Ford Focus Up 88 Percent Despite Ford Being Down 12 Percent

Although we've yet to meet a person who thinks the 2008 Ford Focus is a visual or dynamic improvement over last year's model, it continues to astonish us by selling insanely well. For the month of April, retail Focus sales were up 88 percent over last year and at their highest point since April of 2000. We don't know whether to credit rising fuel prices, the popularity of SYNC, or some serious money going into bribing the people who publish these numbers, but no matter what the news is surprising.

It's also causing me personally to worry--Ford has confirmed that the next U.S. Focus will finally be based off the global C1 platform, but if sales like this continue, the Focus product cycle might be stretched to lengths matched only by the Crown Victoria and Econoline van.


PRESS RELEASE

DEARBORN, Mich., May 1, 2008 - Ford's new Focus continues to defy gravity -- and the U.S. economy -- with a 88 percent jump in retail sales versus last April and the highest total Focus April sales since 2000.

"Focus is the right car at the right time," said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Marketing and Communications. "This is the little car that delivers in a big way for customers, with outstanding fuel economy, cool features including SYNC, a fun drive and the right price, right along with the rest of our newest cars and crossovers."

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars achieved a 21 percent increase in retail sales. While Focus was the standout, the company's mid-size cars also posted higher retail sales. Ford Fusion retail sales were up 31 percent, Mercury Milan retail sales were up 19 percent and Lincoln MKZ retail sales were up 20 percent. The Fusion and Milan set April sales records with total sales of 15,059 for the Fusion and 3,809 for the Milan.

Retail sales for the company's crossovers were 11 percent higher than a year ago, paced by the Ford Edge (up 24 percent) and Ford Escape (up 13 percent). Retail sales for the Mercury Mariner were up 6 percent and Lincoln MKX retail sales were up 4 percent.

Higher gas prices are accelerating the industry-wide shift from trucks and traditional sport utility vehicles to cars and crossovers. At Ford, April sales for sport utility vehicles were 36 percent lower than a year ago and trucks were 19 percent lower.

Lower sales to daily rental companies (down 32 percent) also contributed to the company's sales decline. Overall, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales totaled 189,247, down 12 percent compared with a year ago. Retail sales to individual customers were down 7 percent.

Total Ford Motor Company sales, including Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo, totaled 200,727, down 12 percent.