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Ford starts 2007 with sales decline

From FREE PRESS BUSINESS| February 01,2007

Ford Motor Co., which recently posted its biggest annual loss in history, isn't expecting January to be much better.

The automaker is expecting to post a 20% decline in new car and truck sales Feb. 1, when it releases its monthly results for January along with other automakers.
While most of Ford's expected sales plummet is explained by discontinuation of the Ford Taurus, which was largely sold to rental companies, profitable retail sales to customers are expected to take a hit.

George Pipas, Ford's chief sales analyst, said the result will be driven by a 60% decline in fleet sales, and that Ford might post severe drops in several months this year, as a result of its strategy to shift away from largely unprofitable sales to rental-car companies.

"This is not going to be the biggest decline in fleet sales," he said of January's results.

The automaker started delivering the product later than expected more than seven weeks ago, on Dec. 7.

Ford officials blamed the delay on weather. The Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers are built at the company's assembly plant in Ontario.


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