Ford Extends U.S. Sales Projection by 500,000 Units image

Ford has increased its U.S. auto sales projection for 2012 by 500,000, as the industry rebounds faster than anticipated.

The U.S. sales projection for this year has been increased from 14.5 million to 15.0 million units, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks, due to the fact that first-quarter sales, pacing at a 14.9 million annualized sales rate, are rebounding “a bit sooner than we planned.”

The company will add extra shifts at several plants to deal with the new vehicles such as the redesigned Escape in Louisville, the new Transit commercial van in Kansas City, Interceptor police vehicles in Chicago and the Focus in Michigan.

But until the additional capacity comes online, “production outlook will be lower than demand for our products,” Fields said. “By the fourth quarter we will be able to support a larger market in the mid-16 million (sales) range,” he said.

Although net pricing in North America will be positive, it will still be under the one last year when inventory was low in the wake of natural disasters in Japan and Thailand that crippled production for months and hurt sales for Japanese automakers. By 2020 the company expects 10%-25% of global sales will be some form of electrified vehicle.