Ford Motor Co. reported big sales gains Wednesday in Europe, where the new Ford Fiesta subcompact helped the Dearborn automaker increase its market share for the seventh consecutive month.

Ford sold 125,200 cars and trucks in its 19 main European markets in July — a 5 percent increase over the same period in 2008 and Ford’s second monthly year-over-year gain in a row. The company’s share of the European market increased by more than half a percent, to 9 percent.

“We are encouraged to see Ford at a 10-year-high market share for July and, as a result of this, firmly established as Europe’s second best-selling new vehicle brand in Europe,” said Ingvar Sviggum, head of sales, marketing and service for Ford of Europe. “We’re also pleased to have increased sales volume for the second consecutive month, while the industry is still declining.”

Year-to-date industry sales are down 12.2 percent in Europe, though Ford’s sales have dropped 7.3 percent since the end of December.

“Despite the positive impact of various national vehicle scrappage schemes, the overall trend is still negative and the underlying market weak,” Sviggum said. “We strongly believe that these incentive schemes should continue for as long as practically possible, and then be phased out in an orderly manner to avoid any dramatic reduction in market demand that could damage the still fragile improvement we have seen in recent months.”

He attributed much of Ford’s success to new vehicles such as the Fiesta, which has become the best-selling car in Europe. It is due to hit American showrooms by the end of the year.

Ford’s U.S. sales also were up in July — the first time this year — and the company also reported big gains in Canada.

On Tuesday, Ford’s joint venture with China’s Changan Motors reported a 54 percent monthly sales increase of Ford brand products in that country.

“The increasing popularity of Ford brand products is driving strong demand among Chinese consumers,” said Nigel Harris, general manager of Changan Ford. However, Ford still lags other automakers, such as Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co.
Source: Detroit News via Gasgoo


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