• Feb 2, 2007
After all the sales numbers for the month of January were released, reports began popping up that Ford had fallen to fourth place in sales in the U.S. last month behind General Motors, Toyota and the Chrysler Group. This is nothing more than selective journalism, with journos picking out the numbers that serve a sensational headline like "Ford's #4!". Basically, the battle for third place in sales in the U.S. is between Ford and DCX, and the victor depends on which brands you count in both company's sales numbers. In the past, Ford had always been counted as sales from Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and the Premier Automotive Group that includes Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. If all those brands are counted, which they usually are, Ford sold 166,835 vehicles. Normally DaimlerChrysler sales are split in two between the Chrysler Group and Mercedes-Benz. The Chrysler Group sold 156,308 units in January, while Mercedes-Benz sold 17,069 last month. Together, DaimlerChrysler as a whole sold 173,377. True, in the battle of Ford vs. DaimlerChrysler, DCX wins. Even in the battle of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vs. Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep, the Chrysler Group again wins by a narrow margin of 156,308 to 153,026. However, if the numbers are calculated in the way that have been since we've been paying attention, Ford (including PAG) sold 166,835 units to the Chrysler Group's 156,308 units.
The problem is that, to our knowledge, the standard practice has been to count Ford's domestic brands with all of PAG and to count the Chrysler Group separately from Mercedes-Benz. We've pretty much been following the lead of each automaker, which releases their sales numbers in that fashion. Now, whether or not Mercedes sales should be split off from those of the Chrysler Group is an argument for another day. We just think it's convenient for some journalists to change the unofficial rules of the game to suit a sensational headline.

[Source: the Detroit News - "A NEW BIG 3?"]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Thanks to all for the explanation, I still confused :-(

      Soo, a controlling intrest in Mazda gives Ford enough "ownership" to include the Mazda brand in their ads, but not in sales? Ahhuh, I'm confused!

      Also, does any of Mazdas profits go into Fords hands?
      • 8 Years Ago
      It be more logical to say Mercedes is #3, since effectively they own the Chrysler group, not the other way around. Whereas for Ford, they own PAG.

      When you talk about ranking, you are talking about which corporate giant is bigger, so it makes no sense to split one up on the basis of brands, and not the other. If you are going to do that, you might as well split up Chrysler and Dodge etc, and we all know that they are identical cars.

      And to continue, they should not be ranked on sales, but on sales * average car price. There's a reason Mercedes is "big" even with a 10th of sales of Chrysler, because it is a lot more remarkable to sell a S65 than a Sebring (a 10x price difference), with margings skyrocketing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nice article, Mr. Neff. Thank you for an even-handed piece.

      • 8 Years Ago
      #1: Because Ford only owns about a third of Mazda, not even a controlling stake.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Does Toyota count Scion and Lexus ?
      • 8 Years Ago
      RE: #12, even though Ford has a controlling interest in Mazda, Ford does not own Mazda.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #2 -

      The U.S. engages in protectionism as well. There are a number of Federal laws limiting foreign ownership in multiple industries. It's not just Japan. Not to mention the (fortunately and finally gone) U.S. steel tariff. We are hardly innocent.
      • 8 Years Ago
      16. It be more logical to say Mercedes is #3, since effectively they own the Chrysler group

      The Corporation that owns Chrysler AND Mercedes is DaimlerChrysler AG. The merged the Chrysler name into the corporate name because, although you all may not realize it, The Chrysler name is very important in the automotive industry. Without them, you would have waited alot longer times to get some advancements you now take for granted (power brakes, automatic trnasmissions, alternators, many many more)
      • 8 Years Ago
      as a person montreal, i think ford show concentrate his strategy on the compact car like focus, yaris.....

      visit :
      http://geocities.com/vaiowallpaper/
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, Ford and Chrysler (okay, DCX) fighting it out for 3rd place. I'll bet it's been at least 50 years or more since Chrysler has been this close to overtaking Ford.

      Really, at one point...I think in the '40s or '50s, Plymouth was right behind Ford in sales. Yes...PLYMOUTH.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You heratic! How dare you say Toyota is vunerable to downsizing? Hehe yeah, when the 60 and over set get other options for a car besides the Scion they might be in trouble. The new Aura and Malibu will take a bite out of Camry sales for sure. And since the tax credits for the Hybrid have dried up (and with gas down to $2.19 in NY and $1.95 in the mid-west) people might actually see the bad-hybrid math doesn't add up to um anything.
      Toyota is not dead by any long shot, but the same factors that caused them to rise to stardom can put them back in the "Value Leader" category much to the fat Toyota exec's fears. This time it won't be GM and Ford they fight for sales, but will be the lean smart and talented Korean auto makers.
      Don't be too shocked if it takes Toyota longer than a year to top GM's world wide sales. They still have long way to go to #1 in the US.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A more chilling number is Ford's (incl. PAG) market share of 14% for January, down a full two points from their 2006 year end total of 16%. Ford is bleeding badly and bandaid products are not going to stop their death spiral. Ford needs some hot sellers, quick!
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