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posted: 1/2/2013 6:30 AM

Ford brand tops 2 million sales in U.S. for second straight year

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  • Ford Motor Co.'s namesake brand will top 2 million vehicles in U.S. sales this year and its Focus compact car was the top-selling model line worldwide through September, the automaker said.

      Ford Motor Co.'s namesake brand will top 2 million vehicles in U.S. sales this year and its Focus compact car was the top-selling model line worldwide through September, the automaker said.
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Bloomberg News

Ford Motor Co.'s namesake brand will top 2 million vehicles in U.S. sales this year and its Focus compact car was the top-selling model line worldwide through September, the automaker said.

Ford will be the only auto brand to exceed the 2 million sales level in the U.S. this year, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said in a statement. Ford models are on track to reach 2.2 million U.S. sales up from 2.1 million last year, Erich Merkle, the company's sales analyst, said in an interview.

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Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally is trying to boost profits by selling the same models globally, rather than different versions for various regions. His One Ford strategy aims to leverage the second-largest U.S. automaker's economies of scale to improve profit margins. Ford earned $4.07 billion in the first nine months of 2012, down from $6.6 billion a year earlier as losses overseas dragged down profit.

"Over the last three years, we've been moving toward global vehicles," Merkle said yesterday. "And it's playing out very well here in the U.S., where the Focus will be up 40 percent this year, and in Asia, where Focus is one of the best- selling vehicles in the region."

Including its Lincoln luxury line, Ford will remain the second-best selling automaker in the U.S. for 2012, behind General Motors Co., Merkle said. While Toyota Motor Corp. has narrowed the gap with Ford this year, the Toyota City, Japan- based automaker trailed Ford by 141,746 cars and light trucks through November, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

In addition to the Focus, Ford said its F-series pickup line is the world's fourth-best selling nameplate and its Fiesta subcompact ranks fifth. Ford cited registration data gathered by auto researcher R.L. Polk & Co.

"Focus and Fiesta represent the best of our One Ford plan," Jim Farley, Ford's global sales and marketing chief, said in a statement. "In just three years, Ford has transformed our global small-car lineup."

Ford said no other auto brand has topped 2 million in sales in the U.S. since 2007, before the U.S. economy plunged into a recession.

"Before the recession, 2 million in sales was fairly common," Merkle said. "After the recession, of course, that all changed. We're the first one back to pre-recession levels."

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