Ford's U.S. Sales Drop 34% in September

Losing customers to credit crunch

Ford Motor Co. posted a sharp 34% drop in September U.S. sales. Ford has already suffered from a sharp drop in demand for its gasoline guzzling trucks and sport utility vehicles amid high fuel prices. Now dealers are reportedly losing customers unable to get loans because of a credit crunch.

"Consumers and businesses are in a very fragile place," said Jim Farley, Ford's vice president of marketing and communications. "An already weak economy compounded by very tight credit conditions has created an atmosphere of caution."

Ford's September sales fell to 116,734 vehicles in September from 176,204 a year ago. Year-to-date sales are down 17.3% at 1.5 million vehicles. Truck sales were down 39.5% for the month and 22.3% for the year to date while car sales were down 19% in September and 6.3% so far this year.

Farley said Ford now planned to launch its new F150 pickup truck in November rather than December because dealers have succeeded in selling off their stocks of 2008 model pickup trucks, he said. Ford is hoping to improve sales next month with the launch of the new F-150 pickup truck, which has been the nation's best selling truck for 31 years in a row. "The sell down of the current model F-150 is ahead of schedule, and the first shipments of the new F-150 will arrive soon at Ford dealers," said Farley.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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