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How Did Ford's Big Bet on Small Utility Vehicles Pay Off?
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November 14, 2013

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ford was doing well based solely on the success of its large SUVs and full-size pickups. The company's management just knew that the American consumers' appetite for the large SUV would never wane and profits would be endless. We all know how that ended, and it was extremely ugly. More than a decade later Ford -- as well as rivals General Motors and Chrysler -- has learned a hard lesson and is producing more valuable, smaller, and fuel-efficient vehicles to regain lost market share and reputation. Because consumers are more conscious of fuel economy, yet still have a remaining love for SUVs, Ford has bet big on smaller utility vehicles, and it's paying off big time.

"This was a major bet we made with the One Ford plan, and it is paying off," said Jim Farley, executive vice president, global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln in a press release. "Utilities are helping us grow our share in the North American market -- particularly in the traditionally difficult coastal markets -- and they're driving our expansion in developing markets, where utility growth is exploding."

Ford's utility vehicles are making big gains in California, a very important coastal market, with its market share increasing more than 15% in the first quarter -- that's almost six percentage points higher than pre-recession levels in 2006. Also, consider that the Escape is on pace this year to accomplish something only the F-Series has done for Ford in nine years: surpass 300,000 annual sales.

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How Did Ford's Big Bet on Small Utility Vehicles Pay Off?
[url]www.fool.com[/URL]
November 14, 2013

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ford was doing well based solely on the success of its large SUVs and full-size pickups. The company's management just knew that the American consumers' appetite for the large SUV would never wane and profits would be endless. We all know how that ended, and it was extremely ugly. More than a decade later Ford -- as well as rivals General Motors and Chrysler -- has learned a hard lesson and is producing more valuable, smaller, and fuel-efficient vehicles to regain lost market share and reputation. Because consumers are more conscious of fuel economy, yet still have a remaining love for SUVs, Ford has bet big on smaller utility vehicles, and it's paying off big time.

"This was a major bet we made with the One Ford plan, and it is paying off," said Jim Farley, executive vice president, global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln in a press release. "Utilities are helping us grow our share in the North American market -- particularly in the traditionally difficult coastal markets -- and they're driving our expansion in developing markets, where utility growth is exploding."

Ford's utility vehicles are making big gains in California, a very important coastal market, with its market share increasing more than 15% in the first quarter -- that's almost six percentage points higher than pre-recession levels in 2006. Also, consider that the Escape is on pace this year to accomplish something only the F-Series has done for Ford in nine years: surpass 300,000 annual sales.

Continue Reading...
The Fusion also could hit the 300,000 mark this year
 
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