(Updates with closing share price in seventh paragraph.)
Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. said its namesake brand exceeded 2 million U.S. sales for the first year since 2007, led by gains for models such as the Fiesta small car and revamped Explorer sport-utility vehicle.
Smaller cars such as the Fiesta and Focus are on pace for a sales increase of more than 20 percent this year while light trucks that include the Explorer, Escape SUV and F-150 pickup may rise at least 30 percent, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said today in a statement.
Ford, the second-largest U.S. automaker, is benefiting from an auto market that rose 10 percent through November from a year earlier. The company’s sales also got a boost from vehicles such as the Fiesta, which debuted in the U.S. in June 2010 and has more than tripled this year through last month, and the Explorer, which has more than doubled.
“The industry sales rate has exceeded 13 million in each of the last three months,” Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president for U.S. sales and marketing, said in the statement. “This suggests the current momentum is not an aberration.”
Ford-brand sales gained 18 percent to 1.86 million through November, compared with 1.76 million for all of 2010. Ford’s total U.S. sales through November increased 11 percent.
The automaker reported net income of $6.6 billion in this year’s first nine months. Ford gained consumer consideration as it managed to avoid the bankruptcies that befell its U.S. rivals in 2009. The company borrowed $23.4 billion in late 2006 before credit markets froze, giving it the cash to weather the recession and invest in new models.
Ford rose 0.7 percent to $10.76 at the close in New York. The shares fell 36 percent this year, the first annual drop since 2008, when they ended the year at $2.29.
--With assistance from Keith Naughton in Southfield, Michigan. Editors: John Lear, Jeffrey Tannenbaum
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