Ford Sales Decline From Last Year

    April 1, 2005

U.S. customers purchased or leased 305,172 cars and trucks from Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo dealers in March whichis the highest monthly total since May 2004.

Compared with a year ago, overall sales declined 1.7%.

Sales of passenger cars continued to increase at the retail level. Total car sales (including fleet deliveries) were equal to a year ago, but retail car sales were up 6 percent, including a 20 percent increase at Ford Division as consumer demand grew for the Ford Five Hundred sedan and Ford Mustang. Both cars posted their highest sales since introduction late last year. The Mercury Montego sedan also achieved its best sales month since introduction.

“We’re making a concerted effort to get back in the car business,” said Earl Hesterberg, Ford group vice president, North America Marketing, Sales and Service. “The effort appears to be paying off.”

Sales of trucks (pickups, sport utility vehicles and vans) declined 3 percent from a year ago. On the positive side, Ford F-Series sales were 80,527, up 1 percent from a year ago, and the all-new Lincoln Mark LT added 569 units to the company’s full-size truck results.

In addition, consumer demand continues to grow for the company’s new small and crossover sport utility vehicles. The Ford Escape set a new March sales record (16,921), including the highest monthly sales to date for the Escape Hybrid (1,569). The Mercury Mariner also posted its best month ever (3,053). The company’s new mid-size crossover model, the Ford Freestyle, also set a new record for monthly sales (6,191).

“Higher gas prices seem to be accelerating the demand for small and crossover sport utility vehicles,” said Hesterberg. “Fortunately, we’re in a position to offer consumers several choices in these categories and more are on the way.”

In contrast, sales of traditional sport utility vehicles generally declined, except at Land Rover where sales were up 8 percent due to the all- new LR3, Motor Trend magazine’s “Sport Utility Vehicle of the Year.”

In addition, sales for the Ford Ranger, the company’s compact pickup truck, were off 40 percent.

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