorer built a few 2005 models.

While citing short supplies for the sales drop, Ford sales analyst George Pipas said expensive gas probably has some buyers considering smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

"Gas prices have had an impact all year, and it's continuing to be a problem," Pipas said. "If ($3-per-gallon gas) persists for a couple of months … people may defer SUV purchases."

Ford said yesterday it is extending its popular employee-pricing discount promotion through Sept. 30, allowing customers to buy 2005 vehicles and some 2006 vehicles at the same price offered to employees. Ford is following General Motors Corp. in extending the offer. Chrysler also has extended its employee-pricing plan.

Pipas said 2006 models have started getting to the market, but it would be late October before dealerships have more than one or two models to show.

Automakers saw mixed sales results in August. Ford sales grew 6.3 percent as employee-pricing discount plans continued to pull buyers into dealerships.

After seeing huge sales increases for the first two months of its employee-pricing promotion, GM sales fell 12.7 percent in August, the third month it offered such deals.

"We were down a little bit from where we expected to be, and the industry was a little softer than we expected it to be," said Paul Ballew, General Motors' executive director of global market and industry analysis.

Sales of the Bowling Green-built Corvette grew 6.5 percent.

DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group saw sales increase 5.1 percent, mostly on the strength of car sales. Truck and SUV sales were down for the automaker.

Asian automakers, which didn't match the discounts, saw sales steadily increase in August.

Toyota sales increased 13.8 percent, although its truck sales were flat. Sales of the Georgetown-built Avalon sedan grew 212.8 percent. The redesigned Avalon has sold well since its launch in January.

Toyota also saw triple-digit sales growth for its Prius hybrid.
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Ford started the month with about 25,000 of the SUVs in stock, and it sold 17,151 of them. The Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road sent no new models to dealerships in the month as it was building the 2006 model that has only begun reaching dealerships in recent days.


Obviously sales are going to drop when you only have 25k units of a vehicle at the beginning of the month that normally does at least 25k in a month and the assembly plant doesn't send any new vehicles to the dealers.
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