JULY U.S. AUTO SALES
Ford sales rise 2.4% for first monthly gain in 19 months
August 3, 2009 - 11:00 am ET
Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales rose 2.4 percent in July, their first
year-over year increase in 19 months, boosting hopes that the federal
cash-for-clunkers incentive has shaken industry demand from its
The gain was paced by small cars and Ford's most fuel-efficient
trucks. The Focus was up 44 percent and the Fusion advanced 66
percent. Sales of the Escape SUV, which includes a hybrid version,
nearly doubled, and the Ranger small pickup rose 65 percent.
The result is "a very good indication for the economy," Ford U.S.
sales chief Ken Czubay said Sunday in an interview, before the tally
The company saw a "substantial increase in business'' after the July
24 kickoff of the clunkers program, he said. "That kicked us over the
July's results brought Ford's U.S. sales decline for the year to 29.7
Seasonally adjusted annual sales rates have ranged from 9.1 million
and 9.9 million so far this year. In addition to experiencing
industrywide sales woes, Ford's Detroit 3 rivals, General Motors Co.
and Chrysler Group, have also spent part of this year in
government-sponsored bankruptcy reorganization.
The cash-for-clunkers program is close to exhausting its $1 billion in
federal funding. The incentive offers vouchers of $3,500 to $4,500 to
consumers who trade in qualified gas guzzlers for new vehicles with
better fuel economy.
The Obama administration has said it will honor the clunkers program
through Tuesday. The U.S. House of Representatives, meanwhile, has
already passed a $2 billion extension for cash for clunkers, and the
Senate is expected to take up the measure this week.
Analysts had said the program goosed U.S. auto sales across the board
last month. J.D. Power and Associates originally estimated the
seasonally adjusted sales rate would be 10 million vehicles in July,
but last week boosted that estimate to 10.7 million. J.D. Power
analyst Jeff Schuster told Automotive News he thought a rate above 11
million units was possible. Credit Suisse estimated the July rate
reached 12.1 million to 12.4 million vehicles.
The June light-vehicle sales rate was 9.5 million vehicles.