Ford hopes new models boost U.S. market share

Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:29pm EDT
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By Deepa Seetharaman

FLAT ROCK, Michigan (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) may recover some of its lost market share in the United States with its upcoming Fusion midsize sedan and the newly launched Escape crossover, a top executive at the automaker said on Monday.

The two models compete in segments that account for one of three auto sales to U.S. consumers, Ford Americas President Mark Fields said. He described the midsize sedan segment as "ground zero" for the U.S. auto industry.

"With these new products we'll have the opportunity to gain share," Fields told reporters at the renamed Flat Rock Assembly Plant. "But we're not going to go after share for share itself. We want a good profitable business."

Through August of this year, Ford's sales have grown 6 percent compared with a year ago, while overall industry sales have shot up nearly 15 percent, according to Autodata. Its U.S. market share in August was 15.3 percent, down from 16.3 percent in August 2011.

Ford has lost share because it cannot build enough cars and trucks to satisfy consumer demand and consumers are buying fewer pickup trucks than in years past, Fields said.

"Some segmentation has affected us. Full-size pickups haven't picked up as much as they have in the past," he said.

The 2013 Fusion sedan, which will be launched in the United States this fall, is currently built in Mexico. It competes against the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.

Next year, Ford will begin building the gasoline-powered version of its Fusion sedan at Flat Rock. The No. 2 U.S. automaker will begin hiring for second shift in the second quarter of 2013.   Continued...

The Ford Motor Company's emblem is pictured at the company's factory in Almussafes near Valencia September 5, 2012. REUTERS/Heino Kalis