So much for ringing in the New Year. After finishing 2004 on a positive note, Ford
In a new twist, it was actually Ford's truck sales pulling overall sales lower. Compared to a year ago, truck sales were off nearly 17%. After months of carrying the bulk of the load, the F-Series finally ran out of gas, posting a decline of 20% from last year. The Explorer -- once the company's most popular SUV -- apparently got lost. Its sales decreased (that's not really a strong enough word) 41% from a year ago.
Car sales performed much better, but still fell by 3%. The new Mustang continues to be one of the few bright spots for Ford, cruising to a 33% rise in retail sales over the old model. Fewer fleet sales, however, brought that number down to a 4% gain from last year. The new 500 and Freestyle were the only other bright spots for the Ford brand, although with 5,401 units sold (barely a third of the bland Taurus), the 500 is hardly breaking records.
With a plethora of vehicles in its lineup, Ford will likely continue to see results that cover a broad spectrum. Overall, I expect Ford to recover from its slow start and put up some decent year-over-year comparisons (after all, 2004 had some pretty weak months). However, I wouldn't expect it to be a big improvement, since stiff competition from the likes of General Motors
For more on Ford's struggle in the marketplace, read Ford Manages a Gain.
Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo doesn't own any of the companies in this article, but he does welcome feedback.