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A Little Slowdown Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing, Suggests Ford’s Hinrichs

Americas chief says it helps keep capacity and demand in line – and maintains discipline.

by on Oct.16, 2013

Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said the recent slowdown in sales may have been a good thing for automakers.

Whether you call it a statistical fluke or not, September saw U.S. car sales slow down a bit, and there are some signs that October could come in weak, as well, as a result of the government shutdown and deficit battle.  But at least one senior industry executive isn’t entirely upset.

The unexpectedly strong pace of the U.S. auto industry’s growth during the first eight months of the year threatened to stretch capacity to the limits, says Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co.’s President of the Americas. Worse, it could encourage “certain behaviors” that nearly drove Ford into bankruptcy much like cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler.

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In a wide-ranging interview with TheDetroitBureau.com, Hinrichs acknowledges that “Our competitors and we all thought September would be stronger than it was,” car sales declining 4.2% for the month, the first time volume had dipped on a year-over-year basis in 27 months. (more…)