Ford and Volkswagen have been traveling in different directions of late, with VW posting record earnings while Ford is losing cash by the billions. VW's momentum doesn't stop with cold, hard cash, either. The German automaker's first half year sales rose 7.2% to 3.31m, while Ford posted a free-fall of 11% to 3.09m. That gives team Fahrvergnugen a lead of 220,000 units in the first half of the year -- a very sizable margin. Part of the reason VW has been able to pass Ford is that the German automaker doesn't rely heavily on US sales, while the land of opportunity is Ford's largest market. VW also has a larger stake in the quickly expanding Chinese market, where Ford is still ramping up in the land of the Great Wall. Since the Blue Oval depends on the US for much of its sales, the second half of the year isn't looking much batter than the first half. Even with gas prices starting to retreat, analysts predict sales will continue to underwhelm for the duration of 2008.

[Source: Free Press]