Ford Forges On Without The Government

Consumers seem to prefer buying cars and trucks from companies that look like they have a future even though they may be American. Ford’s share of the domestic market has been increasing and customers that own competing brands are evidently more willing to buy Ford products.

From the Wall Street Journal:

At the same time, while GM and Chrysler have been hit with a steady stream of negative news — including growing concern they may need to file for bankruptcy protection — Ford has been having more success at luring away its competitors’ customers.

Ford’s share of the U.S. retail market rose in each of the past four months, while GM’s and Chrysler’s fell, Ford said.

In January, 45% of Ford buyers turned in cars or trucks of other manufacturers, up from 38% in August, according to Edmunds.com, an auto-shopping Web site. Meantime, the “conquest rate” for GM’s Chevrolet was 43% last month, down from 49% in August, and for the Chrysler brand, the conquest rate was 60% last month, down from 67% in August, according to Edmunds.

“That’s a sign that there is something definitely going on for Ford,” said Jesse Toprak, an analyst at Edmunds Inc.

For some domestic-car buyers, the bankruptcy talk has been enough to cause them to defect to Ford. John Grassi of Warren, Mich., recently turned in his leased Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and replaced it with a Ford Fusion.

“The future of GM and Chrysler certainly played a part in my decision,” said Mr. Grassi, 50 years old, who works for Warren’s parks and recreation department. “Ford seems to be the most sound in terms of staying solvent. I mean, you look at your warranty and you want that warranty to be good.”

Refreshing isn’t it? You buckle down, figure out a way to succeed and business comes knocking on your door. That sounds like the way the system used to work. The real tragedy would be for the government to give the other two (GM and Chrysler) a competitive advantage based on cheap government financing thatĀ drags Ford down to their level.

Don’t bet much money that won’t happen. It’s a race to the bottom.

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