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Ford Is February Sales Champion, GM and Toyota Left In Dust

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Grille - 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 4-door Sedan Hybrid FWD

Grille - 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 4-door Sedan Hybrid FWD

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Well, here's one recipe for success in the U.S. auto business: Introduce a rapid-fire sequence of new and thoroughly revised vehicles with best-in-class fuel efficiency, then quickly roll out a widely-acclaimed voice-activated infotainment system across all your lines.

Oh, yeah, and ... don't take government bailout money.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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2010 Lincoln MKS with EcoBoost

2010 Lincoln MKS with EcoBoost

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ford ecoboost range 040

ford ecoboost range 040

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2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta

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2012 Ford Focus, at 2010 Detroit Auto Show

2012 Ford Focus, at 2010 Detroit Auto Show

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Ford sales up 43 percent

Which is a long way of saying that Ford's February sales put the Dearborn automaker solidly in first place among automakers, squeaking past General Motors by 471 units and solidly trouncing the beleaguered Toyota.

Ford's U.S. sales rose 43 percent against this month last year, while GM's rose just 12 percent and Toyota's fell 9 percent, due in part to several models having been pulled off sale until they could be fixed to resolve accelerator design problems that led to a massive recall.

The nature of Ford's achievement is illustrated by the last time its monthly sales beat GM, in July 1998--when GM production had been shut down by a United Auto Workers strike.

It's all about product

Ford [NYSE:F] is riding a resurgence of well-reviewed products, including its 2010 Fusion and Fusion Hybrid midsize sedans.

Ford is swiftly launching more fuel efficient and smaller engines--with direct injection and turbocharging--under the EcoBoost label, fitting them first to the 2010 Lincoln MKS sedan and MKT crossover and to the Ford Flex crossover and Taurus SHO performance sedan.

Its revamped 2011 Edge crossover will offer a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four, and it has already shown its subcompact 2011 Fiesta and compact 2012 Focus--both offered as four-door sedans and five-door hatchbacks--to great acclaim.

No government dollars

Then there's the fact that unlike GM and Chrysler, Ford did not go through bankruptcy and receive billions of dollars of government loans to enable it to survive and restructure.

Instead, in 2006, then-new CEO Alan Mulally took out "the world's largest home equity loan"--$23 billion--to pay for a total overhaul of the company's product lines and technology. The results of that investment are now showing up in showrooms. And they're paying off.

Place your bets now...

GM has been first in U.S. annual sales for 78 consecutive years, though it lost its global sales crown to Toyota in 2008.

But after bankruptcy, shedding four brands, and several management shakeups, it sells only slightly more than half the units it did three years ago. Whether its sales slump will be permanent or it can fight its way back to dominance seems a very open question, this month.

Can Ford keep up the pace? Could it even beat GM for the year? We're placing our bets here at High Gear Media office pool for year-end sales results.

But tell us what you think in the Comments, below.

[Automotive News (subscription required)]

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Comments (18)
  1. One thing I know for sure: I will NEVER buy a GM again as long as I live. Why? The bailout, the deals made with UAW at taxpayer and investors' expense and the forced closures (confiscations) of dealerships that were operating at a profit...screw Government Motors!

  2. I will not buy from a company that is bailed out either... therefore I can not buy Toyota since they received 3 billion in aid from Japan. And they are unionized in japan..

  3. I also agree, Toyota has managed to brain wash many Americans and Canadians by building a few vehicles here and even though the cost to build a Toyota is only 6% of the cost of a vehicle they make us believe they are American and good for us. Lies, then there is GM and Chrysler who set up the bankruptcy so they could screw the UAW and the north American taxpayer. Ford has turned their company upside down and inside out to rethink every aspect of the business and is the winner. GO FORD

  4. I have two Fords, a Mustang 2008, and an Explorer Sport Trac, 2001. I`ve never spent a penny on anything other than routine maintenance. Ford makes great cars, with style and class, that are extremely dependable. It`s no surprise that they are doing so well. I`m plannig to give the Sport Trac to my son in college and get a new Fusion.I wouldn`t even consider another car company.

