Breaking And Falling! Ford December Sales Down 13%

FoMoCo starts off what we've heard will be one helluva lot of red ink on the sales side for 2006's farewell month. The boys n' girls in the glass house in Dearborn saw a sales decline of 13% for the month on year-to-year numbers of 233,621. That means full year sales hit a mere 2.9 million, down 8% from 2005's employee discounted numbers. The big killer's got to be the truck and SUV sales, with trucks sliding 14% and Explorer sales down 29.5% — but those numbers aren't helped by the cut n' run of the Taurus which saw a loss of 14,500 units that just aren't yet being fully replaced by the positive upswings in the Fusion threesome and the 22% jump in Crown Vic sales. Not to mention the Freestar minivan, which also saw a drop in line with the cut n' run from the segment. And seriously, don't even get me started on the But — George Pipas, FoMoCo's US Sales main man claims the company's actually beating internal goals for monthly sales. All I've got to say is wow, how low must that bar have been in comparison to last month's disappointment? Full release after the jump.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY REPORTS DECEMBER AND FULL YEAR 2006 U.S. SALES; FULL YEAR CAR SALES ARE HIGHER FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW


* Ford's December sales totaled 233,621, down 13 percent compared with a year ago.
* Full year sales totaled 2.9 million, down 8 percent.
* Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ lift full year car sales 5 percent - first back-to-back increase since 1993-1994.
* Full year truck sales decline 14 percent.
* All-new Expedition and Navigator (up 12 percent each) close 2006 with higher sales each month in the fourth quarter.
* Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers debut in December.
* Land Rover sets full year sales record.
* Ford end of year inventories totaled 590,000 units - 143,000 less than a year ago. Less than 10 percent are 2006 models.

DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 3 - Ford Motor Company's dealers delivered 233,621 new vehicles to U.S. customers in December, down 13 percent compared with a year ago. Lower F-Series sales (down 21 percent compared with last December's near-record month) and lower sales for the discontinued Taurus and Freestar minivan more than accounted for the decline.

Full year sales totaled 2.9 million, down 8 percent compared with full year 2005. Car sales were 5 percent higher than a year ago. It was the second year in a row of higher car sales and the first back-to-back increase since 1993-1994. Ford's new mid-size sedans were the major factors behind the increase as combined sales for the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ totaled 211,469. Awareness and demand for these award winning products continues to grow. In December, Fusion sales were up 67 percent, Milan sales were up 36 percent, and MKZ sales were up 78 percent. MKZ sales of 3,795 were the highest for any month.

Full year truck sales were down 14 percent as higher gasoline prices and long-term demographic trends drove SUV sales lower and a soft housing industry weighed on full-size truck sales. Ford believes these factors will continue to weigh on these segments in 2007. New products should help mitigate these factors. The company's new full-size SUVs, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, closed 2006 by posting higher sales each month in the fourth quarter. The company will soon introduce a new Super Duty F-Series pickup truck. This model accounts for about 40 percent of total F-Series sales.

Conversely, passenger car sales and crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) should continue to benefit from demographic trends (notably the aging of the baby boomer generation) and higher gasoline prices. In December, the company expanded its CUV line with the introduction of the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. In addition, the company will introduce a redesigned Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner early this year. Escape has been the best-selling CUV since it was introduced in late 2000.

Land Rover was the company's only brand to post higher sales in 2006. Land Rover's full year sales totaled 47,774 - a new calendar year sales record. Although Lincoln's overall sales were down 2 percent, sales to individual retail customers rose 4 percent.

U.S. Inventories Lower

At the end of December, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury inventories were es timated at 590,000 units. This level is 143,000 units lower than a year ago. The company es timates less than 10 percent of the total inventory is 2006 models.

Related:
Breaking Records! Toyota Likes To Be On Top Of Ford, Sales Up A Super Best-Ever 15.9%; Breaking! Ford Announces The Sharp Sting Of November's Unrealistic Expectations, Sales Down 10% [internal]