Ford U.S. sales plunge 28 percent

1/07/2008 - 17:13

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday U.S. sales fell 28 percent in June on an unadjusted basis, driven by steep declines in sales of trucks and SUVs under rising gasoline prices.

Sales dropped to 174,091 vehicles in June from 242,029 vehicles a year earlier, including all the automaker's brands, Ford said.

Ford shares fell more than 7 percent lower after the release of the monthly sales figures.

In the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands in June, car sales declined 12.1 percent, crossover sales were off 17.8 percent, SUV sales sank 54.7 percent and truck and van sales sagged 37.8 percent, Ford said.

Sales of Ford's F-Series trucks fell 40.5 percent to 38,789. There were 24 selling days in June, compared with 27 days a year earlier.

Ford, which has cut its production plans and capacity overall and increased production of cars and crossovers where demand is rising, said sales fell about 14.3 percent in the first half of 2008 to about 1.16 million vehicles.

"Consumer fundamentals and consumer confidence deteriorated as the first half unfolded," Jim Farley, Ford's head of marketing, said in a statement. "The economy enters the second half of the year with a notable absence of momentum and a high degree of uncertainty."

The automaker, which recently had discussions with representatives of billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, has warned about its 2008 results and abandoned a longstanding goal of returning to a profit in 2009.

Kerkorian holds a 6.5 percent stake in Ford and has expressed interest in providing additional support, if necessary, for the automaker to complete its restructuring plans.

Ford shares were down 35 cents, or 7.3 percent, at $4.46 on the New York Stock Exchange after reaching a 52-week low.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Brian Moss and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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