Divya Sharma & Bernie Woodall
Bangalore/Detroit. Ford Motor said its primary Ford brand vehicle sales topped 2 million in the United States last year, the first time since 2007 that any single automotive brand has reached that level.
The Ford brand passed the 2-million mark on Dec. 28, said Erich Merkle, Ford US sales analyst. Ford’s small cars sales are on pace to post an increase of more than 20 percent this year, while its utility vehicles are tracking a 30-percent gain, the company said.
The Ford brand sold slightly more than 1.9 million cars in 2010 in the United States.
Overall, including its Lincoln luxury brand and now-defunct Mercury brand, Ford company sales were up about 11 percent through November and the Ford brand’s sales were up about 18 percent.
As fuel prices rose in 2011, customers movee toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
In recent years, Ford has emphasized fuel efficiency, including adding its “EcoBoost” engines, which include turbo-charging, and fewer cylinders, particularly on utility vehicles and pickup trucks. US auto sales in December are expected to top 13 million on an annual rate, J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive said.
Through November, Ford’s company-wide auto sales were No. 2 in the US market at about 17 percent market share, behind General Motors’ nearly 20 percent share. The recession cut into US auto sales beginning in 2008.
Sales had topped 16 million annually but fell to 10.4 million in 2009, and have been rising slowly since.
Once again, as it has each year for more than three decades, the Ford F-Series pickup trucks are the best-selling vehicle in the US market.
Through November, Ford sold 516,639 F-Series pickup trucks, according to Autodata.
Two more Ford models also had US sales of more than 200,000 each in the first 11 months of the year: the Fusion sedan and the Escape small SUV.
Through November, the Ford brand sold 1.86 million new vehicles in the US market, followed by GM’s Chevrolet brand at 1.61 million, Toyota Motor’s Toyota brand at 1.29 million and Honda Motor’s Honda brand at 0.93 million.
Ford earlier this decade had eight brands, but has shed all but its primary Ford and its luxury Lincoln brands.
Through November, about 77,000 Lincoln vehicles were sold in the US market. Ford began killing off its Mercury brand in 2010 and in 2011 sold 248 cars.
Ford shares were trading at $10.69 on Friday, up 0.1 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.