  5. I guess the old addage "win on sunday...Sell on Monday" Just went out the window with Chevrolet winning ALL the races and Ford Selling all the cars...hmmmm

  6. My heart says Ford, but with the power and money of the taxpayers behind GM, I think they will win the sales race. It is fun to see them scramble their management ranks almost at a daily rate.

  7. The article has valid points about why Ford is doing better and GM not so much. I'm happy to see the American buyer acting on the product GM puts out. Even the much hyped new Cadillac's are faced with reliability issues. GM does not deserve the level of sales they have even now. Loyalty to GM vehicles gets you repeated visits to dealer for repairs. Your in luck if they even have the parts! "Let's roll" away from GM America.

  8. We have an 03 Escape,wife loves it,I had a 04 F150,best trk I ever had(had GM,Dodge,Chevy)never a lick of problem with it other than fuel mileage,which led to my buying an HHR for the 27 MPG during the gas crisis,(drive 70 per day to work),now I,m simply waiting to get another F150 and wouldn,t consider GM,Dodge or TOYTOTO(LOL),soooo,2011 I,ll have another F150.Ford was way ahead in planning,case in point "cutting back weak dealers"years ago,and Oh Yeah,NO "OBAMA MONEY",there trying to revive us the old fashion way.Thanks FORD

  9. Way to go Ford You know your "1 be "1. Good luck GM your only win is in nascar, but watch out Ford is coming.

  10. There's no reason Ford can't beat GM. If not this year, then next. The recent sales surge at Ford works in their favor in another way too. These new owners will now see, feel and experience first hand the quality that is in play over at Ford rather than rely on false perceptions that have too long plagued the auto industry. Word of mouth will then play a role as happy satisfied customer tells friends and associates and begins a snowball effect. One that is richly deserved.

  11. OK, I'm going to be the contrarian here...I'm thrilled to see Ford doing so well. Mullaly's done a great job with the company. As a life long Detroiter, however, I think saving GM and Chrysler was the right thing to do. I think GM will pull itself up and out of its current mess, but I'm not so sure about Chrysler. Once I get back to work, one of my first purchases will be a GM SUV...

  12. I think it is good for Ford to be where they are, But I would not buy one. I am a GM fan to the end. All the haters that oppose the bailout, are probably working are have a job. I am retired but I care for my fellow man , Never kick anyone when their down, might come back to haunt you.

  13. I'm sorry Francisco but this "can't fail" attitude has got to stop. I don't believe in kicking anyone while they are down but our debt is way too high & this madness needs to end. Hey I'm underemployed, but I blame my failures on me, nobody else should be on the hook for my screw ups, so why are the tax payers on the hook for gm and crysler? If they ran their company better they might be in Ford's shoes.

  14. I own a 1966 427 Cobra, a 2009 MKS ,a 2001 F350 crew cab, 1935 Ford Sedan Delivery. What can I say Best built cars and trucks. My boat has the only GM products I own twin 496 ho mags. Tht is because Ford pulled out of the marine business , Ford is the best build and longest runing cars and trucks........

  15. I have been telling my friends for years (mostly Chevy guys) that Ford is the best domestic vehicle you can buy. Looks like I am right and they were wrong. I currently own a 08 Mustang GT/CS, 05 F250 & 03 Ranger. Never any major problem with any of them other than normal maintenance. The only hang up I have with ford is the UAW. Soon every one will see that labor unions muck up everything.

  16. Having fun bashing GM? Just wait and see.

  17. I do not see where GM can come out of this the government has there fingers to deep in the Company. And when was the last time you seen the government run something right?

  18. The first car I ever bought was a Ford Focus, it lost half its value a year later when I went to sell it, in the meantime I had spent over three grand fixing transmission problems, blown alternator, broken strut mounts and faulty fuel pumps. I don't care how "good" thier cars are now or how many they sell, they'll never get my coin ever again!

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