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Ford Outsells GM

March marks only second time since 1998.

by on Apr.01, 2011

Ford was king-of-the-hill in March, outselling cross-town rival GM for only the second time since 1998 thanks to models like the new Explorer.

While March delivered more good news for the auto industry, General Motors took an unexpected shot from its cross-town rival, Ford Motor Co. outselling the domestic giant for only the second time since 1998.

More significantly, Ford was able to best its Big Three rival without GM being crippled by bankruptcy.  When the tables were turned, in February 2010, General Motors was still struggling to dust itself off after emerging from Chapter 11 protection the previous summer.

The race was nonetheless close, Ford dealers reporting sales of 212,777 cars, trucks and crossovers last month, a 19% gain, compared to 206,621 for GM, which was up 11%.

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But GM still had some numbers to crow about.  For the full first quarter, its sales totaled 592,545, compared to 496,720 for Ford.

Meanwhile, GM officials stressed that their retail business grew by 17% in March – and 38% for the entire quarter — a key measure for industry watchers, as sales to individual motorists tend to yield higher profits than fleet business, especially daily rental companies.

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With Stock At 6-Year High, Ford Aims To Maintain Momentum

Maker’s market performance could help rival GM’s IPO.

by on Nov.08, 2010

Ford CEO Alan Mulally unveils the Focus ST at last month's Paris Motor Show.

Its stock price at a 6-year high, Ford Motor Co. hopes to maintain its momentum – and how it fares in the days and weeks ahead could have an impact on rival General Motors’ own return to public trading.

Ford shares will open at $16.21 today, having risen by 2.2% on Friday, to the highest level since June 2004 – and more than double the stock’s price a year ago.  As recently as November 19, 2008, Ford shares had plunged to just $1.26, investors and analysts alike wondering about the viability of Detroit’s Big Three automakers.

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After years of decline, however, the domestic manufacturers are showing unexpected life, Ford leading the revival.

Just last month, Ford posted its best third-quarter profit in two decades, with earnings of $1.69 billion for the July-September quarter, or 43 cents per share.  Barely a week later, the maker announced a 19.3% increase in October sales, even as rival Toyota posted a 4% decline.  The industry, overall, posted a 13.4% gain for the month.

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Ford Salaried Workers In Line For Bonuses

Maker promises to share the spoils.

by on Mar.30, 2010

Ford is taking steps to reduce debt -- and reward its loyal workforce.

After a three-year wait, more than 20,000 salaried Ford workers are in line to collect bonus pay again – along with a return of merit pay increases.

Though Ford officials caution the maker must hit a number of targets before the money lands in the hands of its employees, even the prospect of bonuses comes as good news for a company that has faced some serious economic challenges in recent years.  But it also underscores the apparent success Ford is having, even as its crosstown rivals struggle after last year’s bankruptcies.

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The exact size of the payout is unclear, and will likely vary from worker to worker.  In 2007, bonuses ran as high as $15,000.

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Ford Ratings Get a Boost

Partially closes a competitive disadvantage.

by on Mar.19, 2010

Ford is still saddled with more debt than its domestic rivals, but a better debt rating helps offset this competitive disadvantage.

Ford Motor Co. comeback drive got another boost this week when Moody Investor Services bumped up the rating on Ford’s outstanding debts. The rating change should reduce Ford’s borrowing costs – a critical matter since while the automaker was able to avoid bankruptcy, last year, it now carries significantly more debt than Chrysler and General Motors, which both used Chapter 11 to wipe out most of their own liabilities.

Ford had no official comment on the upgrade but senior executives, such as chief financial officer Lewis Booth, have been quietly lobbying for the move, which offsets one of the last remaining competitive disadvantages facing Ford.

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Moody’s raised Ford Motor’s senior unsecured debt rating by one notch to B3, which is still six notches into junk status. It also raised the corporate family rating and probability of default rating by a notch to B2, which actually means Ford is less likely to default on its securities, and secured credit facility by a notch to Ba2, placing it two notches into junk.

“Ford clearly has a much more robust and competitive business model that is capable of supporting significant improvement in performance over time,” said Moody’s senior vice president Bruce Clark.

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Skipping Bailout May Yield Big Payoff for Ford

New poll shows 46% of Americans more likely to turn to Ford.

by on Jul.27, 2009

Is the 2010 Ford Taurus SHO "the ultimate performance sleeper sedan?"

Ford's decision to skip a federal bailout is making Americans far more likely to consider buying products like this 2010 Taurus SHO.

It seemed, to many, like a big risk when Ford Motor Co. decided not to pursue a federal bailout, late last year, but in hindsight, it could have been one of the smartest moves the automaker has ever made.

Not only was Ford able to avoid bankruptcy – and the possibility of coming under government domination, like Chrysler and General Motors – but its decision has struck a responsive chord with American consumer.

The favorite in the polls!

The favorite in the polls!

A new survey of American consumers finds 46% now saying they’re more likely to buy a car from the automaker than before because it didn’t take cash from the Treasury.  The national telephone survey, by Rasmussen Reports, also reveals that nearly one in five Americans – or a friend or family member – decided not to go for a GM or Chrysler product because those two makers have accepted a bailout.

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