The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Ford Focus Continues to Outpace Segment

August 03, 2008

DEARBORN, MI --- Ford's redesigned Focus continues to surprise auto industry watchers and customers alike with strong sales, revenue growth, fuel economy and innovative technology.

While Ford and industry sales experienced a double-digit decline in July, Ford Focus sales climbed 16 percent versus a year ago. Year-to-date, Focus sales were up 26 percent, compared with industry-wide small car growth of approximately 9 percent, Ford said.

The Focus has also surprised in areas other than sales:

** Transaction prices --- Year-to-date, Focus transaction prices have increased $750 per unit compared with a segment-average increase of $100. Customers are purchasing more equipment, including Ford SYNC, and higher series levels.

** Fuel Economy --- In an independent test conducted by called the Gas-Sipper Smackdown, Focus achieved 37.5 mpg on the highway. Focus has EPA highway fuel economy of 35 mpg -- better than the smaller 2008 Honda Fit and 2009 Nissan Versa SL.

** Cool Technology --- Focus was named one of Kelley Blue Book's "10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000," based on its safety, fuel economy, interior size, comfort, technology, fun-to-drive factor and the "decidedly subjective coolness factor."

"Focus continues to surprise and delight customers throughout the country, but the bombshell is in Texas, where Focus retail sales have almost doubled," said Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president for marketing and communications. "If we can increase small car sales in Texas, we can increase them anywhere." Year-to-date, Focus retail sales were up 91 percent in Texas and 46 percent nationwide.

Total Ford, Lincoln and Mercury car sales were up 8 percent compared with a year ago. Consistent with industry trends, crossover vehicles -- which include Ford Escape, Edge and Flex -- were down 8 percent. Sport utility vehicles -- such as Ford Explorer and Expedition -- were down 54 percent, and trucks and vans -- including Ford F-Series and Econoline -- were down 18 percent.

Overall, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicle sales totaled 156,406 in July, down 13 percent versus a year ago; year-to-date sales totaled 1.265 million, also down 14 percent. Ford estimates industry-wide sales were down 11 percent year-to-date.

"We expect the second half of 2008 will be more challenging than the first half as economic and credit conditions weaken," said Farley.

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