Ford to Boost Production to Meet 'Cash for Clunkers' Demand

The Escape and Focus are 'flying off dealer lots,' automaker says.

Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it was ramping up production by 18% in the third quarter to meet growing demand from the "Cash for Clunkers" trade-in incentives from the government.

Ford said in a statement it is increasing North American production by another 10,000 units to 495,000 units in the third quarter to build more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it plans to produce 570,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, a 33% increase versus year-ago levels and 15% above planned third-quarter levels.

"The increase represents higher production across a range of cars, crossovers and trucks," the company said.

Ford said it was working to boost production of the Escape small utility vehicle in Kansas City, Mo., and the Focus compact car in Wayne, Mich., through additional production shifts and increased overtime.

"Under the 'Cash for Clunkers' program, the Ford Escape and Focus are flying off dealer lots, and we're doing all we can to ensure our dealers are well-stocked with the fuel-efficient vehicles that customers really want," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas. "We also are planning a significant increase in fourth-quarter production compared with last year, continuing to match production to the real demand."

The "clunkers" plan offers owners of aging cars and trucks incentives of up to $4,500 toward a new, more-efficient vehicle, a plan meant to help boost the struggling auto industry while helping the environment.

The program, begun with $1 billion that was quickly snapped up by car-hungry consumers, has been extended with an additional $2 billion allocated by Congress.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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