Ford sales fell 2.2% in Nov. cars off 12%


DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. vehicle sales fell 2.2 percent in November, slightly better than analysts expected.

Car sales slid 12 percent, wiping out the company's 5.7 percent gain in sales of pickups, minivans and sport utility vehicles.

November is traditionally a lackluster month for auto sales because of bad weather and holiday-focused shoppers, but this year was worse than last. U.S. car and truck sales slipped 1.6 percent, compared with November 1995.

Ford is cutting prices with big rebates to try to maintain its sales momentum, offering incentives across a broad range of its cars and giving employees leases on the Taurus to help keep it the best-selling car in the U.S. market.

The Taurus and Lincoln Town Car were Ford's only cars with improved November sales. The Taurus' sister car, the Mercury Sable, was down 20 percent.

Consumers have been trading in their cars for trucks, minivans and sport utility vehicles. Those "light trucks" accounted for 60 percent of Ford's sales last month.

"We usually sell two trucks for every one car, but last month, it was more like three-to-one," said Mike Rogers, sales manager at Mike Kehoe Ford Inc. in Jefferson City, Mo.

Ford's new Expedition full-size sport utility vehicle appears to be cannibalizing sales of the smaller Explorer, which reported a 5 percent decline in November. Ford sold 115,168 cars and 175,606 pickups, minivans and sport utility vehicles.

Ford's stock fell 50 cents to $32.875 yesterday.

On Monday, Chrysler Corp. reported a 1.4 percent increase over November last year. On Tuesday, General Motors Corp. said its sales fell 12 percent.

Pub Date: 12/05/96

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