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Dec 31 2012

It wasn't too many years ago that the continued existence of American car manufacturing was in peril.  All of the Detroit 3 looked weak and ready to tumble amidst an unstable and receding US economy.  Sales were down across the industry, but even more so among the US manufacturers.  Brand consideration and perceived quality were remarkably low among the few new vehicle purchasers that were out there searching for a new car.  Fuel prices were rising quickly and none of the US manufacturers had a strong offering in the small car segment. Chrysler and GM had to accept bailouts from the US Government to survive while Ford narrowly avoided having to do so.  What a difference four years make.

All three Domestic Vehicle Manufacturers have rebounded nicely since their near collapse in 2008.Over the last couple of years, sales of all three U.S. manufacturers have bounced back significantly.  The considerable increases in all three brands consideration and perceived brand quality among consumers suggest that those sales numbers are going to stay strong.  GM once again tops all manufacturers in total sales in the U.S.  And Chrysler has been recording the highest % growth of the Detroit three in recent months.

 Just a couple of years ago Fiat purchased Chrysler for a song.  Now many feel that without the Chrysler brand's strong sales to prop them up, Fiat would be at serious risk of going under due to the current European financial crisis.  So, things have been looking up for the American brands, and possibly none more so than for Ford.  

In the U.S. market, Ford has had a very strong year.  The perennial best-selling F-Series trucks have had another year of increased sales, resulting in the F-Series again ranking as the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in 2012.   In fact, Ford is the only brand with four vehicles in the top fifteen selling models for US YTD sales through November.  The other top fifteen models are the Escape (#10), the Focus (#11) and the Fusion (#12).  

In addition, Ford let a couple other 2012 accomplishments slip out on this last day of 2012.  “Ford” is the only brand with over two million vehicles sold in 2012 under its nameplate in the US.  While that speaks to the strength of the Ford brand domestically Ford also made us aware of a global accomplishment.  Ford announced that the Ford Focus is the top-selling vehicle model in the world, edging out the Toyota Corolla for the top spot that Corolla had won last year.  The Ford Fiesta and F-150 were also among the top 10 best-selling models globally.  It is no small accomplishment for Ford, a brand best known for its trucks, to have two small fuel efficient cars among the best selling vehicles on the global market. 

Quite a turnaround in the last four years for Ford and it’s fellow domestic manufacturers.  How do you view the Detroit three’s rebound?  Do increased sales domestically and globally suggest continued strong growth in their future?  How do you anticipate them being able to compete domestically and globally in the small car segments?  Add your comments below!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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