Friday, March 2, 2007

Ford Floundering… Fletcher’s Response?

Can you hear the celebration? Governor Fletcher is cheering Ford’s demise. His delight is two-pronged.

Despite Ford’s destitution, they remain subject toFletcher’s Alternative Minimum Tax. Simultaineously, Fletcher will campaign on Ford. His extensive Fordfare generates a caring facade. However, Fordfare is inadequate. The AMT will ravage any assistance.

Fordfare is not serious aid. If Fletcher were serious, he would repeal the AMT. He would also utilize Republican principals and restore Ford. However, the aforementioned will not occur. Amidst Ford’s failure, Fletcher is rejoicing.

Explorer February sales down 26% from last year

Ford Motor Co.’s Explorer sport utility vehicles and F-Series pickups saw some improvement in February after plunging in January. Ford sold nearly 13,000 Explorers in February, a 26 percent decline from a year ago, but up from about 10,000 in January.

Ford makes the vehicle at the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road. F-Series pickup sales, including the Super Duty models built at the Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane fell 12 percent in February to 55,251, an improvement from the 14 percent January decline. The truck plant began producing 2008 models in December, and while supplies are still low, Ford said early results are very promising. The average 2008 truck sat on dealer lots for only six days before being sold.

Overall, Ford sales were down 13.5 percent as the automaker continued to slash unprofitable sales to rental car companies. The decline had been expected because Ford ceased production last year of the Taurus sedan and has cut back on other rental models. The automaker’s cars performed well in February with 46 percent increase in sales of the Fusion mid-sized sedan and an 8 percent increase in Focus small cars.

Ford says engine dispute will hurt March sales

Even if Ford Motor Co. loses only a day or two of production of 2008 F-Series Super Duty trucks, March sales will be hurt, the automaker said. Orders from dealerships for the Louisville-built truck have been stronger than expected and the vehicles that were on lots last month didn’t stay longer than six days on average. At the end of the month Ford had only 12,000 of the trucks available for sale.

"The units that we have out there are turning quickly," Ford sales analyst George Pipas said today. He added that there aren’t enough trucks in inventory to keep up with sales and that the few days of lost production will hurt. Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane worked partial shifts today and is scheduled to be down tomorrow.

The company hopes to get full production up next week now that Navistar International has been ordered to resume shipping diesel engines to the plant. Navistar on Monday announced it had stopped shipping engines to the plant because of a dispute over payments from Ford.

Pipas said the work stoppage did not affect February sales, but he expects to see an impact this month. In February, Ford sold 55,251 F-Series trucks. Pipas did not release Super Duty figures, but they typically make up about 40 percent of the truck line’s sales. F-Series sales fell 12 percent in February, an improvement from the 14 percent decline in January.

Ford sued Navistar in January, saying the engine maker failed to pay for its share of recalls on the 6-liter diesel engine sold in 2002-2007 model year Ford trucks. In its suit, Ford said it was withholding funds for the new 6.4-liter engine to recoup those expenses. Late yesterday, a judge in Michigan issued a restraining order, forcing Navistar to restart engine production and Ford to restart full payments.

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