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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is off to a slow start following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, trading 0.2% lower in early afternoon trading. During the highly anticipated "Black Friday" shopping consumers spent an estimated $407 over the holiday weekend on average, which was lower than last year's mark of $423. Investors expected the slight weakness as promotions and discounts played a larger role this year. With the weekend spending behind us, here are some other companies making headlines today.
Outside of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Ford (NYSE:F) has initiated another round of recalls for its highly popular Escape SUV. That brings the 2013 Escape's total number of recalls to seven, and five of those involve fire risks on models with Ford's 1.6-liter engine.
"This is a voluntary recall that we have chosen to initiate because we believe it is the right thing to do. While we recognize the inconvenience recalls cause our customers, we believe they will appreciate these actions, which we are taking on their behalf to help ensure their safety." Ford said in an emailed statement, according to Automotive News.
While this is certainly not great news for Ford, and it's seemingly more of an issue than Tesla's recent Model S fires that garnered huge amounts of attention, it's just part of the automotive industry. Ford's recall wasn't even the largest in November as Chrysler unleashed two recalls combining for over a million RAM truck models for a left tie rod assembly which could break and cause a loss of steering. It's also less of a catastrophe than Toyota's recall of nearly 800,000 vehicles for a second time after its first effort to prevent a handling problem failed.
Still, as the Escape is on pace to be Ford's second best-selling vehicle this year, Ford needs to continue its efforts to improve quality and reduce recalls as it heads into 2014 gaining market share on competitors.
Also in the automotive industry, Ford's cross-town rival General Motors (NYSE:GM) reported a 14% sales decline in its India operations. General Motors sold only 6,214 units in November compared to 7,238 in the same month last year. Although General Motors expected this decline, Ford has seen an uptick in its India operations recently.
Ford's November numbers haven't been made public yet. However, it posted the company's best October in history with a 36% sales increase over last year. Ford sold nearly 15,000 combined domestic wholesales and export vehicles in the month – as India is transitioning to an important hub for Ford's exports to emerging markets.
Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.