It’s probably just synchronicity, but this year’s sales results have shown some surprising—and surprisingly depressing—trends for the Ford Motor Company … you know, the one U.S. automaker that successfully avoided bankruptcy proceedings in 2009. Despite that significant financial and reputational advantage, along with a number of well-received new products, Ford hasn’t been able to capitalize on market conditions to outgrow its cross-town rivals so far this year and, in fact, may soon be headed in the exact opposite direction.
At this stage, the Blue Oval trails both General Motors and the Chrysler Group by fairly large margins in terms of both September and year-to-date sales: Chrysler leads the way with a 27 percent improvement last month and a 23 percent jump year to date, and GM is firmly ensconced in second place, thanks to a September gain of 19.6 percent and a 16.1 percent upgrade in deliveries through the past month. Ford, on the other hand, notched a 9 percent September bump and is ahead of last year’s pace by 11.4 percent; but those raw numbers disguise the problematic situation in which Ford now finds itself.
At this rate, Ford may end up underperforming the industry—now up 10.4 percent on the year—before 2011 comes to a close.
So, what’s the problem here?