07-03-2009, 08:34 AM
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Ford sales rise 24% in Canada to top GM
TORONTO (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. was the No. 1 selling automaker in Canada in June as it posted a 23.8 percent jump in sales over the same month a year earlier.
Ford of Canada sold 28,274 light vehicles, including its Swedish Volvo brand, marking its first year-over-year increase of 2009.
Ford also took the No. 1 spot in Canada in February, including Volvo sales. Today, the automaker said its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands combined to lead Canadian sales for the first time in 50 years.
Through May, Ford had a 14.2 percent second-place Canadian market share, and General Motors had a market-leading 19.2 percent. In June, GM's sales fell 30.9 percent to 22,298.
Ford's car sales dipped 3.2 percent last month to 7,205 units, while truck sales jumped 36.9 percent to 21,069.
Last month's final numbers for the overall industry were not in yet, as automakers report Canadian sales results throughout the day. But a Ford Canada executive said he expected an industry-wide decline of about 14 percent.
David Mondragon, Ford Canada's CEO, told Reuters that while the overall market appears to have bottomed, there will likely be some difficult months ahead before sales really begin to recover in the fourth quarter.
"We are not waving a flag of victory by any means," he said. "This was a good month and we're going to celebrate the month, but we're going to continue to focus on our plan to grow our share of the market as the year goes on."
General Motors entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection June 1 and both it and Chrysler Group, also in bankruptcy protection in the United States, had many plants closed during the month to help cut back on inventory levels.
Mondragon said that while Ford Canada expects industrywide vehicle sales to be down by 14 percent to 18 percent throughout the third quarter, the company is already beginning to ramp up production.
"We've added 16 percent of year-over-year production increase in the third quarter to help us meet higher levels of demand and forecast higher levels of demand as we go into the later part of the third and into the fourth quarter," he said.