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The Spaminator
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Ford heaviest in fleet sales in U.S.
By Andrew Ganz
Jan 27th, 2012
LLN

Finding a buyer of any sort is generally a success story for an automaker, but a new report reveals that Ford leads the industry in sales to less-lucrative rental and commercial fleets.


Nearly a third of the more than 2 million cars Ford sold in the United States last year went to fleet buyers, Forbes reports. By contrast, General Motors delivered less than a quarter of its new cars to fleets last year.

Ford’s fleet darling is its Focus compact (pictured), a model that sees 45 percent of its production wind up in fleet inventories despite being recently redesigned. Focus has struggled in the retail market, where a combination of a rough production start caused by parts shortages and its premium pricing have left dealers with nearly 90 days’ inventory supply. Automakers generally consider 45 to 60 days of supply to be “healthy” for a compact car.

Ford posted a modest market share gain last year, but Forbes says that figure was inflated by fleet sales. When figures for only the retail market are included, Ford saw a 0.2 percent share decline despite an opportune market caused by production shortages that hit Toyota and Honda after last March’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

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I'm shoked by this article. I know that the Focus is a failure in USA, i dont know why, but the true is that. But 45% sold to fleets? That is horrible! What happen with this car in USA? The Focus is a good car, why americans dont want it?
 

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The perception of the Focus tanked because Europe introduced the 2nd gen complete with convertible and all the good stuff ( High performance models etc) and we (USA) had to make do with the crappy 1st gen model tarted up to carry through until now.
 

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The perception of the Focus tanked because Europe introduced the 2nd gen complete with convertible and all the good stuff ( High performance models etc) and we (USA) had to make do with the crappy 1st gen model tarted up to carry through until now.
ok... but the new generatin Focus is selling slowly than the old model.... that is crazy!
 

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Mercury C557
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imho (& that's all it is)
the Focus's "ST-like face" is too sporty - perfect for the Titanium & maybe SE+SportPkg
but the Focus Electric look (which matches the new Fusion better!!!) would be more popular with "avg consumers"
&
it won't surprise me if at-or-before the MCE they change to 2 distinct frontends, maybe using the actually ST face for the sport models and an Electric-ish one for others.



The perception of the Focus tanked because Europe introduced the 2nd gen complete with convertible and all the good stuff ( High performance models etc) and we (USA) had to make do with the crappy 1st gen model tarted up to carry through until now.
yeah
also there were inventory restrictions (at one time) due to part shortages (iirc dash)
and us weblings have heard there are/were problems with (some) DCT trannies
but
for most buyers, I still go with styling.
The last gen really hit a homerun with it's last MCE** ... I know I always thought the C170 was very awkward looking UNTIL that MCE (esp the sedan) - THEN I started ranting for Fomoco to immediately bring out a Mercury version (I have no higher praise!)

**even tho they cut versions!!!!
no wagon, no hatches


edit/oops
there's also some pricing reasons - not just that the new Focus is more than the old
BUT
(& noticed this with the new Escape too)
an SE with Very few options will cost darn close to a Titanium without any options
even tho the Titanium will have a bunch of extra features std
so
*I* feel like I'm being 'pushed' to go up-market
OR
being discouraged from getting an affordable one?

Maybe Ford could re-package things to make a lower priced one "easier" to buy?
 

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My inclination is that a large percentage of this 45% would be the previous 2011 Focus. Without the actual details of which Focus this is, that is my assumption.
Unless Ford is talking absolute BS regarding managing inventory to match demand, and also to keep residuals high on new models going forward, this article smells of "pot shots" at Ford which comes out the same day Ford announces their profit news.

I read somewhere that this 45% number was up to September 2011. The 2012 Focus was not seeing dealers lots until sometime in April, with low production numbers up until August thru October. I just cannot fathom how Ford could take almost half of the new Focus production and move in thru fleet outlets, it just does not make sense.
 

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I'm shoked by this article. I know that the Focus is a failure in USA, i dont know why, but the true is that. But 45% sold to fleets? That is horrible! What happen with this car in USA? The Focus is a good car, why americans dont want it?
Part of the low (non-fleet) sales I think is because of the high sticker price in the USA (read that in an article before), specially when people add options since the new Focus is offered with a lot of options.
I guess its a bad habit of people to tick all the boxes when they see a lot of options offered, then get shocked at how expensive it is.
 

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Editor
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I've said this for about a year now...Ford has a pricing problem. I understand their products are very good, but they are not going to see volumes like Toyota, Hyundai and Chevrolet when they have themselves priced above them. The problem today is that EVERYONE has good products...it comes down to price for many people. Ford, I guess, needs to decided if higher prices and lower volumes is what they want.
 

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Mercury C557
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My inclination is that a large percentage of this 45% would be the previous 2011 Focus. Without the actual details of which Focus this is, that is my assumption.
Unless Ford is talking absolute BS regarding managing inventory to match demand, and also to keep residuals high on new models going forward, this article smells of "pot shots" at Ford which comes out the same day Ford announces their profit news.

I read somewhere that this 45% number was up to September 2011. The 2012 Focus was not seeing dealers lots until sometime in April, with low production numbers up until August thru October. I just cannot fathom how Ford could take almost half of the new Focus production and move in thru fleet outlets, it just does not make sense.
I've been reading threads on this article elsewhere and 2 other viewpoints seem important to me

1. some well-informed people are saying the numbers in the article simply cannot be correct - that the total sales number is way too high
so ALL of it becomes suspect

2. from what a dealer said,
the Focus sales' trend is in-keeping with other car models: cars soft, trucks gangbusters
however imho this can be interpreted as the Focus not being able to buck the (temporary) trend
which imho has to do with the Focus's strengths being either a bit off-target or at least a bit too subtly different for uneducated/average buyers to pick up on. Paraphrase: it's not hitting them in the face with "Gotta have it"
so
I still feel OK with my 2 main touchpoints
- styling too sporty
- packages/trims geared for high-rollers

Maybe what I read about changing SEL trims to "SE+LuxuryPkg" could create a perception-sweetspot keeping (just) under $20k - which imho is lacking & needed
(ALSO, maybe adding some more paint colors to ^that configuration...maybe a special AppearancePkg interior colorway too!)
I'm on my way to our local dealer-sponsored autoshow - hope to have new insights when I get back and maybe go thru the OrderGuide & see if I can reco a new feature set for what I'm thinking
 

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I've said this for about a year now...Ford has a pricing problem. I understand their products are very good, but they are not going to see volumes like Toyota, Hyundai and Chevrolet when they have themselves priced above them. The problem today is that EVERYONE has good products...it comes down to price for many people. Ford, I guess, needs to decided if higher prices and lower volumes is what they want.
You hit the nail on the head. They are the slowest to put money on the hood even when products are not selling all that well. I dont think Ford cares about volume to be honest but they need to be careful. I am at the point that I look around a lot more at the competition when I would rather buy a Ford product. Loyalty only goes so far.
 

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You hit the nail on the head. They are the slowest to put money on the hood even when products are not selling all that well. I dont think Ford cares about volume to be honest but they need to be careful. I am at the point that I look around a lot more at the competition when I would rather buy a Ford product. Loyalty only goes so far.
Yeah. I understand being more concerned about the bottom line than volume, but Ford is still a manufacturing company. At some point volumes hit a low enough point that margins shrink regardless of the high MSRP.
 
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