Ford, Chrysler sales tumble
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Sales tumbled at Ford and DaimlerChrysler last
month, further eroding the troubled automakers' share of the U.S. market.
Ford (Charts), which is likely to give up its long-held No. 2 spot in U.S.
sales to rival Toyota Motor (Charts) this year, said sales sank 13 percent,
due to a discontinuation of two models sold mainly to rental car companies
and weak sales of its best-selling pickup.
DaimlerChrysler (Charts) said U.S. sales slid 8 percent, due to a drop that
size at its Chrysler Group unit. It's Mercedes-Benz luxury car unit saw its
U.S. sales essentially flat in the month.
Ford said sales to rental car companies, which are less profitable, fell 30
percent from a year earlier, while retail sales slid 8 percent.
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About 22,500 of the year-ago sales were in the Taurus sedan and the Freestar
minivan - sold mainly to rental car companies and now discontinued. The most
recent months saw no Taurus sales and only 502 of the Freestars.
But the problems weren't limited to weaker rental car sales. Ford's F-Series
pickup, the nation's best selling vehicle, saw sales fall by 7,611 from a
year ago, as the popular choice for contractors has been hit by the weak
housing market and higher fuel prices.
The drop in F-Series sales, coupled with the missing Taurus and Freestyle
sales, was responsible for about 90 percent of the slide in Ford sales.
Ford had warned Monday that sales would be be down 10 to 15 percent in
February and its results are actually better than the 23 percent drop that
had been forecast by Edmunds.com, which tracks auto sales.
General Motors (Charts), the nation's No. 1 automaker, has also warned of
weak February sales, and the traditional Big Three - GM, Ford and Chrysler -
could see their combined sales account for less than half the U.S. market
for the first time in February. The other automakers are due to report sales
"If they pull a knife, you pull a gun. If they put one of yours in the
hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue."
Sean Connery, "The Untouchables"