While we're waiting for the other brake shoe to drop at Chrysler, we're happy to report that Ford's picture seems far more rosy. The company's sales analysis and reporting manager, George Pipas, has said that Ford expects to see a slight improvement in sales during the second quarter of 2009. That may sound like a dim ray of hope, but hey, it's all we've got. Don't ruin it.
The cause of Pipas' qualified enthusiasm: Obama's stimulus plan (mostly). Thanks to its immediate lowering of withholding taxes, the plan has already put a little more cash into workers' pay (we checked!), and of course, it's given banks the ability to grant more credit to borrowers who, say, need a new car. If one of the "Cash for Clunkers" bills floating around capitol hill makes it through, the outlook for Ford--and the auto industry in general--could improve more.
Even better (for Ford): the company has gained market share over the course of April, and one of its models--the Ford Focus--will have seen its second-best sales month on record. However, Ford isn't ready to break out the bubbly just yet: the company is keeping production at current levels until things really do improve.
[source: AutoNews, sub req'd]