Ford Motor (F) reported that sales surged 24.6% last month, as it took advantage of a revived product lineup and consumer concerns about the recall of its closest competitor, Toyota Motor Corp. (TM). In January, Ford says it sold 116,406 vehicles, up from 93,506 a year ago, with passenger cars accounting for the bulk of the sales increase.Ford, the first major automaker to announce sales figures each month, estimated its U.S. market share in January rose about 2 percentage points, to 16%, compared to a year ago. Last year, Ford posted its first full-year U.S. market share increase since 1995.
Ford's increasing market share likely came at the expense of Toyota, mired in two massive recalls involving as many as 8 million cars for problems with unintended acceleration. The Tokyo-based company will report January sales on Tuesday and is expected to show that sales were affected by management's decision to halt sales of Camry, Corolla, and six other popular models until a fix for "sticky" accelerators could be readied. Toyota said Monday that it's sending parts to dealers this week to fix the problem.
Lately, Ford has had a knack for doing things right, and Toyota for doing them wrong. Ford said resale value among its Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands rose more than $1,300 a vehicle in the last year, closing the gap on Japanese rivals, which also include Honda Motor (HMC) and Nissan Motors.
Sales of fleet vehicles doubled in January, Ford said, as fleet owners gave Ford vehicles "more consideration" because of its improving resale values. Shares of Ford were up about 3% following the announcement.
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